[Sw-l] Presentation 42
adreanaline at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 23 15:39:26 UTC 2015
This email has been on my mind for the last couple of days. What I'm about
to write may be heresy but please bear with me. :)
"Well as long as we ask people and teachers who already got the chance to
overcome their prejudice..."
There's two different kinds of prejudice -- the first is against written
sign language in general, and the second is against a certain method or
several methods of writing. It's important to recognize the difference
because they each require a unique response.
If someone is against writing SL in general, then we can demonstrate how
it's possible. However, that person may not always respond to the method
that we choose to demonstrate with. It would be like using a hammer to
drive in a screw -- which could work but leaves the wrong impression on the
Which brings me to the next comment:
"Would be soooo tremendously important to find out whether there is any
chance to reach out to people who do ot see any sense, desire ..to put any
effort in learning to become familiar with SignWriting. .."
I was one of those people who had no desire to put in the effort to learn
Signwriting. My first memorable experience with Signwriting was back in my
Gallaudet days. Someone gave me a publication that had a block of
Signwriting text in it. I remember being excited about the possibility of
writing in ASL but my excitement was immediately tempered with the
inaccessibility of the text. This was back around 1997 so the information
wasn't easily obtainable.
Many years later, I came across the Signwriting website and the opposite
happened. It was information overload. My eyes (sensibilities) had also
changed with the intervening years. I'm a graphic designer/illustrator by
trade -- in a nutshell my job is to take complex concepts and turn them
into appealing and accessible images. Signwriting's shapes to me are too
rough for easy reading. It's not an enjoyable experience, so I gave up at
However, I didn't give up on written SL in general. This is because of my
comics work. It drove me nuts that other artists could write comics in
their native language and I couldn't. ASLwrite gave me the ability to
quickly create full ASL dialogue in 2D space. In a roundabout way it
eventually brought me back to Signwriting, not as my chosen method for
expression but as one that I could finally grasp and learn from.
"How about if students in ASL – instruction courses for hearing as well as
parents of deaf students would simply ask the teacher/instructor to offer
reasonable materials written in SignWriting. SignWriting competence should
become a subject in education for coming teachers for deaf students and for
SignLanguage instructors... interpreters..."
This is where I went hmm... It's good that we champion the methods that we
like, but not at the expense of others. This is probably already an
unwritten understanding. The reason why I mention this is because I know I
would not be able to handle long-term reading in Signwriting materials
without the ability to use a font for easier reading. (Perhaps even
Signwriting with an ASLwrite font!) I wouldn't feel comfortable if my
instructor required the text even though I would probably do the same!
Human nature, that. :)
Now back to my main point about the two different types of prejudice.
Perhaps the first step to dismantling the general resistance to written SL
is to construct a framework, whether physical or mental, where the evidence
for a written SL is clear. Then within that framework the second step would
be to provide access to several written SL to see which particular one best
fits the individual or group. Not everyone responds to a certain method,
however, once one method is learned it can benefit another. It's when walls
are constructed around methods that problems arise.
In closing, Stephen's comments opened up the question on why people are
resistant to Signwriting. I hope my brief story helps a bit. It's been
inspiring to see the body of work and the community here. I have a lot of
respect for that.
What do you all think? I look forward to your thoughts --
Author and Artist
On Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM, Stefan Woehrmann <
stefanwoehrmann at gebaerdenschrift.de> wrote:
> Hi Valerie and friends,
> I am following the presentation 42..
> Well as long as we ask people and teachers who already got the chance to
> overcome their prejudice and who got the chance to feel happy about their
> own positive experience while learning and teaching with support of
> SignWriting materials ... we should not be surprised to get a positive
> Would be soooo tremendously important to find out whether there is any
> chance to reach out to people who do ot see any sense, desire ..to put any
> effort in learning to become familiar with SignWriting. ..
> How about if students in ASL – instruction courses for hearing as well as
> parents of deaf students would simply ask the teacher/instructor to offer
> reasonable materials written in SignWriting. SignWriting competence should
> become a subject in education for coming teachers for deaf students and for
> SignLanguage instructors... interpreters...
> All Best
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