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CHAT: My new treasure

From:Adam Walker <dreamertwo@...>
Date:Tuesday, January 22, 2002, 9:58
I just got back from seeing LOTR for the second time.  I went with my Deaf
friends this time and it was a blast.  On the way back we stopped at a
department store where one of my friends works to eat lunch.  Of course I
drug us all into the book store and rambled on to them about the LOTR book
which were boldly displayed teasing them with bis of info on what to expect
in the coming movies.

Anyhow, the friend who works at the dept store took me over to the language
books where he showed me a treasure which I could not resist -- a three
volume intro to Hong Kong Sign Language!  I've already scanned through it
and have found lots of similarities with Taiwan Sign Language, but about as
many differences.  There are also some similarities with the few words of
Japanese Sign Language and Korean Sign Language that I know.  (We're talking
about 3 or 4 words of KSL and mayber 20 of JSL.)  There's clearly a regional
thing going here.  Lots of variation, but either a common derivation or lots
of borrowing for a bunch of these signs among HKSL, TSL, JSL and KSL.

I don't have my British Sign Language stuff with me here in Taiwan or I'd
scoure it for BSL influences.  One thing that surprise me is that HKSL has a
finger alphabet (TSL doesn't).  That in itself wasn't really shocking, just
a bit of a surprise, but it did shock me to see that the HKSL finger
alphabet is NOT the BSL alphabet which is two-handed.  THey use the AMERICAN
alphabet!  Exacly, letter-for-letter, the same.  Does anyone know if the
American fnger alphabet was borrowed from one of the French sign languages?
(For that matter how much does Parisian SL differ from Lyon SL?)  Or is it
an American innovation?

I'm visiting China in a few days.  Maybe I can pick up some books on one or
more local SL's there -- along with some Chinese dialect info.

Adam who can't say no to a book

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Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Bob Greenwade <bob.greenwade@...>Sign Languages (was My new treasure)