Deaf Residential Schools in the US...
signwriting at MAC.COM
Fri Jan 12 19:58:03 UTC 2007
January 12, 2007
On Jan 12, 2007, at 11:09 AM, K.J. Boal wrote:
>> It's all about RESPECT. Children should see from day one that their
>> teachers respect sign language as a language, and showing respect
>> for the
>> written form is about that.
> Which will be a more convincing argument once SW is more generally
> recognized as a valid writing system . . . sorry, but right now
> there are too many "experts" and, honestly, too many Deaf who
> either don't know about SW or are against it. I don't think I
> could argue yet that SW is "the written form" of sign language
> until it has been accepted and used by more of the Deaf community.
I know you are playing devil's advocate...so let me play angel's
advocate and give you my point of view on writing and what it means...
Why put the ignorance of others as more important than the thousands
of people who are writing sign language daily and reading in it right
now?...To discount their accomplishments and say they are not writing
or reading the language, which is the implication, is just as unfair,
as ignoring other people's complaints about it. Both sides deserve
I learned the other day that 70 per cent of Pakistan's population
cannot read and write, but there is still a written form for the
Pakistani spoken language...so numbers of users is not the issue...if
one person can write a newspaper in a writing system, then there is a
written form for that language...even if only 30 per cent of the
population can read it...or 2 per cent or whatever...but if you
interview a person in Pakistan who cannot read and write, I bet he or
she would not be able to tell you what he or she is missing...because
they would never have imagined it as a part of their own lives to
The majority of the population in England in Shakespeare's day, were
illiterate and did not even understand what reading and writing was,
but none the less, when Shakespeare wrote a play, he was using the
written form for English... What was he writing with? chicken
scratches? smile...there were a small percentage of people in his day
that could read and write and that was all that mattered, to make it
a written form for the language...but believe me...in Shakespeare's
time many many people were against reading and writing...the majority
in fact...that was for rich people...and there were arguments against
creating schools because everyday people did not need to learn to
read and write...that was their argument against reading and writing...
Meanwhile Shakespeare wrote his plays, no matter what, in a written
form for English...while this debate was going on...
James in Nicaragua has written some 40 books for his students
(yes...a very long list) in Nicaraguan Sign Language in
SignWriting...Did he not write it in a written form for the language?
if not...then what was he writing in?
Just because other Nicaraguans may not know right now that there is a
way to write, does not mean the written form does not exist...and
there is no other writing system that can write literature in sign
language other than SignWriting...the Stokoe system has never
published a story with punctuation...only SignWriting has punctuation
for sentences...so there isn't another one for writing literature in
the world that I personally know of...
Just my beef...to place the fact that people are afraid of
change...to put their opinion first, when they have never have been
properly introduced to the writing system at all... and ignoring the
vast amount of work already accomplished...is not a balanced picture...
Others do this all the time and I have to vent - ha!
There are many definitions of what "the written form" means...for me
it means that for the first time we have the chance and the choice to
be able to read and write Sign Language Literature if we choose to,
and people who are against that just need to have a little more
contact with it and they will agree and be pleased...
So yes...there is a written form for any signed language in the
world, and I use it everyday...and more people will in time...
My two cents!
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