Kathleen Say

Hi. My name is Kathy Say. I went to the Arizona School For The Deaf and after graduation, went to Gallaudet. After I graduated there, I moved to Washington state where I was the supervisor for the school for the Deaf for a year and a half. I moved here to San Diego where I work as a researcher at Salk Institute and I have been there for two years.

I would say back when I was in high school was the first time I heard about SignWriting. I couldn't understand what that would possibly be for, and what it was worth. I was very much against it. When I came here to San Diego I heard again about SignWriting. I thought "People are still talking about SignWriting!" I decided to go and see for fun what it would be like. I met Valerie Sutton and I started to learn and I learned a lot. And I also learned how valuable it is. I learned more and more and more.

When you learn something you have to start with the basics and then it gets easier after that. You can read and write it easily.

Just like written English, you have to start learning words and then later sentences and continue from there. It is very important to have a strong foundation. ASL is the same way.

SignWriting is not formally in the school systems yet, but for research purposes it is very important and it can also lead to the educational system for preserving sign language in the future. It teaches the children the different grammatical structures, that is to say, the structure of ASL and how it differs from English structure. It would be nice to have SignWriting for the future and I hope that one day it will be incorporated into the educational system through the "bilingual-bicultural approach".

I hope the Deaf Community will accept writing Sign as a part of the language, as a written language, because many languages have a spoken form as well as a written form. Why can't we have two forms? A manual form, and a written form? It would really be nice to have both. I hope that that will happen.

The above was signed in ASL by Kathleen Say in 1994
on the video entitled Deaf Perspectives on SignWriting.

The English text is a word-for-word transcription of the English voice-over on the video, by interpreter Melissa Smith.