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#31850 - 06/12/01 05:16 PM Re: Come to your senses!
of troy Offline
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Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
is ASL- or any other SL a wordless language? or is it just that the word are not convayed through speech?

No one speaks latin-- but it's not wordless-- its dead-- ASL is not wordless-- just silent.. there are other silent languages. (there was a thread on gestures... and there is the Language of Flowers.. (almost as dead as latin)

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#31851 - 06/12/01 05:35 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Registered: 08/12/00
Posts: 3409

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#31852 - 06/12/01 05:50 PM Re: Come to your senses!
of troy Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/17/00
Posts: 5400
Loc: rego park
Oh you might be right Max-- Its just i think of words as a basic unit of a language-- (just as 1, 2, 3, 4 are units for counting.. and mathematics.) so I think of SL as having words.. some time one gesture can represent a whole concept (raise your hand-- fold down all fingers but tallest-- place a sneer on your face-- and display to the road hog who has been going 10 or 20 units (any kind of units) under the sped limit in the fast lane of a high way-- What did you say? (F*** You!--?) is that a concept or a word? and since ASL readily can be "translated" to and from standard writen english (there some irregular verb/ tense and pronouns -- but 99% of the "language" is the same-- I don't know of any sign that express ideas that can't be expressed in English (for ASL-- other SL's seem to work the same for other languages.. I suspect there is NZSL word for hoot-- even if there isn't a ASL one.

but I have freely admitted to the need to scrape egg off my face in the past.. and i am sure if there is any about-- no one will lose time pointing it out!

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#31853 - 06/12/01 06:44 PM Re: Come to your senses!
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
I know it's called American Sign Language, but is the same system used in any other English-speaking nations? It seems rather inefficient to use two or more different systems for the same language. This would mean that a deaf Brit and a deaf American wouldn't be able to understand each other even though their signs come from the same base language.


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#31854 - 06/12/01 09:13 PM
Max Quordlepleen Offline
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Registered: 08/12/00
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#31855 - 06/13/01 08:54 AM Re: Come to your senses!
Brandon Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 218
Loc: Mountain West, USA
How fantastic. The discussion has turned to signed languages. Little chance of YARTs here. To answer a few initial questions...

Signs are not considered "words" by most practicing sign language linguists. The structure of the language is sifficiently different from written English... kinda akin to many Asian languages not having "letters" and spoken English not having "letters" (instead having phonemes and syllables).

Signing is indeed different in England (where they sign British Sign Language). American SL is primarily used in the US and Canada. If you think about why languages develop differently (Spanish and French both from Latin but separated by the Pyrenees). The Deaf haven't had the influence of "media" to bring their languages together, and not having a standardized written from, the languages were free to develop independently. (ASL is in fact most like French Sign Language, http://www.bconnex.net/~randys/history.htm

There are plenty of signed colloquialisms that are very difficult to convey in English. One has the same problems with any language with a deeply rooted culture with different values, mores, etc. that have an effect on the language and how it is used.

Good to be back, and I appreciate the welcome...
Brandon




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#31856 - 06/13/01 12:33 PM Re: Finger spelling
wow Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
Posts: 3439
Loc: New England, USA
There is a site on "finger spelling" and the "letters are easy to master ... it's not as comprehensive a medium as ASL but I found it useful when trying to help a deaf person. Brandon, are most ASL users also proficient in the finger spelling? For the finger spelling with pictures :
http://dww.deafworldweb.org/asl/abc/az.html


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#31857 - 06/13/01 01:01 PM Re: Finger spelling
Brandon Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 218
Loc: Mountain West, USA

In English, we communicate with reliance on letters, words, phonemes, syllables, intonation, etc. ASL has a similar structure that goes something like this:

30% of all meaning in a signed discourse is found in the signer's facial expression.
25% is found in body movement
20% is found in classifiers (English doesn't have too many)
20% is found in proper signs (what most people think of when they see "signing")
5% is found in fingerspellling

Deaf people rely on fingerspelling for most proper nouns (unless the community already has an established sign, like a family member's name, local or national cities, etc.). They may use fingerspelling to convey an exact turn of phrase or concept , which would be more like "lexical borrowing" or borrowing from a foreign language.


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#31858 - 06/13/01 01:58 PM Re: Finger spelling
Hyla Offline
addict

Registered: 12/14/00
Posts: 544
Loc: San Francisco, CA
25% is found in body movement
20% is found in classifiers (English doesn't have too many)
20% is found in proper signs (what most people think of when they see "signing")


First off, I find this fascinating, that the communication is carried in so many ways. It happens in spoken language as well, but I think the percentage of communication carried in the actual spoken words (equivalent to the signs in ASL, I'd think) would be higher than the 20% you give (although I'd welcome others' estimates on this).

Second - could you tell us more about this? What distinguishes "body movement" from the actual signs? Could you give an example or two?

Also - what are classifiers in this context?

Finally - is there somewhere I should look online so that you don't have to single-handedly educate me on the basics and nuances of ASL?


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#31859 - 06/13/01 02:21 PM Re: Finger spelling
Brandon Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/16/00
Posts: 218
Loc: Mountain West, USA
In ASL, most of the grammar in an discourse resides almost exclusively on the face on the upper body. When I say "body movement," I mean torso and shoulder movement, not the general "movement of the body or any part thereof."

Tense, for example, is often spatially arranged so that backward movements and anything behind one's vertical bisection can be past tense. The space immediately in front of the signer can be present, and forward movements or the space farther out from a signer's typical signing space can be future tense. (notice "can be;" if I'm giving directions or have other spatially-oriented pronouns occupying spaces within my sign space, you wouldn't think I was messing with tense).

Another example can be found in various sentence types. Rhetorical questions are created and identified with raised eyebrows and a forward head tilt. WH-word questions (who, what, when...) have squinting brows with a forward head tilt, forward body tilt, or shoulder raise. Yes-no questions have brows raised, widened eyes, a body lean, and a very pronounced head tilt. These kinds of combinations can be found in directives, conditionals, negations, assertions, relative clauses, etc.

Also - what are classifiers in this context?

Ahh, what are classifiers? I'll post that separately.

Is there somewhere I should look online so that you don't have to single-handedly educate me on the basics and nuances of ASL?

A good beginning forum would be DeafWorldWeb's Resource library at http://dww.deafworldweb.org/pub/

Brandon



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