SignWriting List
October 30, 2019

Hello Dale!
This is really a moving description of the use of SignWriting in Nicaragua, and thank you for sharing this story with us.

Thank you for presenting SignWriting there, and I am glad that your 80+ brain is benefitting too!

Do I have your permission to post this description, on our SignWriting in Nicaragua web area?

SignWriting in Nicaragua
https://www.signwriting.org/nicaragua/nicaragua.html

Before I do, I will show it to you, to get your approval.

I haven't posted anything new there in a long time, and I think it is important to point out that SignWriting continues to be used in Nicaragua:

Thanks again for this message!

Val ;-)

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On October 29, 2019 at 10:08 PM, Dale Spoor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi, Val,

When we arrived on Ometepe last January, our office staff knew we were coming to teach SignWriting.  But of course they really had no idea what we were talking about.  So  that first afternoon we showed them a few of the materials we brought, and how we planned to go about teaching SW to the children.  Our Director on Ometepe, who is wonderful Nicaraguan lady, just rolled her eyes and smiled, then told us to forget about it--way to complicated, even for her, let alone for the children.  We could never get across all of that information in the week we had there--probably not even in a month.

 Fortunately one class had already been scheduled for the following morning, and about 20 kids and family members showed up, so we went ahead with our plan.  It sort of reminded me of the first sign language workshops we organized in 2009, when we brought a couple of deaf teachers from Bluefields to teach Nicaraguan Sign Language.  During the two months the children and some family members attended the afternoon workshops, I was told they learned maybe 80 words.  I have to say I was a little disappointed at first, thinking that at that rate it would take forever for them to develop any fluency with Nicaraguan Sign Language.   I realized later that what was so important about those workshops was not how many words they had learned, but that for the first time in their lives they understood that there was a language they could use to communicate with their families and each other. Definitely a brilliant comic strip light bulb type situation.   So they were totally motivated and primed to apply themselves when we had the next set of workshops.  And the rest is history--our older kids teach now the younger ones at our sign language workshops every Saturday.  All of the kids are conversational fluent, and most of the parents and family members have picked up some.


Like those first sign language classes, the children only learned a few basic concepts about SignWriting that first morning.  But the idea had been planted, the "light bulb" had been lit, and they came the next day highly motivated to learn more.    The next few days we practiced and introduced more and more of the symbols, and they absorbed it all.   By the time we left, there was a large group of them with their noses still buried in the dictionaries that we brought (thanks to James Kegl!), signing to each other, laughing and interacting, and they were learning lots of new words. There is still much for them to learn about SignWriting, of course, but they are totally motivated, and they love the idea that they can have their own written language.  I plan to visit the island again in January and I'll try to remember to send you a report.

Dale

PS  One added benefit: maybe it will help to keep my 80+ year brain functional for a few years more!  :-)

On Tue, Oct 29, 2019 at 9:32 PM Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
SignWriting List
October 29, 2019

Hello Astrid and Dale!
Thank you, Astrid, for joining the SignWriting List and for your message. And welcome to the SignWriting Literacy Project. I will be happy to send you some books, and I am glad to learn that you have already downloaded the books in French on this web page:

Lessons in SignWriting translated into French by Anne Claude Prelaz Girod

Anny has also developed some wonderful games teaching vocabulary. I will try to make a little video showing you all examples of these lovely games that Anny sent to me - I am so amazed at the detail and how beautifully artistic they are - teaching sign language vocabulary with SignWriting. It so fortunate that the two of you know each other in French-Switzerland.

And Dale - thank you for mentioning your project in Nicaragua. How fantastic that you continue to teach workshops for Deaf children, and you are using the SignWriting Basics manual and the Parkhursts wonderful textbook.

I will send another email message later with the links for our List members -

Send my best wishes to your students!

Val ;-)





On Tue, Oct 29, 2019 at 12:09 PM Dale Spoor <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
For a number of years we have been providing sign language workshop for deaf children on our sister island, Ometepe, Nicaragua (Nicaraguan Sign Language).    Last January a delegation went to Ometepe to teach SignWriting to the people who attend our workshops.  

A very good introduction to basic SignWriting I used when I was learning  is the book by Valerie Sutton:  "SignWriting Basics".  On the SignWriting website, if you click on books, you'll see this one in the upper left-hand corner (the cover has a man in a red shirt in three different poses). It's only about 15 pages.    A much more detailed version is the Signwriting book by Steve and Diane Parkhurst, which I think is #6 at this link-- close to 150 pages. You can download or buy either of these.

Dale Spoor, Chair
Special Needs Committee
Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Islands Association

On Mon, Oct 28, 2019 at 11:50 PM Astrid Willi <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hello all.
I am a French mom, from Switzerland, homeschooling my children : a 10yo girl, a 6yo boy, a 4yo girl deaf and a 10mo baby.
I am very interested in learning SignWriting to further use it with my deaf daughter and my others children, it is of great importance to know different langages.
My family learns LSF, like ASL, for almost 2 years but without any courses. The situation is very difficult here because it is all for oralism.
I think I will soon learn ASL because there is a lot of in this langage.
I don't know if there is online courses.
Feel free to ask questions.
Thank you for reading and have a good day.

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