...SignWriting in Nicaragua Directory...


October, 1998

Email Messages & Reports
about SignWriting in Nicaragua

...taken from the SignWriting List Archives...

Deaf student Judy Mejia, age 9, learning SignWriting
at the "Escuelita de Bluefields" in Nicaragua.

 Email Messages
September, 1998

 Email Messages
October, 1998

Email Messages
Nov-Dec, 1998

Email Messages
Escuelita de Condega

Email Messages, October, 1998

Date: Thu, 8 Oct 1998 10:36:43 -0400
Sender: SignWriting List <SW-L@ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA>
Subject: Re: Writing ASL Grammar

This time the sender really is "Judy Kegl" and not James!

One thing we are doing in Bluefields (Nica) is tagging signed language
texts. The kids work with pages in signwriting or texts from their
signwritten books and they underline and annotate in different colors
things like noun, verb, adj, adverb, pronoun as well as subject, object
etc. This is something that could be done with ASL texts as well and might
prove useful to someone like Cheryl, even more useful than a grammar lesson
per se in SW.

Just a thought.


Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 19:30:08 -0500
Sender: SignWriting List <SW-L@ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA>
Subject: Re: SW Symbol Questions

Regarding the "smooth" line, in Nicaragua we don't use it anymore. That's
a judgment call -- and I am not saying whether or not it was a good one,
but I thought I'd let you all know anyway. We use the "slow" sign
frequently, but were unable to differentiate when a sign was "smooth" as
opposed to "slow", so we just call all the slows and smoothies "slow". We
do distinguish between "slow/smooth" and "very slow" (by using the
double-slow dynamic indicator. Also, we alway put the dynamic markers on
the bottom, except for the tension dynamic marker which for us has two
meanings depending upon its location. (For us, a tension marker on top of
an arrow point indicates that the hand movement stops abruptly.)

There are times when I wonder if we really need to use the symmetry marker
(as opposed to the asymmetry markers) rather than assuming symmetry by
default in the absence of the marker. Personally, I find the symmetry
marker enhances the readability of the sign.

We've made some other adaptations -- we think we've done some tweaking up,
as suits our particular needs. Others might disagree --- but then my ego
is made of pretty stern stuff.

All in all, we are 99.9% faithful to Valerie's system. --

James Shepard-Kegl

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 11:52:16 -0500
Sender: SignWriting List <SW-L@ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA>
Subject: Re: Canadian Geography Inquiry

To any Canadian signers:

We are in designing an SW reading leeson regarding Lindbergh for our
school in Nicaragua. While Nicaraguan has a distinct sign for "Canada"
(which is unlike the ASL sign), there are no signs for either Nova Scotia
or Newfoundland. In such situations, we usually borrow the sign used by
the locals in the geographical location in question.

Anybody know the sign for "Nova Scotia" or "Newfoundland"?

To any French signers: same problem for "Paris". (Nicaraguan Sign
Language already has a sign for France.)

-- James Shepard-Kegl

Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 12:06:13 -0500
Sender: SignWriting List <SW-L@ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA>
Subject: Re: Frequently-Asked Questions

This is one of those issues that my wife Judy can address with inspiring
eloquence, but I am more earthy by nature.

The terrific thing about SW is that it is not really all that iconic.
Rather, the system sets forth a clear and readily understanbale CODE which
allows the reader to reliably predict the "spelling" of the sign. In
short, SW is a visually phonetic coding system. (One might argue how much
a specific sign language may be iconic, but SW most definitely is not.)

It takes years and years of schooling to learn to write Chinese -- each
written form must be memorized by rote. One can master SW in a matter of

-- James Shepard-Kegl

Date: Thu, 29 Oct 1998 23:09:15 -0500
Sender: SignWriting List <SW-L@ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA>
Subject: Re: iconicity

Having taught SW intensively for a couple of years now, my impression is
that Deaf children learn to read SW exactly the same way hearing children
learn to read english -- which, of course, is the point. We teach english
reading through a phonetic system, but, actually, children for the most
part learn through whole word recognition --- resorting only to phonetic
decoding for unfamiliar words. The Deaf children in our program quickly
learn SW in exactly the same manner, and therefore with some experience can
recognize SW words in small print instantly. -- James Shepard-Kegl,
Escuelita de Bluefields, Nicaragua

-- James Shepard-Kegl

...two schools for the Deaf in Nicaragua...

Escuelita de Bluefields
Escuelita de Condega

...were founded by...
...and are coordinated by...

Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects, Inc.
James Shepard-Kegl, Coordinator
52 Whitney Farms Road
North Yarmouth, Maine, 04097, USA
(207) 846-8801 voice or tty
(207) 846-8688 fax
Email: kegl@maine.rr.com

...SignWriting in Nicaragua Directory...