Nominal vs Cardinal numbers in ASL
sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Feb 11 16:51:19 UTC 2009
February 11, 2009
Thank you for these comments...My comments are in-between yours below...
On Feb 11, 2009, at 12:49 AM, MARIA AZZOPARDI wrote:
> Imagine having a whole English book and then the page numbers were
> at the bottom as follows 'one, two three, four, five..etc - if you
> 536 pages in all on the bottom of the last page you will find written:
> 'five hundred and thirty six' (!!)
Yes..for English I agree that would be funny looking! But if you
wanted to teach someone how to read the numbers in English, the tool
might be useful for classroom teaching...and most of the ASL numbers
are more compact and smaller than spelling out English words...many of
them are just one symbol, unlike spelling English words...so the
reason I placed the pages numbers in BOTH the Arabic numerals and also
in ASL, was because it is fun to see the page numbers in ASL...lots of
new students are really fascinated by the page numbers so tiny in ASL
and they learn to read the SignWriting spellings for the numbers
faster that way...of course it is not for everyone and not even needed
for people already skilled in SignWriting, but looking up pages in
written ASL is not a bad tool for the classroom...
And most people are still new to SignWriting, so when they download a
book written in ASL, it can't hurt to have both...
I guess I have enjoyed the tiny page numbers in ASL...but that is just
> I totally agree with Valerie who said that:
> "the page numbers were like "labels" for finding a page quickly..."
That is good to know!
> My opinion is that page numbers for signwriting books are written as
> 2, 3, 4' -
> Even if/when signwriting evolves to the point where all school text
> are in signwriting for the Deaf, I have my doubts whether the
> will replace the function of ARabic numbers such as when they are
> used for
> Mathematical calculations in text books.
Sure. There is no question about that...I agree sign language numbers
will never replace the norm of the so-called Arabic numbering system,
which apparently has influence by Hindu numbers...the history behind
numbering systems is fascinating!
> When working with the Christmas Bible translations, we had asked the
> Maltese Deaf, whether they prefer verse numbers and page numbers in
> signwriting or in Arabic numbers (1,2,3,4..) - and everyone we asked
> they prefer Arabic numbers because the function of these numbers is to
> find something quickly, just like we would prefer page numbers in an
> English book to be '1, 2, 3 etc and not 'one, two, three'.
That is good to know, and I agree with them!
It was never my idea to replace one with the other...if we included
the ASL number, then we always had BOTH numbering systems on the same
page...and I certainly have lots of documents in SignWriting with only
Arabic numbers...so it depends on the document.
So the point was not to replace anything...it was just fun for people
to try to read the page numbers in ASL and gave us something to talk
about, like right now! smile...
Have a wonderful day, and thanks for the conversation...
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