Re: [Ietf-languages] [EXTERNAL] Re: language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"

John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org> Sat, 30 November 2019 14:52 UTC

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From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>
Date: Sat, 30 Nov 2019 09:51:27 -0500
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To: David Starner <prosfilaes@gmail.com>
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Subject: Re: [Ietf-languages] [EXTERNAL] Re: language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"
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On Sat, Nov 30, 2019 at 4:58 AM David Starner <prosfilaes@gmail.com>; wrote:

Written
> language tagging would be marginally useful at best for me if "en"
> ever in practice implied "en-Aran" or "en-Hani", and there was no way
> to add the script to the language tag. (I believe it would literally
> be easier to decipher fr-Latn (a language of which I know nothing)
> than en-Aran.)


Knowingly or unknowingly you are stacking the deck:  fr and en have a very
close though non-genetic relationship due to massive borrowing in both
directions.  As a teenager who knew no French (and I don't know much more
now), I was able to read an issue of _Time_ magazine's French edition
(having literally nothing else to read) based on borrowings, proper names,
my knowledge of current events, and my knowledge of how newsmagazines in
general and _Time_ in particular are written.  Per contra, Nastaliq is
completely illegible to the vast majority of literate arabophones, though
very much in current use for Urdu and several other languages (Persian uses
it only in poetry now).  I suppose that Urdu-speakers have now learned to
read Naskh (the most common Arabic script style) perforce, since that's
what their computers used to provide except in specialized word-processing
software.  Even now, digital Nastaliq is a far cry from the real thing.

Likewise, that sign language in question is at the base
> English is of little help if one is not familiar with the particular
> way that English is signed in this case.
>

To be sure.  But the same could be said of written English, if one knows
spoken English but not the Latin alphabet, or knows it only using a
completely different set of sound-to-letter equivalences (say, a Greek who
can read and write romanized Greek but not English).



John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan        cowan@ccil.org
Winter:  MIT, / Keio, INRIA, / Issue lots of Drafts.
So much more to understand! / Might simplicity return?
                (A "tanka", or extended haiku)