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June 7th, 2009 - 01:57 pm
Okay, signwriting won't work. It could be used as an aid to learning, I can see that, but it's not what I'm talking about in terms of developing a real alphabet for sign language; the diagrams are too complicated, and not conducive to being used to write novels or poetry, from what I can see.
Whereas Stokoe notation is basically, from what I see, the sign language IPA. It works for gestural description, but it requires too much in the way of detailed diacritics for feasibility as something to be read fluently, or rendered compatible with, say, typing. There's a reason we haven't dropped the Roman alphabet for IPA notation.
It could perhaps be a starting point, but I'm talking about an alphabet, not a notation or a reduced form of making a series of pictures. Something which can work as quickly and quasi-intuitively as the Roman alphabet does for literate native English speakers. It works natively for us because it's our first language, and because we absorbed links between the letter and sound value when learning to read. (It's a link that some people studying phonetics and phonology actually find it difficult to let go of.)
I'm talking about an alphabet in which deaf people can write novels that burn across the page for them, in which deaf poetry retains its beauty written down, in which passion and flair can translate to the page.
Possibly it'd end up being something which children learn by rote, the way we learn our alphabet, where the shapes can be described with Stokoe notation but really, [symbol] means [movement] Because It Does, in much the same way [t] means "unvoiced alveolar plosive" Because It Does. But there has to be a way to make this work properly.
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