SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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March 23, 1998

SUBJECT: SignWriting Literacy

Date: Sat, 21 Mar 1998 18:59:09 -0600 (CST)
From: Rebecca Larche Moreton <>
To: Valerie <>

On March 20, 1998, Ben Karlin wrote...
>I like the flashcards idea and the ABC vocabulary ideas that came out of
>the recent exchanges here (or was that on TERPS-L? SIGNLL? They all
>run together in my inbox). There is a big push to help out one of the
>clients here with literacy and I think it may be the motivation for me
>to get to work at introducing signwriting and english vocabulary as
>bridges from signs to print. Will see how that works out.

Now, I have an idea for you, and/or others in your group: One of the good uses of SignWriting would be for the purpose of teaching ASL to hearing people. The written form would serve the same purpose that the written form of French, etc., serves in the learning of spoken languages, kind of a crutch, something visual on paper to tie meanings to. And of course, the more non-Deaf who know the language, the better (I mean, it seems so to me; it certainly ought to better, to have more users of ASL). What I want to know is, have y'all done any work on this, i.e., the pedagogical use of SignWritten ASL to help teach people who do not already know ASL? I'm thinking SignWriting could be used along with video keyed to it, to show not just individual signs, as in a dictionary, but connected language, whole utterances, exchanges. Anything that can anchor new forms is usually a help to a learner. I do think, though, that just as the texts that are used to teach non-Deaf German children to read German, must be structured differently from the texts that are used to teach English or Spanish-speaking people to read/speak German as a foreign language, so courses for non-ASL-using people must be structured differently from the materials used to teach ASL-using children to read what they alrealy know how to sign. (There's actually quite a lot know about how to structure courses for new learners of languages, and you may already have people working on this kind of thing. If not, it might be worth your time to find somebody to begin doing this sort of work.)

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