SignWriting List
October 11, 2011

Dear SignWriting List Members, and Joe -

Early in 2011, Joe Martin sent me some files on his research on SignWriting, to post on the web and on this List.

Thank you, Joe, for sharing your work with us. Your files are now posted on the web here:

SignWriting in Linguistics

Joe received his Masters Degree in Linguistics at the University of South Carolina in 2007.

Both the Abstract and the full thesis are now posted on the web for download. I also placed the Abstract inside the thesis.

Writing and Signed Languages

Masters Degree Thesis
Writing and Signed Languages

Joe is a member of this List...

Writing and Signed Languages
by Joe C. Martin

Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
in the Linguistics Program

College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Carolina



The idea of a written form for signed languages has been controversial, and this paper presents a series of experiments designed to provide answers. The findings:

writing a signed language is in fact possible, using SignWriting, but not using another script.  (experiments 1 and 2)
a script for signed languages must be arranged in the nonlinear fashion employed by SignWriting and not in the linear manner of scripts for spoken language. (experiment three) 
our brains process SignWriting in the same manner they process scripts for spoken language. (experiments 4 and 5) 
Conclusion: reading and writing is the same for both sign and speech, and SignWriting is just another writing system like any other.


Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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