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SW-L  December 2013

SW-L December 2013

Subject:

Re: AW: Teaching Signwriting to deaf children in Tunisia A PROPOSAL FOR ALL

From:

James Shepard-Kegl <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages

Date:

Mon, 23 Dec 2013 04:49:08 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (336 lines)

Erika, Stefan and all,

English, for example, uses a phonetic written code --- oh really???  Okay, there are so many exceptions (for historical reasons, no doubt) that hearing kids get quickly frustrated and the rest of us have to use spell check software!  And yes, children end up just recognizing whole words -- using that method most of the time, but aided by their comfort with the phonetic code, as well.  Spanish readers have an advantage here since most words are spelled in conformity with the code.  I admit I have no knowledge of German spelling.

In my experience, Deaf children understand that SW is a code system, then try to "cheat" by memorizing written signs with a whole word/sign approach.  However, because SW is relatively new, we all try to write signs in complete conformity with the rules.  I have seen children who are quick at catching errors even if they understand what I am trying to convey.  Certainly, it is fun to play writing games like that.  And healthy, too -- I think that SW is useful for developing analytic strategies.

Here is what I would really like to see, and I think would be helpful to every student (and in a mainstream class, would be interesting for hearing students, too.)  Many schools tend to focus a lot on teaching grammar for the dominant spoken language (for the obvious reason that Deaf students who can read the dominant language can better function independently and with less accommodation.)  And, certainly, when we are discussing syntax in one language, it is very useful to switch back and forth between words in one language and words or signs in the student's primary language.  Indeed, is there any other way?  And, if a student is having trouble recognizing the meaning of a word in German, certainly it would be helpful to write the word in SW, as well.  I think we are all on the same page here.  BUT, how much time do you devote to teaching the students about the grammar of German Sign Language?  Do you teach the Deaf and hearing students about classifiers and clitics and how spatial relationships are conveyed in German Sign Language versus how German uses prepositional phrases or different syntax and sentence structures to convey the same concepts.  I think the hearing students would have more respect for German Sign Language and, more importantly, the Deaf students would have more respect for German Sign Language and, consequently, for themselves.  Hence, my proposal that a useful text be used for this purpose, and, if such text is not available, then let's design one.

-- James






---- "Stefan Wöhrmann" <[log in to unmask]> wrote: 
> Hi Erika, James, Val and friends... 
> 
>  
> 
> Thank you Erika for your comment. I am afraid that my English is not good
> enough to describe what I have on my mind and I appreciate your message as a
> comment about your first-hand experience in my classes over the years...;-))
> 
> 
>  
> 
> Well James, 
> 
>  
> 
> 1)       It is as Erika explains it perfectly. You honestly will not assume
> that I do not know the difference between Signed German and DGS (German Sign
> Language) – and as I started with my privous message: The first step is to
> assure that teacher  and student and students among each other can
> communicate. Within a group of deaf people this communication is done in
> SignLanguage  ( not Signed German).  
> 
>  
> 
> At the end of this learning adventure any student should be able to switch
> between the two systems Signlanguage and Spoken Language. Some of my
> students develop a high motivation to work hard to improve their
> articulation – others do no like to speak. Nevertheless all of them are
> exspected to become competent in both Languages (Sign Language and Spoken
> Language)  This is definitely not only a BI-MODEL methodology – as you call
> it but a bilingual approach. 
> 
>  
> 
> “Use it if you must; but recognize it for what it is.”  Hm – in between the
> lines I can see the frown on your face. Signed German ... you never would
> use that. Am I right? – smile -  It is as Erika might be able to explain
> much better. The step in between the start and the end of our learning
> procedure is to support deaf students with Signed German. Experience has
> shown that the students achieve bilingual competence so much faster if they
> get the chance to read and “translate” written documents that show signs
> written in the grammar of Spoken German. 
> 
> Next step will be to demonstrate the contrast between Signlanguage and
> Spoken Language. They understand much better and in the end it is a pure
> bilingual approach and the students translate from one system inot the other
> in both directions. . 
> 
>  
> 
> Thanks to our delegs-editor – the most effective tool for building the
> bridge between Spoken Language and Signlanguage  - you can do this back and
> forth thing so easily.  It is your job to write any document within seconds
> in whatever style you want to. If you want to create SignLanguage document –
> just write the words that pick the signs from the dictionary – edit the
> signs to appropriate DGS oder ASL and hide the words afterwards. Same thing
> with Signed German documents. ...I am so gratefull that it has become so
> easy to offer lots and lots and lots of documents every day with this
> brilliant DELEGS – software. 
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> 2)      Hi James – when I referr to name-signs in SignWriting as pictograms
> – I cannot see any negative aspect in this. My experiments in this field
> show clearly that you and me and other experienced scribes look at these
> arrangements of single symbols which we take out of the big ISWA –box with
> other eyes. And we read the given signs in a analytic way. We understand the
> meaning of the single symbols. Many well written signs seem to become a
> “Gute Gestalt” and the deaf child and some beginners who start to read
> SignWriting do not analyze and even do not know ( and do not have to) about
> all the decisions the scribe has made while he choose to write the sign in
> this way. It is amazing – and funny at the same time – to see that a well
> known sign – ( a sign that is identified within part of a second) can be
> changed (in the sense of misspelled) and the deaf child would not hesitate
> to “read” it the same way as before... I did some private research on this
> and it is really tremendously interesting. Hi Erica - .... smile!
> 
>  
> 
> “...by that logic, showing the kid his written German name is also using a
> pictogram” – yes of course – as long as the child has no idea about any
> method to interpret the graphems in any way as options how to encourage
> somebody to speak what is written – and that is of course a long journey
> especially for deaf kids. 
> 
>  
> 
> “-- a jumble of otherwise pointless letters whose order must be memorized.”
> In order to change this I invented this new notation system for sound-based
> symbols. “Mundbildschrift” = “Woehrmanns Speech-Writing”
> 
>  
> 
> This exactly is the basis why I invented my “Speech-Writing –System” ... but
> this is a whole other story and people get confused because of two different
> systems  - a VISUALLY PHONETIC system (as used in my mouthgestures
> “Mundbilder” in Signwriting) and an  aural based phonetic code  in this case
> “Mundbildschrift”
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> 3)      “German employs an aural based phonetic code..”  ..ha...yes ....
> well there are a lot of problems beause this matching of letters and sounds
> does not work in German... too many exceptions... This causes problems in
> the context of lipreading, It is a severe fault to tell a hearing child –
> just write what you hear – it does not work. You better should say look at
> the spelling of this German word (just as a string of letters) and listen to
> me. You hear the way we pronounce this word. Just accept that and obey the
> spelling. 
> 
>  
> 
> From my point of view deaf students expand their vocabulary of Spoken German
> much better if they get the chance to associate with given words some kind
> of tongue, mouth, lip –movement – feedback. How does it feel if you
> pronounce the word Reagenzglas, Universalindikator, Koordinatenkreuz,
> Baden-Württemberg.  A combination of reading the word, looking at the
> appropriate sign in SignWriting along with the mouth-gestures as you find
> them constantly in the German SignPuddle allows deaf students to speed up
> with the aqcuisition of new terms. 
> 
>  
> 
> Deaf students can read SignWriting documents at high speed even if they do
> now know about the meaning of the (isolated) symbols.  I am still in the
> beginning to understand this and to accept this and to arrange experiments
> in order to find more about that. 
> 
>  
> 
> When Erika did her research project in my classes it has been almost like a
> mystery to both of us that deaf students move their lips or read a sign in
> GebaerdenSchrift with Mundbilder – and nevertheless do not associate these
> mouth movements with German words as we do.  We referr in this case to some
> association of the spoken word – while a deaf child might perform this part
> of the sign just as a movement part of the lips not knowing that the
> lipreading would lead to a quick identification of the German word. ...
> There is probably still lots of room for research – right Erika? You are
> very welcome to visit us again any time. You want me ask if you can rent the
> appartement again? Your research and the way you expalin these questions to
> me are a very welcome source for greater attention. 
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
> Hope this helps – sorry for my English ;-(
> 
>  
> 
> All best Stefan   
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>  
> 
>   _____  
> 
> Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Erika
> Hoffmann-Dilloway
> Gesendet: Sonntag, 22. Dezember 2013 23:18
> An: [log in to unmask]
> Betreff: Re: Teaching Signwriting to deaf children in Tunisia A PROPOSAL FOR
> ALL
> 
>  
> 
> Hi James - Stefan can of course speak for himself, but since I'm at the
> computer I'll just briefly note from my observations in his class he does
> use both German Sign Language and Signed German - and clearly treats them as
> different codes (i.e., SG is framed as German in a different modality not as
> a sign language). I think he was focusing on his use of Signed German in his
> earlier message to highlight the ways in which he thinks SW can be useful
> for teaching a spoken language. I'd never been comfortable with the use of a
> signed version of a spoken language in other educational settings I've
> observed, but the way that Stefan distinguishes it from German Sign Language
> and uses each to different ends - or as a means to compare grammatical
> structures between the two codes- was really interesting.
> 
> Stefan, please correct me if I'm misframing anything you do.
> Best,
> Erika
> 
>  
> 
> On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 5:08 PM, James Shepard-Kegl <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
> 
> Stefan,
> 
> I think you and I are going to have to respectfully disagree.
> 
> I would point out some issues for all:
> 
> 1)  The methodology that Stefan has described is not a BILINGUAL approach;
> rather, it is a BI-MODEL methodology.  Signed German is not a language
> different from German; it is a manual form of German.  Use it if you must;
> but recognize it for what it is.
> 
> 2)  Referring to name-signs in SignWriting as pictograms may be appropriate
> for a Deaf child on his or her first day of school, but know this:  by that
> logic, showing the kid his written German name is also using a pictogram.
> 
> 3)  It truly is more difficult to write a sign than to recognize one.  But,
> that is true of written English and German, too.  Both othorgraphic systems
> are phonetic systems: German employs an aural based phonetic code;
> SignWriting is, if you will, a VISUALLY PHONETIC system.  Most hearing
> children use a whole word approach when learning to read, but understand
> that the code itself is based on sounds that are put together to form words.
> AND HERE IS MY POINT:  To Deaf chidren, a written German word is a pictogram
> -- a jumble of otherwise pointless letters whose order must be memorized.
> But, when shown how SignWriting works, these children can immediately
> appreciate the concept that writing systems use a code.  In the case of
> SignWriting, that code is merely symbols for handshapes, movement and
> direction, contact, location, etc.  Only when a Deaf child recognizes this,
> can he or she solve the mystery of how hearing people can so consistently
> spell words in German so accurately
>  .  You see, as a hearing person I can quickly relate to the concept that
> SignWriting is a visually phonetic code.  First, I am not blind, so I can
> see that it is.  Second, I am already comfortable with the notion of an
> aurally phonetic writing system.  Alas, the Deaf child -- or the profoundly
> deaf child, anyway -- may never actually know what a sound is, just like
> chldren born totally blind cannot imagine colors.  But with SignWriting, the
> Deaf child might grasp the idea of a sound based writing code by analogy.
> 
> -- James
> 
> 
> ________________________________________________
> 
> 
> SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION
> 
> Valerie Sutton
> SignWriting List moderator
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> Post Messages to the SignWriting List:
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> SignWriting List Archives & Home Page
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> 
> Join, Leave or Change How You Receive SW List Messages
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> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway
> Assistant Professor of Anthropology
> Oberlin College 
> 
> ________________________________________________ 
> 
> SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION 
> 
> Valerie Sutton SignWriting List moderator [log in to unmask] 
> 
> Post Messages to the SignWriting List: [log in to unmask] 
> 
> SignWriting List Archives & Home Page
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> 
> 
> ________________________________________________
> 
> 
> SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION
> 
> Valerie Sutton
> SignWriting List moderator
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> Post Messages to the SignWriting List:
> [log in to unmask]
> 
> SignWriting List Archives & Home Page
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________________________________________________


SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION

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