SignWriting Article

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Sat Jan 27 01:11:51 UTC 2007

I agree with Ronald here. If the hearing community has not rejected 
writing because of cassette tapes, LP's, and now CD's, then there is no 
reason that they should block us from having a writing system as well. 
I think we just have to keep reminding them of the value of the written 
text. Let me give you one important example I have used.

If people tell me video makes writing obsolete, then I ask them a few 

1) What if a terrorist attack hit the city or cities where our video 
was being stored? Suppose they decided to use an EMP (electromagnetic 
pulse) which is known to destroy electronically stored data? What would 
happen to all the video and computer resources that we have stored? It 
would all be gone and destroyed. Sometimes it is very valuable to have 
our data in as many different media as possible in this day and age.

2) Consider video technology ... how many format changes, media 
changes, etc. have we undergone in the last 20 years?  Many! VHS, Beta, 
reel, etc. All the video data now being stored on VHS format may need 
to be redone in DVD format. Now they are talking about a new format 
called Blue Ray. How many more formats will be developed in the next 
10-20 years?  By comparison, we still have readable copies of the 
Gutenberg Bible from the 1500's, one of the first printed documents in 
the world. Better yet, we have handwritten documents that can be dated 
into the BC era. So for long term data storage, paper still beats 
electronic data storage in terms of being available over a very long 
term and still be readable. It is true that electronic data is more 
searchable and saves a great deal of time, but the biggest challenge to 
electronic data is the long term storage question.

I think these are helpful arguments to the usefulness of writing 
systems as another tool for storing data.



On Jan 26, 2007, at 18:38, Ronald Dettloff wrote:

> Dear Sergio,
>   The same reasons we have for writing spoken languages are the 
> reasons SignWriting is good. DVD's etc. have not replaced writing. 
> Writing is an art in itself. More books are sold than ever. 
> SignWriting will save the Deaf community.
> Sergio Ribeiro <escritadesinais at> wrote:
>> Hello friends,
>> I am writing article about signwriting use in deaf class, this 
>> article will be to the new Magazine. But here in Brazil many peoples, 
>> teacher and linguistics, disagree if writing sign languages is really 
>> important or necessary, because today we have another medias like 
>> DVD, CD-ROM, etc, using video format. What you think about and Deaf 
>> members of DAC have what point of view ?
>> I want to write this more specific is possible !
>> My article title is “SignWriting – Why not ?”. I will explain about 
>> sign language history, Stokoe studies and notation, person of the 
>> pass that say about sign writing possible like Itard, Bebian and 
>> Alexander Graham Bell. But most important point is using sign 
>> language at moment, now. Who are using ? Is signwriting great toll 
>> for teaching deaf in new approach, bilingual approach ?
>> I will be many thankful to see your opinion !
>> Thanks,
>> Sergio Ribeiro
>> Centro Educacional Cultura Surda
> Rev. Ronald H. Dettloff, 20880 Ten Mile Road, St. Clair Shores, MI 
> 48080
> Other Web links:           

More information about the Sw-l mailing list