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Hi all-

As you may remember, a while back we had a conversation about whether listmembers would be interested in creating a short SW document for inclusion in the book I'm working on. What I originally proposed was:

"What if we selected some kind of passage that all of you who were willing could translate into your respective sign language and write up using SW? I could devote a chapter of the book to these different texts, which would allow for a comparison across both different sign languages and different ways of using SW. Each writer could perhaps reflect on the choices they made in creating their document, including perhaps how their backgrounds/goals affect these choices (since some of you are poets, some linguists, etc). And perhaps participants could also provide their own thoughts about what we can learn from the comparison of these texts."

We discussed at length what would be the best kind of thing to use as the prompt for such a passage. It seemed that the thing most agreeable would be to use a simple image as a prompt, something that would lead to interesting sentence but not take too much of your time to create. I proposed using the two images attached here, writing perhaps one or two sentences about each, for a total of 2-4 sentences.

Well, I just got a prompt from a potential publisher asking when I can give them a manuscript draft. So I figured I had better re-open the conversation!

Here's what I think would be ideal:

If those of you willing to do so would create brief texts based on the images and post them to the list. I am interested not only in the texts, but in the rich conversations about the different languages and writing styles that this will likely generate. As I wrote to the publisher:

"I will invite SignWriters to contribute SignWritten texts to the book and to participate in the analysis of these texts"

Note that, as this is a linguistic anthropological project, it isn't necessary to ensure that the texts will be the same - for example, it's fine if different people write sentences describing different elements of the picture.

So, what do you think? Shall we try it?
 
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Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Oberlin College