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Multimodal language (was: Wordless language (was: NonVerbal Conlang?))

From:Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>
Date:Monday, July 3, 2006, 1:14
If I were an auxlanger, point #1 on my manifesto would be a phonology in
which each underlying representation can surface either orally or manually.
That is, some underlying form /xyz/ could either surface as, say, [kai] or
as [thumb-touching-nose] or, preferably, both at once.  Each phonology would
have to be simpler than in an oral-only or manual-only language, but for an
IAL that's a feature rather than a bug.

Some benefits:

1. Would greatly reduce the communication barrier between the deaf and the
2. Would provide additional confirmation of a word's identity for the
3. Children could begin acquisition at an earlier age than with a purely
spoken language
4. Unlike, say, an ASL signer having to use English to write in, it would
not be necessary to learn a new language just to write.
5. Useful in situations in which conditions prevent easy oral
communication.  Like at a construction site, or underwater, or while
housebreaking, or while your roommate is asleep, or at the dentist's.
Actually, my first thought was, hey, this would be useful in a noisy bar.

Anyway, I'm not an auxlanger, and not given to writing manifestos, but I
thought I'd throw this idea out here.  Has anyone tried to implement
something like this?

What other modalities could the underlying form surface as?  Other than
writing, which is the usual second mode.  On that note...

6. If there were a correspondence between sign and written representation
that was somewhat transparent, learning to read would become a lot easier.
Say we use the Roman alphabet -- it is an IAL, after all -- and consonants
are co-realized as handshapes.  (David's analogy makes more sense, of
course, but just for argument...)  Say, further, that the /k/ sound is
matched to a C handshape and /l/ to a flat palm, etc.  Now the process of
associating letters to sounds has gotten one step easier.

Oh, and on a final note, I rather like the term Synaesthetic Language for
something like the above.

-- Pat

On 7/2/06, David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...> wrote:
> > Eldin wrote: > << > Do Sign Languages constist of phones? > Are Sign Languages natlangs? > >> > > Yes and most definitely yes. There's been lots of work done > (fairly) recently on the phonology of sign languages. As an > analog, the place of a sign (its location in space and/or in relation > to the body) is similar to a consonant in spoken language; the > movement of a sign is similar to a vowel; and the handshape > one uses is similar to a tone (according to at least one theory). > I wrote an IPA for signed languages which may be a useful > introduction: > > > > -David > ******************************************************************* > "A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a." > "No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn." > > -Jim Morrison > > >


R A Brown <ray@...>
Kalle Bergman <seppu_kong@...>
And Rosta <and.rosta@...>