SignWriting List
February 12, 2011

Hello Fernando and everyone!

Thank you for this message...

On Feb 10, 2011, at 9:45 PM, fernando capovilla wrote:

Thank you for your kind message, and for posting the news.

It was fun to see the TV program from Brazil ;-)

I will try to explain briefly what I meant:
Over the last 20 years we have made strong efforts to establish research & development programs for creating valid and standardized batteries for assessing of a wide range of language competences. After examining more than 10,000 deaf students for more than 25 hours each, we have mapped parameters of development of competences such as alphabetical reading & spelling, speechreading skill and vocabulary, sign comprehension and expression, cheremic awareness, morphemic awareness, working memory, etc.

What a huge undertaking! ... 

We have used those instruments and parameters to compare the effects of a number of variables such as school placement, language used as vehicle for teaching, literacy acquisition methods and materials, etc. We have discovered the best time schedule for literacy acquisition and articulation between special education and mainstreaming, and we are working on public policies of education based on that scientific evidence.

Changing public policies, I bet, must be very hard indeed... This is such important work for Deaf education...

We have covered a wide range of subjects and fields, ranging all the way from the transparent to the profound. In order to help deaf kids learn Portuguese we have used all strategies conceivable, including taking advantage of the degree of transparency in the orofacial-graphemic correspondences in spoken and written Portuguese for helping cochlear-implanted deaf kids, all the way to taking advantage of the deep morphemic structure correspondences between Libras and Portuguese for helping congenital deaf kid read and spell. We have come across beautifully significant effects that have been quite encouraging.

Very impressive, Fernando - just setting up the project must be a huge job, as well as then collecting all the data and so forth -

May I mention another way to reach Deaf kids who need to learn spoken languages?... Stefan Woehrmann at the Osnabruck School for the Deaf in Osnabruck, Germany, is a teacher of Deaf children, many of whom have cochlear implants... Stefan has helped Deaf students learn to speak, read and write better spoken language using his own creative German it is called Mundbildschrift, and in English we call it Woehrmann's SpeechWriting, where the symbols for mouth movements in SignWriting, have been expanded to write spoken an entire spoken language sentence can be written in SpeechWriting, showing the Deaf student how the mouth moves when pronouncing words, in a standardized way...and it works! Stefan's students are not only reading and understanding the German spoken language better than other Deaf students who do not have this tool, but their actual speech is improving as well... I think Stefan's work is really a new contribution to Deaf education, that many teachers do not realize is there yet...

I realize that SpeechWriting for spoken Portuguese may not be practical in Brazil right now, but nonetheless, writing the way the mouth moves while speaking can also have benefit for Deaf education, so I wanted to share that working theory with you - it could be developed specifically for the Portuguese spoken language if you ever know of someone who is interested working on that project...

Also, we have documented thousands of fascinating phenomena, such as cheremic paralexias and cheremic paragrafias similar to those first described originally by Klina & Bellugi's The signs of language; and Poizner, Klima & Bellugi's What the hands reveal about the brain. Now we are finally getting close to the point we started dreaming of back in 1998, when we first found out about SignWriting while struggling with HamNoSys and Stokoe Notation System.


I feel very honored to work with you, and that SignWriting is useful...

We are finally getting close to be able to start addressing the questions pertaining the analysis and mapping the effects of SW upon cognition and language. We first had to set a number of parameters straight so as to know precisely where we are. We have made encouraging progress in that regard. We still have to finish the treatise, the compendium, the new sign-retrieval system based on cheremes, and the 6 remaining volumes of the encyclopedia first, though. Yet, we are confident we will manage to succeed in including a research lprogram devoted to assessing the effects of a SW instruction program by 2012. We will keep on working. Thank you very much for your kind enduring support. We have learned a lot from you. Best warm wishes,

I am sooo happy to know about your plans to test the use of SignWriting with Deaf students by 2012...THANK YOU for your hard work you have already done, teaching your Deaf staff SignWriting, and writing so many signs in the books you have already published....Just looking at all the signs is almost overwhelming, there are so many written already...I am quite impressed with the sheer number of written signs you have - your Deaf staff has been busy!

I will continue to teach how I edit signs on this SW List, not only based on your beautiful book, Novo Diet-Libras, but also based on other projects. I will continue to post these lessons on this List, and when time permits (grin), I will also post the instruction on the web, so everyone can refer to the lessons maybe by 2012 you will have more materials to work with for your research on SignWriting...

Meanwhile, remember to look at this area on the web from time to time:

SignWriting Lessons -

and thanks once again, Fernando!

Val ;-)


2011/2/11 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
February 10, 2011

Please watch this video:

Professor Fernando Capovilla is in the second half of the TV wait through the beginning, and in the second segment you will meet Fernando, telling the world about the Novo-Deit Libras Dictionary...and although my understanding of Portuguese is minimal (smile ;-) I noticed that SignWriting is mentioned when Fernando opens the dictionary and points to the SignWriting - it looked very nice!

An enjoyable program - Val ;-)

PS. I am interested in your research project you mention below, Fernando...thank you for a systematic study of SignWriting - I had better get back to my lessons and provide you all with good materials....we have some new textbooks to share...

On Feb 8, 2011, at 8:49 PM, fernando capovilla wrote:
Dear Valerie,
We are working on your great lessons. Thank you very much.
The 2nd part (2min 26 sec) of this video below talks about our Dic and SignWriting (4min). It was aired in national public television.
I am coordinating a research project that is to include systematic study of SW.
We keep on studying. Thank you very much for your kind generous help.
Thank you very much. Best warm regards,

Fernando C. Capovilla, PhD
Professor Associado
Instituto de Psicologia, USP
Coord Lab Neuropsicolinguística Cognitiva Experimental, IP-Usp
Av. Prof. Mello de Morais 1721
São Paulo, SP, 05508-030
veja nossos novos livros em:
assista à entrevista concedida à TV Cultura sobre dislexia:


Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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