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From:[personal profile] lauredhel
Date: June 7th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
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You know about Signwriting, right? And Stokoe notation?
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From:[personal profile] sami
Date: June 7th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
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Nope. *googles*

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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From:[personal profile] willow
Date: June 7th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
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I am... confused. Search engining brought me to:
http://www.signwriting.org/
http://www.signgenius.com/sign-language/sign-language-a-written-language-read.shtml

And then I come back and read your comments and read you, a Hearing person, deciding that the written language isn't conducive to novel writing or written language the way you define written language as a Hearing person.

Is the point I'm missing something linguistic to do with linguists? Or am I seeing a Hearing person, who's interested in the fact that Sign Language (all of them) should have multiple forms, the performed and the read, and who wants a written sign language to be something she (or another Hearing linguist leaning person) can immediately identify as language, in that it should look just like Hearing language written down.

I'm not deaf. I do not - I now know one deaf person. But I've no idea if she uses sign language or not.

I could be tripping up with privilege all over the place and I accept that, and pre-accept any calling out I may get.

But I need to ask, why does a written mode of any of the Sign Languages have to look like hearing language written down? Why does it have to have an alphabet? Why does it have to fit a standard keyboard (or at least that's what I understand you to be saying). I do not believe that Braille fits a standard keyboard (I could be wrong though).

Who defines what 'properly' is? And why do they get to define it like that? Especially if they're a Hearing individual?

Also, for the Deaf who are Japanese or Chinese and use that writing system, - which in my innocence I will say seems to be shapes that have been simplified, modified and implied over many years. How does that fit into your idea of a written language?

Since there is an opportunity in those languages for thought-concepts of layered meaning, represented by one symbol? Those languages are admitted/accepted as complex, so much so they already have a simplified form (used for children's books). Wouldn't creating a third language for the Deaf there, be complicating an issue?

Also, is it true to say that that (those particular) written language(s) is inauthentic in matching the signed language created by that community of the Deaf?
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From:[personal profile] sami
Date: June 7th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
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I found similar links. The problem I perceive with it as a written language is that it's essentially diagrams of the movements, which makes sense, but is problematic for printing something novel-length, with necessary size.

I'm not saying it should fit a standard keyboard, at all. Or should look like existing written languages. What I'm saying is that my experience is that there exists, in at least one person, a sense of alienation that she doesn't have access to a written language that feels natural to her, and I see this as a major problem, because I believe languages are important. That people need to be able to tell their own stories, and if she can't, that's an injustice.

I tend to perceive injustice as being something that lessens everyone.

I'm not saying it's something I, personally, can control fixing. I have known deaf people all my life, but those particular people hate sign language and think it's stupid, so I never exactly had a lot of incentive to learn it - the only deaf people I had a direct interest in communicating with would have told me off for trying. (They consider sign language actually immoral and a tool of the oppression of the deaf, more or less.)

Ultimately?

Language is something I care about, deeply and passionately. I am genuinely distressed that even one person feels she has no language in which to write.

I'd had a shit of a day and was trying to find something positive to focus on, a way to try and help someone. As it turns out, I didn't think it through well enough, and I compounded that by expressing myself really, really badly.

I can cite historical precedent for orthographies coming late to established languages, like Gutenberg and Sequoyah, but it's not really the point. I was wrong.

I can't undo that. I can't undo any of the ways I've fucked up today. Knowing one of the others ended with me getting sutured and pools of my blood spattering half my house, it shouldn't feel like this is the worst, but it does, and I still can't fix that.

So yeah. I fail, I fucked up, I alienated [personal profile] lauredhel completely, and I really regret all of it, but I can't undo it, and I don't know what else to say.
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From:[personal profile] willow
Date: June 7th, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)
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Fucking up sucks. Worse yet, fucking up when you're convinced you're just having your own thoughts in your own space, sorting things out - sucks even more.

I was worried by the later post mentioning the hospital visit. Hopefully you're stable now, and have access to resources to continue to be stable.
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From:[personal profile] sami
Date: June 7th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
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Thank you for understanding that.

And, yeah. I'm stable enough now. I don't want to say too much in a public post, but... more or less exactly what you probably think, but it's all being taken care of.

On the bright side, there are risks I might take at other times that I totally won't at the moment, because this afternoon I was skating the edge of safe limits for blood loss, and even I can work out I need to be gentle with my body after that.
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