Sign languages

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Feb 22 14:05:48 CET 2006

Kent Karlsson scripsit:

> But a tag like sgn-US does not say which language lettered words
> are in; though they are most likely in English, they may well be in
> Spanish. Likewise, for sgn-FI, lettered words are most likely in
> Finnish, but may well be in Swedish. Etc. But I don't know enough
> about sign languages to make a constructive suggestion.

AFAIK, letter-spelled words in American Sign Language are always in
English; I can't say what is the case for other sign languages.
A letter-spelled word has the status of a borrowing, just like
borrowings in spoken languages -- once borrowed, it's subject
to phonological and semantic changes in the borrowing language,
and no longer part of the borrowed language.  Swedish is full of
Low Saxon and English borrowings, but they now function as Swedish

What is the sound of Perl?  Is it not the       John Cowan
sound of a [Ww]all that people have stopped     cowan at
banging their head against?  --Larry  

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