SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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April 9, 1998

SUBJECT: SignWriting Report April 9, 1998

From the desk of
Valerie Sutton
La Jolla, California

Hello Everyone -
Thank you for your many messages. As you know we have had bad weather in southern California in the past few months, but now we are blessed with good weather again. While I am writing to you, I look out at my beautiful canyon, filled with desert flowers and wonderful wildlife. Yesterday we witnessed a falcon, who decided to sit on our fence while we were working on editing Norwegian Sign Language :-)

Who are "we"? Well...I am fortunate to have a guest from Norway staying with me right now, Ingvild Roald. Ingvild and I have worked together for years. Ingvild has been one of the pioneers who used SignWriting back in the 1980's. Several schools use SignWriting in Norway now in different ways, and I feel very blessed to work with such forward-thinking people. As you know, I used to live in Denmark and I do speak Danish. Norwegian and Danish have some common words, so sometimes we can enjoy speaking "Scandinavian" together, although I really only speak Danish. Tonight Ingvild and I will be going to a party of Danish-Americans, so it will be fun to share our respective cultures :-) regards to SignWriting...Ingvild has entered approximately 3000 Norwegian signs into a dictionary file in the SignWriter Computer Program. Yesterday we reviewed some "fruit" signs, such as the signs for "pear" and "banana". Fruit signs, in most signed languages, can be complicated to write, since they oftentimes show the "shape" of the fruit. Writing those details can certainly be accomplished, but making the "spelling" of each sign something that is easy to both read and write is always a challenge. So we enjoyed experimenting with different ways to "spell" each sign. Then, of course, the next step is to share those spellings with others, to see if the signs can be read easily by others. Oftentimes we will change a particular spelling many times, until we all agree upon a spelling that seems to work well for the majority.

Ingvild is visiting San Diego because she will be presenting a paper on research at a conference being held here in San Diego next week. The conference is entitled "The Impact of Deafness on Cognition" sponsored by AERA, The American Education Research Association, held on April 13th & 14th at the Embassy Suites hotel near Seaport Village in San Diego. Other friends of mine are also coming to the conference. So it will be a great week to talk with those visiting from afar :-)

The DAC will also be presenting a paper on research using SignWriting at the conference. We will be sharing our presentation with another researcher, Janice Gangel-Vasquez, who has done research on literacy in SignWriting with Nicaraguan Deaf children. Janice will also be staying with me during the conference, and we will have a special DAC meeting Sunday night to discuss all the research being done using SignWriting.

If you would like to read our abstract, I have posted it on our SignWriting Web Site. Go to:

Research on Sign Language Literacy

I hope to write again soon - Meanwhile I hope all is well with all of you, and that you will continue to send your interesting messages. We all benefit from your input -

All good wishes -