Thank you for your message too, Valerie. It's always good to read from you!
To clarify what I meant by walls -- it can range from outright
hostility to benign neglect. Fortunately I'm not getting any animosity
from Signwriting circles but it has happened with other methods to
extreme effect. It's normal for humans to band together (Mac vs. PC
anyone?) but that also means that over time the "in-group" develops
terminology and systems that decreases access to the "out-group."
One small example, the Signwriting software is way over my head at
this point but I can see the potential for it to fork so that it can
be a platform to support planar* written ASL in general. That's just
one thought. I'm not a "rocket surgeon" when it comes to programming
but surely that is something worth thinking about?
(*Linear vs. planar refers to the main categories of writing SL.
Linear is a la Stokoe where the elements of a signed word are placed
next to each other like English letters. Planar is what Signwriting
does by condensing 3D language into a 2D space.)
One more thing -- I know that a lot of discussion has happened over
the last 40 years and I'm a newcomer here. My apologies if my comments
rehash something that the group has already decided upon. There's a
lot I need to learn from you all! :)
Author and Artist
On Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 11:15 AM, Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> SignWriting List
> July 23, 2015
> Hello Adrean!
> Thank you for this great message - it very meaningful and I wholeheartedly
> agree with you!
> I look forward to answering in more detail next week.
> There are no walls or barriers. Everything in SignWriting is 100 per cent
> free - no cost, and no restrictions. Everyone is free to use the system as
> they wish…and of course there are other systems, such as ASLwrite, which is
> very beautiful. Thank you for ASLwrite!
> All writing systems for sign languages should be supported and encouraged
> because writing sign languages is beneficial for the world -
> So right now, we are in an intermission between our presentations. Day 3 of
> the SignWriting Symposium is being presented right now. I apologize that we
> do not have ASL interpreting this year. Last year, Adam Frost interpreted
> all of the English-speaking sessions into ASL, in the 2014 Symposium, but
> this year we decided to record the presentation LIVE and then add the
> interpretation later - Because the videos will be up on the web for
> generations to come.
> I cannot tell you how much I want to add different language interpretations
> of the presentations - not only for ASL but to add Portuguese Sign Language
> and Brazilian Sign Language and Arabic Sign Language interpreters, and to
> also add captions in the spoken languages of these countries, because we
> need real communication to discuss writing sign languages - this year there
> are 8 countries presenting, and last year we had 12 countries, and because
> of lack of funds I have not been able to do all the 32 hours of video from
> last year……but we will definitely do it.
> So we have a lot of software development around the world and the next two
> presentations today is about software development - one new program is
> ongoing in Brazil…that is Session 2 coming up at the half hour…and then
> Steve Slevinski, the developer of SignPuddle Online, will be presenting his
> new work, called SignMaker 2015.
> I hope everyone can watch:
> Watch on Google Hangouts:
> Watch on YouTube
> We will talk more, Adrean - and thank you for writing!
> Val ;-)
> On Jul 23, 2015, at 8:39 AM, Adrean Clark <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> This email has been on my mind for the last couple of days. What I'm about
> to write may be heresy but please bear with me. :)
> "Well as long as we ask people and teachers who already got the chance to
> overcome their prejudice..."
> There's two different kinds of prejudice -- the first is against written
> sign language in general, and the second is against a certain method or
> several methods of writing. It's important to recognize the difference
> because they each require a unique response.
> If someone is against writing SL in general, then we can demonstrate how
> it's possible. However, that person may not always respond to the method
> that we choose to demonstrate with. It would be like using a hammer to drive
> in a screw -- which could work but leaves the wrong impression on the
> Which brings me to the next comment:
> "Would be soooo tremendously important to find out whether there is any
> chance to reach out to people who do ot see any sense, desire ..to put any
> effort in learning to become familiar with SignWriting. .."
> I was one of those people who had no desire to put in the effort to learn
> Signwriting. My first memorable experience with Signwriting was back in my
> Gallaudet days. Someone gave me a publication that had a block of
> Signwriting text in it. I remember being excited about the possibility of
> writing in ASL but my excitement was immediately tempered with the
> inaccessibility of the text. This was back around 1997 so the information
> wasn't easily obtainable.
> Many years later, I came across the Signwriting website and the opposite
> happened. It was information overload. My eyes (sensibilities) had also
> changed with the intervening years. I'm a graphic designer/illustrator by
> trade -- in a nutshell my job is to take complex concepts and turn them into
> appealing and accessible images. Signwriting's shapes to me are too rough
> for easy reading. It's not an enjoyable experience, so I gave up at that
> However, I didn't give up on written SL in general. This is because of my
> comics work. It drove me nuts that other artists could write comics in their
> native language and I couldn't. ASLwrite gave me the ability to quickly
> create full ASL dialogue in 2D space. In a roundabout way it eventually
> brought me back to Signwriting, not as my chosen method for expression but
> as one that I could finally grasp and learn from.
> "How about if students in ASL – instruction courses for hearing as well as
> parents of deaf students would simply ask the teacher/instructor to offer
> reasonable materials written in SignWriting. SignWriting competence should
> become a subject in education for coming teachers for deaf students and for
> SignLanguage instructors... interpreters..."
> This is where I went hmm... It's good that we champion the methods that we
> like, but not at the expense of others. This is probably already an
> unwritten understanding. The reason why I mention this is because I know I
> would not be able to handle long-term reading in Signwriting materials
> without the ability to use a font for easier reading. (Perhaps even
> Signwriting with an ASLwrite font!) I wouldn't feel comfortable if my
> instructor required the text even though I would probably do the same! Human
> nature, that. :)
> Now back to my main point about the two different types of prejudice.
> Perhaps the first step to dismantling the general resistance to written SL
> is to construct a framework, whether physical or mental, where the evidence
> for a written SL is clear. Then within that framework the second step would
> be to provide access to several written SL to see which particular one best
> fits the individual or group. Not everyone responds to a certain method,
> however, once one method is learned it can benefit another. It's when walls
> are constructed around methods that problems arise.
> In closing, Stephen's comments opened up the question on why people are
> resistant to Signwriting. I hope my brief story helps a bit. It's been
> inspiring to see the body of work and the community here. I have a lot of
> respect for that.
> What do you all think? I look forward to your thoughts --
> Adrean Clark
> Author and Artist
> On Tue, Jul 21, 2015 at 12:16 PM, Stefan Woehrmann
> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hi Valerie and friends,
>> I am following the presentation 42..
>> Well as long as we ask people and teachers who already got the chance to
>> overcome their prejudice and who got the chance to feel happy about their
>> own positive experience while learning and teaching with support of
>> SignWriting materials ... we should not be surprised to get a positive
>> Would be soooo tremendously important to find out whether there is any
>> chance to reach out to people who do ot see any sense, desire ..to put any
>> effort in learning to become familiar with SignWriting. ..
>> How about if students in ASL – instruction courses for hearing as well as
>> parents of deaf students would simply ask the teacher/instructor to offer
>> reasonable materials written in SignWriting. SignWriting competence should
>> become a subject in education for coming teachers for deaf students and for
>> SignLanguage instructors... interpreters...
>> All Best
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