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"

"Doug Ewell" <doug@ewellic.org> Mon, 25 November 2019 15:56 UTC

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From: "Doug Ewell" <doug@ewellic.org>
To: "Pyatt, Elizabeth J" <ejp10@psu.edu>, "Mark Davis =?UTF-8?Q?=E2=98=95=EF=B8=8F?=" <mark@macchiato.com>
Cc: "John Cowan" <cowan@ccil.org>, "Christian Galinski" <christian.galinski@chello.at>, "Peter Constable" <petercon=40microsoft.com@dmarc.ietf.org>, "Fourney, David" <david.fourney@usask.ca>, "Sebastian Drude" <Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com>, "ietf-languages" <ietf-languages@iana.org>, "Melinda_Lyons@sil.org" <Melinda_Lyons@sil.org>
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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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Elizabeth is correct that a BCP 47 tag like "it-signed" would be appropriate for a true signed version of Italian, but not for Italian Sign Language, which is a different language and would be tagged "ise".
 
Similarly, signed spoken English (any variety) is not the same as American Sign Language. The former could be "en-signed"; the latter is "ase".
 
ISO 639-3 has code elements for more than 140 sign languages, in addition to the generic [sgn], plus a well-defined mechanism to add more as needed. They are not the issue here. The issue is how to tag signed forms of non-sign languages, such as Signing Exact English.
 
As a side note, I wish Bickford had not included the following in the article Elizabeth cited:
 
> ISO 639-3 announces to the world that your language exists and that
> it is different from all other languages. This can give it more
> prestige and respect.
 
because there are already too many people who request an ISO 639 code element for a language because they think it will give it prestige and respect. (This is usually a problem with new constructed languages, not with established sign languages. But still.)
 
--
Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, US | ewellic.org" href="http://ewellic.org" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ewellic.org
 
-------- Original Message --------
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"
From: "Pyatt, Elizabeth J" <ejp10@psu.edu>
Date: Mon, November 25, 2019 7:18 am
To: Mark Davis ☕️ <mark@macchiato.com>
Cc: <many>

In terms of identifying sign languages, it's important to note that languages such as ASL (American Sign Language) are not variants of a spoken language, but can be independent grammatical systems. 

Finger spelling in ASL can provide a phonetic translation of specific spoken words, but the primary signs have nothing to do with English phonology or grammar. In fact, ASL was an adaptation of French Sign Language (FSL) and as such has object pronouns. It 


ASL also has second person plural pronouns and apparently does not always distinguish gender in the third person. 

Tagging ASL as a variant of English would be incorrect. Tagging ASL as a sign language associated with the U.S.(i.e. sgn-us) might be more accurate. But having appropriate identification tags for the languages would be better, because there are dialects and "accents" in different sign languages.

FYI - SIL does have a mechanism to register specific regional sign languages.

Hope this is useful.

Elizabeth