Nominal vs Cardinal numbers in ASL

MARIA AZZOPARDI maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT
Thu Feb 12 11:08:20 UTC 2009

Thank you Valerie :) It's true the numbers in ASL (as in LSM) are more
compact and do look lovely as small signwriting symbols on the bottom of
the pages - having both is a good idea :)


> SignWriting List
> February 11, 2009
> Hello Maria!
> 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
>> written
>> at the bottom as follows 'one, two three, four, five..etc - if you
>> have
>> 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 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
> my preference...
>> 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
>> '1,
>> 2, 3, 4' -
>> Even if/when signwriting evolves to the point where all school text
>> books
>> are in signwriting for the Deaf, I have my doubts whether the
>> signwriting
>> 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
>> said
>> 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 it depends on the document.
> So the point was not to replace 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...
> Val ;-)
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