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I would agree with your assessment Valerie, that in ASL, the symbol of question mark is essentially a pause, and note from the grammar that it is coupled with a repeated word "you", "why," "who"  at the beginning and the end of a phrase, similar to me with Spanish where there is a question mark at the beginning and end of the phrase. The coupling of a pause with repeated marker is translated "interrogative" for the entire phrase. One could put an interrogative where the question mark is used (when ASL actually puts "ask" but that is misinterpreting "ask" as "question" where "ask" is a particular use of ASL phraseology. More often "question mark" is a combination of repetition, a pause, and a facial expression in the repeated chereme (eyebrows up). 
 
Charles Butler
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From: Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2014 2:45 PM
Subject: Re: Question mark question

SignWriting List
March 22, 2014

Hello Jonathan and Cherie!
I will be happy to answer your question about the Question Mark next message, but just to make it clear, the link and the description that Jonathan has pasted here is an excerpt from a Master’s Degree Thesis by Amy Rosenberg:

Writing Signed Languages
In Support of Adopting an ASL Writing System
http://www.signwriting.org/forums/research/rese010.html


by
Amy Rosenberg
Master's Thesis, University of Kansas
Department of Linguistics, 1999



On Mar 22, 2014, at 6:22 AM, Jonathan Duncan <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi all,
    I was wondering about question marks in Signwriting.

I found this

http://www.signwriting.org/forums/research/rese025.html

   
Any word written in SignWriting has the face, or shoulder bar on top (if necessary) and the handshape(s) around the face or shoulder bar. General movements are below the handshape(s) , but finger movements are indicated by the fingers of the handshape(s) and head movements are indicated by the face symbol . A sign dictionary written in SignWriting looks up lexical items based on the ten groups of handshapes, then on the movements, also broken down into groups, then facial expressions, then head and body positions as demonstrated in Appendix G.

Two questionable SignWriting practices involve punctuation and the writing of fingerspelled words. Punctuation in SignWriting makes use of bars. One vertical, slightly thick bar placed after a sign indicates a period. Two thin vertical bars indicate a pause or comma , and two thin vertical bars slightly further apart indicate a longer pause or semi-colon . Two bars next to each other, one thin and the other thick indicate a question mark . Two thick bars indicate a colon . Parentheses and quotes look similar to the punctuation marks used in English. All of the punctuation marks used in SignWriting can be the same as those used to write English: . , ; ? : ( ).

There is no reason for SignWriting to adopt unique punctuation marks for American Sign Language and it does not take away from the writing of SignWriting to use English punctuation marks. Furthermore, when a signer fingerspells an English word in ASL, SignWriting uses the appropriate handshape symbol to write the letters in the English word. This is also possibly a convention that could be changed. Writing SignWriting by hand, one would probably write the fingerspelled word in English letters instead of writing the handshapes for each of the letters...*Footnote 15...

It describes a question mark as "Two bars next to each other, one thin and the other thick indicate a question mark" but that description fits the Semi-Colon.  And in the example above it there seems to the semi-colon symbol after the questions.
.


So is the symbol for the semi-colon the same as the question mark?
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