Deaf people: reading and thinking

Hi… well, signwriting and Signed English may work for some, but in most cases they are about as good as a third language. How confusing it must be. Signed English has no way of letting you know what a word is spelled, looks like, etc.–it must be like learning kanji for English. If you have to convey English into sign, the best way would be through cued speech–which is basically signed phonetic “hints”.

It is unnatural to put a sign language into an English-like structure. If you learn sign language you’ll see why this is. It is simply unnatural and ineffective. ASL and English must be treated as separate languages, period, and there are few “compromises” that do not wind up being a third language entirely.

JohnClay–I can’t really describe it. I wasn’t born deaf but got totally deaf from a disease before I developed language skills (prelinguistically deaf). My parents were of the sort who felt sign language hindered English learning (and they have good reason to feel that way, learn ASL and make a few Deaf friends).
Unfortunately a deaf person will never integrate into a hearing society. Sign language is the only way, period. Lipreading or cochlear implants are far from being any kind of cure-alls. I went to public school but being there was like watching a sitcom with no sound. I did not have any friends, nada, until I went to college and learned sign language, and made deaf friends. This is why sign language is necessary for the Deaf.

However, my experience with other Deaf adults is that the majority of them are poor students, have very little knowledge of English, and they are mired in poverty. Meanwhile, I graduated from college in 3 years, I am going to graduate school and I have a wonderful professional summer job with a very high hourly pay. Was a very unhappy childhood “worth it”? For me, probably–for other deaf people, probably not.

I grew up communicating by writing English and exchanging written notes. As for thought inflections, dunno… but it’s not italics, bold, or anything… maybe in CAPS though. :slight_smile: And I can’t tell you the font type or anything, just that it’s a lot like book print. :slight_smile:

Signed English is a language as different from ASL or any other language as English is different from Arabic. SignWriting is not a language. Just as written English is not a language but a system to write the sounds of English, SignWriting is not a language but a system to write the movements of any Signed Language. I suppose the best comparison would be to say that SignWriting is the Sign Language equivalent of the IPA.

The rest of your posting above, dre2xl, contains a few misconceptions about what is natural and what is not natural in languages. Just because, say, English has the normal word order of Subject-Verb-Object does not mean that is the only natural order for a language to have. As a matter of fact, there are languages with natural word orders other than that.

The big misconception, though, is that (it appears to me, at least) that you still identify language with sound. 'Taint always the case.

I believe you misread my post, or else I did not communicate clearly enough. I was trying to make the same points you are. :slight_smile:

Signed English (or any artifically created signed languages that literally interpret a spoken language word for word) is unnatural. Spoken English grammar does not translate itself into sign language effectively, and my whole point about it being unnatural is that (1) it winds up being a third language apart from ASL and English, and (2) yes, it is unnatural in more than one sense–among others, it is an artifically created language.

And, no, I do not think that sound=language in the least. However, I do believe that if you have a naturally evolved spoken language on one hand, and a naturally evolved sign language on the other, the two will be completely different, and that to force one onto the other will not work.

I would like to know the benefits of Signwriting? None of the Deaf people I have spoken to have mentioned Signwriting. My concern about SW was that it would be a well-intentioned idea of little practical value, like ESL.

We’re communicating past (past, beside, nearby?) each other, drex. It’s conceivable that a particular Sign Language have the same order as English; the thing is, as you know, ASL doesn’t.

I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about “forc[ing] one onto the other.”

As to the benefits of SW: check the website for the comments of many people, especially the Deaf who are using it. It’s gone well beyond “a well intentioned idea.”

“However, my experience with other Deaf adults is that the majority of them are poor students,”

I think there are a couple of ways to read this, first Deaf students are often excellent students. If you are referring to money, you might be right, as I believe the unemployment rate hovers around 80% for them.