signwritten search

Frank frankbyrom at ISP.COM
Mon Mar 6 03:46:25 UTC 2006

Dear Valerie,
     Your work is unquestionably of value to many of us.  It appears to me that a primary thought concerning learning might help many of us.  It involves answering the questions What do you mean, and how do you write what you mean?  It also involves the way that people learn most quickly and surely.
     As I scan the letters forwarded to me, I continually see the questions, " What does that mean and How do I write this movement?  A mother can answer some questions of this type for her child.  Beyond a small family, a single person canNOT answer all these questions that spring from the misunderstandings of people, no matter how dedicated that faithful person may be.  I've seen a hundred excited , interested people drop out of learning Sign for lack of an answer to this basic need in the life of the learner.  These hundred drop outs were the students who began study of ASL with me.  I'm convinced I would have noticed hundreds of drop outs had I looked farther.  The primary thought I speak of is this:
     Beyond the physical needs, Self Image, the need to be, or feel as if we are of value, and needed by other people is perhaps the greatest need in in our lives.  How do we fill this need?  We fill the need by our competance in doing what we do.  Teach a person how to say, or sign, "Pass the butter, How are you, Its Tuesday, etc and you set them up on shifting sand with a feeling of helplessness.  They don't know what to do next.  Each move they make drives them deeper into the sand, discovering how to say what they want to say costs more than they get by saying it.    In the case of learning a language, only the person who has the right answers, or a means of independently obtaining the right answers all the time will learn the language.  This applies to a language which is spoken or written.  SignWriting is a written language.
     Your learners and I require ALL THE SIGNWRITING SYMBOLS, and ALL THE WRITING CONVENTIONS in one resource location so we can go to that resource for our answers.  In this resource ALL THE CLEAR DEFINITIONS OF THE SYMBOLS AND CONVENTIONS need to be with the symbols.  Basic English, as I have said, can be written on one side of one piece of paper, Dr Stokoe's notation symbols can also be written on one side of one piece of paper, as I have demonstrated in my letter to you.  Clear definitions of these symbols, what they mean expressed in lucid sentences or other expressive manner need to be with the symbols.  This will answer the questions "What do you mean? and How do you write what you mean."   Coequal with this need is the need to have the vocabulary that will say everything the person wants to day.  The 850 english concepts I cited, the Ogden Basic English, will do the work of 20,000 English words.  These basic concepts and the manner they are drawn in SignWriting will allow the learner to say and sign what the learner wants to sign, the way they want to say and sign and write it.  The self image that goes with this competance will power the person to grow in ability and become what they can be---if they chose to do this.
     The self Image that flows from the power of knowing and knowing how to obtain knowledge is the magic of learning that creates scholars.  Some people WILL not be stopped.  Pointing to them is lying in the face of reality.  Not everyone has this drive, and who has it rarely has it in every direction. 
     Admittedly, many of the 850 words I cited have more than one meaning, some have up to 6 or more meanings.  Many of these meanings are signed differently.  Nevertheless, knowing one manner of signing, or writing the  concepts will allow the person to be self expressive-although sometimes awkwardly to the understanding of a native Deaf ASL user.
     Love, Frank
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