on the cognitive architecture pertaining speech (speechreading & alphabetical reading) and sign (SW representation & processing: reading & spelling)

fernando capovilla fcapovilla3 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 2 21:11:05 UTC 2010

Dear Valerie,
You are right, yes, of course. No one here means to compare SW and line
drawings. Each has a purpose for a different need in different circumstances
with different people. I just mentioned that research because, when we think
about *reading and writing acquisition in SW*, we need to address all
routes and strategiess by left and right cerebral hemispheres*, and that
includes, in the l*eft hemisphere*,  both *perilexical route* (pertaining
encoding sign forms into print via SW by transcribing sequentially each
parameter and chereme and allocher - in a way somewhat similar to
phoneme-grapheme encoding in alphabetical spelling by hearing children,
which is processed in the perisylvian area encompassing both Wernicke and
Broca areas) and *lexical route* (pertaing visual recognition of
phenomenological similarity between sign shape and SW rendition, as
familiarity evolves with SW forms which allows for fluent reading and
spelling in SW); and in the *right hemisphere*, the *logographic route*which
*leads to the semantic lexicon via pictorial lexicon*. We can see the
importance of the logographic route in people whose only strategy available
(be it due to congenital left brain lesion in the case of developmental
dyslexia, or acquired left brain lesion in the case of aphasia, or due to
lack of opportunity to acquire literacy) is to use the right cerebral
hemisphere. Both hearing and deaf people with extensive lesion of the left
cerebral hemisphere (peri-sylvian area) are prevented from phonological and
cheremic processing, respectively, and, thus, cannot process SL,
alphabetical writing, SW the same linguistic way and, then,* have to resort
to logographic reading-writing whose access to semantic lexicon is mediated
by pictorial lexicon* (which is made of pictures, not unlike the *line
drawings* I studied in that elaborate assessment I described). That is why
we frequently resort to pictorial communication in support for aphasic deaf
people or *illiterate deaf* *children, especially those with hearing* *parents
with poor access to sign language*. In summary, I meant to talk about line
drawings not as candidates to replace SW. I mentioned *line drawings* as one
of the most important *foundations* *needed to support any kind of language
system*, be it *primary as SL or speech*, be it *secondary as SW or the
alphabet*. I really appreciate the opportunity for making myself clear.
Thank you very much for the attention regarding such crucial aspects of the
*cognitive architecture of the mind* which are so relevant to SW and its
representation and processing in the deaf mind. I am very glad we talked
about because we share the same desire to see young deaf kids (including
dyslexic and aphasic ones) reading and spelling fluently. The beautiful work
conducted in that regard by great people in this list may benefit from the
importance of discussing these issues. We are conversing about
solid cognitive models that help explain why *we see so many illustrations
when we inspect literacy acquisition books in any language around the world*.
They are there for a very very good reason. We are conversing about that
reason. And in by so doing we increase the likelihood of success for our
literacy materials. Even though W maps signs in a clearcut way, so much so
that sign meaning illustration is unnecessary, there are so many SL in the
world and so many levels of SL vocabulary proficiency that I risk my
reputation to say that *should we include illustrations that helped acquire
SL (both as a foreigner and as an imature deaf child who has been prevented
from acquiring fluent signing), we would increase the interest and
penetration of SW*. Perhaps that mey be biased because in this country of
mine SL has become fashionable only very recently. Interest in Libras is
widespread. If I can teach simultaneously Libras and SW by adding line
drawings, I will do so because I know that is efective. It is fun when we
think differently. That is the main reason for conducting experiments: so
that the difference of opinions may give birth to comprehension,
understanding, progress. Nice talking. Thanks for the kind support.
Fernando Capovilla

2010/9/2 Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org>

> SignWriting List
> September 2, 2010
> Hello Fernando -
> Thank you for your messages and this message below is very interesting
> regarding your research...
> To answer your question below about line drawings or illustrations...
> Since this is the SignWriting List, I can answer it from the SignWriting
> perspective...
> Yes, of course your line drawings as illustrations of signs are very useful
> and easy to understand.....and you have developed an excellent way to
> produce the illustrations to illustrate the signs, and that has been proven
> by your research below, that Deaf students are understanding them well -
> that is a terrific accomplishment, Fernando. Congrats on this important
> work.
> And thank you for including SignWriting in your dictionary entries too.
> But to change the subject slightly related to SignWriting and
> literacy...SignWriting has a different purpose than line drawings. Most
> signers are not professional artists who can draw their own line drawings
> when writing their own sign poetry or stories, so the purpose of SignWriting
> is to provide the world with a real writing system for daily use, for
> writing sign poetry and literature directly without translation from any
> other language. Signers can express themselves directly on a daily basis in
> their daily language, writing in the handshapes, facial expressions and
> movements of their language, in full sign sentences. And I understand this
> is happening more and more in Brazil...so it is another avenue of
> communication that perhaps can be researched more later...really two
> different subjects...dictionaries and literature are different topics.
> But when it comes to Deaf Literacy, SignWriting seems to help some Deaf
> people improve their literacy skills in both spoken and signed
> languages...there is some research, but not enough yet to prove this, but in
> Saudi Arabia, Germany, Quebec and New Mexico, some research has taken place
> and seems to be positive.
> I understand that SignWriting is taught in some schools and classrooms in
> Brazil ...are you testing your work in classrooms that are specfically using
> SignWriting? That would be interesting research for us to know about.
> And by the way, have you considered joining the Sign Language Linguists
> List and share your work with them? The SLLING List is related to Sign
> Language Linguistics in general. To join the SLLING, go to:
> http://listserv.valenciacc.edu/cgi-bin/wa?HOME
> They have over 600 subscribers and perhaps someone might want to write a
> review of your beautiful dictionary!
> Congrats once again -
> Val ;-)
> ---------
> On Sep 2, 2010, at 9:17 AM, fernando capovilla wrote:
> > Dear friends,
> >
> >
> > It is great to know SW renditions, sign illustrations, and English
> glosses help make Libras signs clear. I wonder what you think about meaning
> illustrations (the line drawings that specify what signs mean). Do you think
> they may help as well, specially deaf kids who are still acquiring literacy
> skills? We hopoe so, and want to discover if that is really the case. We
> have just conducted a comprehensive and systematic study on that. This
> curious study on meaning illustrations goes like this:
> >
> > We took all the Libras dictionary illustrations and showed to 2,000
> college students who named them by writing, one by one. (Nice people!).
> > Then we separated the subset of pictures that have achieved at least 70%
> of univocity (the same name attibuted to them). We called them good,
> univocal pics to college students.
> >
> > Then we presented this subset to 2,000 high school students. (We thanked
> them a lot!). Again, we separated the pictures that achieved at least 70% of
> univocity. We called them good, univocal pics to high school students.
> >
> > After that we presented this subset to 2,000 primary school students. (We
> gave them goodies in return. Nothing edible. Just stationary paper, special
> pens, etc.).  Always using written naming. Once more, we separated the
> pictures that achieved at least 70% of univocity. We called them good,
> univocal pics to primary school students.
> >
> > Then we presented this subset to 2,000 5 year old kindergarten students
> for oral naming this time. That took a lot of time and effort. One by one,
> kids had to be heard patiently and in good spirit. (They received goodies ad
> libitum). Once more, we separated the pictures that achieved at least 70% of
> univocity. We called them good, univocal pics to 5 year old kids.
> >
> > Since we had nothing else to do, we presented this subset to 1,000 4 year
> old kids for oral naming. That took us even more time and effort. But it was
> fun. Kids that age are lovely. Once more, we separated the pictures that
> achieved at least 70% of univocity. We called them good, univocal pics to 5
> year old kids.
> >
> > Again, we separated the pictures that achieved at least 70% of univocity
> and presented them to 1,000 3 year old kids. Again, because we thought it
> was fun, we separated the pictures that achieved at least 70% of univocity
> and presented them to 1,000 2 year old kids.
> >
> > In the end, we ended up with  240 perfectly transparent pictures (in
> addition to some periorbital dark circles...).
> >
> > This 240 picture set is to be used in literacy acquisition assessment and
> intervention tools, as well as for naming assessment tools for anomic
> patients (anomia characterizes all types of aphasias, as you know). Nice
> stuff.
> >
> > In the beginning of 2011 we'll publish all these picture naiming data
> banks along with statistical criteria of iconicity, univocity, written word
> orthographic familiarity, written decodificability and codificability, etc.
> Now we are using them to assess receptive & expressive signing standardized
> parameters in deaf kids. Science is fun.
> >
> >
> > Again, thank you for your kind words, Valerie, Charles and Maureen! We
> are deeply satisfied that you have enjoyed it, and that the signs are easy
> to understand. That is precisely what we intended. Thank you so much for
> telling us. That kind of feedback is what we need to create courage to keep
> on moving ahead and swimming up the mountain river. Each sign is a salmon
> egg than matures and hatches when one lays one's warm eyes upon it, giving
> birth to knowledge that is to multiply and expand the domain of that deep
> and vast ocean we call deaf cognition. Thank you.
> >
> > Fernando
> >
> > --
> > Fernando C. Capovilla, PhD
> > Professor Associado
> > Instituto de Psicologia, USP
> > Coord Lab Neuropsicolinguística Cognitiva Experimental, IP-Usp
> > Av. Prof. Mello de Morais 1721
> > São Paulo, SP, 05508-900
> > fcapovilla3 at gmail.com
> > visite-nos: http://lanceusp.hdfree.com.br/
> > veja nossos novos livros em: http://lanceusp.hdfree.com.br/livros.html
> >
> > Timor Domini initium sapientiae est. Vincit qui se vincit.
> > Ora et labora. Usus optimus rerum magister.
> > Veritas Liberate Vos. Ergo, aude sapere.
> >
> >
> >
> >
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