Sign languages (was: Re: additions to ISO 639 and the IANA
language subtag registry)
cowan at ccil.org
Tue Feb 21 23:20:26 CET 2006
Peter Constable scripsit:
> > Signed English in the US and Ireland is different
> > from signed English in the UK.
> Just like Pinyin and Wade-Giles romanizations of Chinese are different.
> It's still Chinese in both cases, so the tag should begin with "zh"; the
> fact that it is Latin transliteration is the next most significant
> attribute, and the choice of Romanization is a further refinement of
> that. Similarly, the language is English whether signed using the
> gestural "notation" conventions of US or of Ireland; the next most
> significant attribute is the signed modality, and the choice of signing
> conventions is a further refinement of that.
On reflection, I think that's exactly backwards. The major barrier to
mutual intelligibility is in lexicon; it can be quite a difficult matter
to decide whether a dialogue is ASL or signed English or a varying mixture
of the two, but there is no doubt whether it is ASL or BSL.
I throw this suggestion out for what it's worth: tag the signed spoken
languages as the corresponding SL, using an 's' extension to specify
the spoken language being encoded. Thus signed American English would be
"sgn-US-s-en", distinct from both "sgn-US" and "sgn-GB-s-en".
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