A New Writing System for ASL


New Member
Let's see... I didn't read all of the posts here, although I did read some. Having a written ASL form similar to the Chinese characters would be especially interesting! AH, imagine websites, articles, newspapers, books and other publications being written with ASL characters. Oh god, MSN, AIM, Yahoo and other instant messengers would have to use ASL characters...

I have no prior qualifications or solid assertions that would be backed up by tangible proof, but why not? It's not like the existence of a written form would threaten another language that was borne out of necessity. A visual written language.. hmmm... would make sense to me, as a fluent ASL and Norwegian Sign Language user. Wouldn't hurt to try, methinks. This is the dawn of exploration.... after all, why not use our creativity to continually introduce new things in the grander scheme of humanity?

Not being able to communicate by the written letter via an official language such as English, Norwegian, Spanish, etc etc is noted as a problem in this author's POV. Somehow I think that is a totally different point from the point of introducing a written language that would correspond to ASL nicely.

Here is why I am presenting my argument the way I am:

The responsibility would be directly laid on the user on deciding when to use written/signed ASL and when to use written/read/spoken English in appriopiate circumstances.

Perhaps allowances should be made for where we are afraid of or we are unsure about. An unexamined life is not worth living, after all. :D

So, Natalie, if your heart sings in this manner, then go for it! Tis not easy introducing another opportunity into this sea of opportunities swimming around, and people tend to freak out a bit with something new because of the values and subjective truths they hold on with a life line as I understand it. This, be forewarned, is, too, a subjective truth on my part which is not intended to offend. Take it with a grain of salt, too. I could be wrong. ;)
Before you folks worry about teaching deaf kids how to write down language,..

you had better worry about teaching deaf kids under the age of five,..especially the children of hearing parents,..the concept of LANGUAGE!! I have worked with tooooomany deaf kids, who were labled mentally retarded...because they were taught NO language at all before the age of five years!! No language=reciept for disaster!! :mad:
natalie said:
What do you think of Sutton’s existing system of SignWriting?
Constructed languages have a history of failing when one person tries to keep control over them. Volapuk was an invented international language that was very very complicated, but still was quite popular for a time, until some of its proponents decided it should be simplified. Its inventor refused... and Volapuk sank into oblivion, remaining only in the Esperanto idiom "g^i estas volapukag^o" which translates as "It's Greek to me." Calvin Mooers, back around 1980, invented a macro processor called "Trac" that was quite useful, but kept such strict control over his intellectual property that Trac is now forgotten.

The SignWriting web site has a few introductory lessons... but to learn to seriously use it, you get to buy some pretty expensive instructional material. Any kind of writing system for ASL is going to have to be public domain or "Open Source" to be widely adopted.

Also, pictographic symbols don't lend themselves to fast writing.

The writing system will be logographic, meaning that arbitrary, abstract (not pictographic) symbols will be used to depict the vocabulary of ASL. Chinese writing is an example of such a logographic system.
How do you plan to represent borrowed terms that are fingerspelled?

Whatever system you come up with should be something that can be written fluently, and ideally it should have a convenient form for entry online. I'm not sure how to pull that off for signed languages, which take advantage of the multidimensional signing space... but I certainly hope you do. My interest is partly selfish. If I want to learn a spoken language with a written form, with few exceptions I have vast corpuses of grammatical utterances that I can study at my leisure, letting me not have to do two things at once in real time right away (break down continuous speech into words and figure out how they make up phrases and sentences). I'd like the same capability when I try to learn ASL.

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