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Sign Language?

From:Sarah Marie Parker-Allen <lloannna@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 15, 2003, 12:05
I have a question for all of you (BTW thank you for your comments re: my
languages, I still have to sort through all of them as I was working all
weekend).  Have any of you tried to come up with a constructed sign
language, either as an auxiliary to an established conlang (like Cued Speech
or Signed Exact English [yes, I know that's just ASL plus some grammatical
and structural signs]) or somewhat independent (like ASL) or even fully
independent as its own separate language (like what ASL tries to be -- parts
of it, I know, aren't easily translatable to ordinary English)?  If so, how
would you record it (short of creating a series of short video clips, LOL)
for teaching it to others?  It just occurred to me lately that while a
Braille or other touch-based version of a foreign/new language is relatively
easy (one of my Russian teachers was blind; she knew English Braille amnd
Russian Braille, and OSU bought her a Braille version of the teacher's
manual for our textbook), but creating a sign language would be painful.  I
don't just mean coming up with finger alphabets, though that would be
tricky, but actually developing signs for concepts or (like with Cued
Speech) for sounds.

In case you don't know what Cued Speech is (it's a bit hard to explain, and
I only know about it thanks to my father's brother, whose son is deaf),
here's a few links:

I should probably point out that in the case of Cued Speech, you'd likely
only actually have to come up with a few extra signs (at most); it's
flexible enough that you can use it as is for almost all the Romance
languages.  This is a basic card with the signs; though technically they say
this is a tool for teaching only and isn't accepted within the Deaf
community, I know at least three families that use it exclusively (including
mine) for communication, and eschew ASL or Signed Exact English:

**NOTE** I know that you can get books on ASL and other sign languages, but
unless you intend to copy ASL signs, it seems to me that actually drawing in
all the hand shapes and movements would be... very challenging to say the

Sarah Marie Parker-Allen

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even
though the end may be dark."
-- J.R.R. Tolkien

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Amanda Babcock <langs@...>
Peter Clark <peter-clark@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>Cued Speech [was: Re: Sign Language?]
Diana Slattery <slattd@...>
Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>