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"

Peter Constable <petercon@microsoft.com> Tue, 26 November 2019 21:56 UTC

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From: Peter Constable <petercon@microsoft.com>
To: "Pyatt, Elizabeth J" <ejp10@psu.edu>, =?utf-8?B?TWFyayBEYXZpcyDimJXvuI8=?= <mark@macchiato.com>
CC: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>, Christian Galinski <christian.galinski@chello.at>, Doug Ewell <doug@ewellic.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>
Thread-Topic: [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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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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Thanks.

It has long been assumed in BCP 47 (as in ISO 639-3) that signed languages like ASL are distinct, individual languages that may have no linguistic relation to oral languages that may have a similar conventional name (e.g., no linguistic connection is assumed between Armenian Sign Language and Armenian by virtue of “Armenian” appearing in both names). By virtue of ISO 639-3, the IANA language subtag registry used for BCP 47 accommodates over 300 individual signed languages.

And it has also long been understood that signed modalities of oral languages are distinct from signed languages that may be associated with the same region. BCP 47 just hasn’t had any mechanism up to now to support signed modalities of oral languages.


Peter

From: Pyatt, Elizabeth J <ejp10@psu.edu>
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 6:19 AM
To: Mark Davis ☕️ <mark@macchiato.com>
Cc: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org>rg>; Christian Galinski <christian.galinski@chello.at>at>; Doug Ewell <doug@ewellic.org>rg>; Peter Constable <petercon@microsoft.com>om>; Fourney, David <david.fourney@usask.ca>ca>; Sebastian Drude <Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com>om>; ietf-languages <ietf-languages@iana.org>rg>; Melinda_Lyons@sil.org
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"

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

https://www.accreditedlanguage.com/interpreting/types-of-sign-language-and-their-development/<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.accreditedlanguage.com%2Finterpreting%2Ftypes-of-sign-language-and-their-development%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616775616&sdata=I0Kv3cNpfXcbMu9tN9Lh%2FERFhLR7%2BDfTo8x%2FY8zC9wI%3D&reserved=0>

ASL also has second person plural pronouns and apparently does not always distinguish gender in the third person.
https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/pages-layout/possession.htm<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lifeprint.com%2Fasl101%2Fpages-layout%2Fpossession.htm&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616785609&sdata=W2QiwDm0oGhUAba72RCHP2j8nnhCzYdHMbFfBuLtEh4%3D&reserved=0>

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.
https://www.sil.org/system/files/reapdata/49/93/30/4993307252502011969228542832463330862/ISO_639_3_for_Deaf_Communities__English_.pdf<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sil.org%2Fsystem%2Ffiles%2Freapdata%2F49%2F93%2F30%2F4993307252502011969228542832463330862%2FISO_639_3_for_Deaf_Communities__English_.pdf&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616785609&sdata=Kb6TaSHtfhN8otC48%2FBImB1bFCNd68UQpIslPyZSf0E%3D&reserved=0>

Hope this is useful.

Elizabeth


On Nov 24, 2019, at 4:13 PM, Mark Davis ☕️ <mark@macchiato.com<mailto:mark@macchiato.com>> wrote:

It would be far better have a useful generative mechanism, instead of hundreds of combinations mashed together. Why not just: "it-signed" ? If the variant 'signed' is defined, every parser immediately knows that it is a signed variant, and doesn't have to look up the meaning of an obscure combination of codes.  It can be used with *any* language (optionally plus region, optionally plus subdivision, as necessary), and correctly parsed.

Moreover, there is then no necessity for people to go cap in hand to petition for a new code. Once 'signed' is defined, then if someone wants a code to use "tk-AF-signed" for sign language associated with Turkmen as used in Afghanistan, or even "tk-signed-u-sd-afkdz" for Turkmen as used in the Kunduz subdivision of Afghanistan, they are free to do so, without jumping through hoops.

There can of course be additional variants added as necessary if there are multiple systems that can't be distinguished by language+region+subdivision. But it would only be need to be defined in such cases.

Mark


On Sat, Nov 23, 2019 at 3:10 AM John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org<mailto:cowan@ccil.org>> wrote:
I agree that the 't' subtag is not suitable, but I don't think a generic '-signed-' subtag is a good idea either.  I think we have to use registered variant tags, and I propose the following convention for them:

        lexifier language tag (3 letters) + disamiguator (2-5 letters or digits).

Note that this is a single tag, and you can't tell by looking at it if it is for a signed modality or not.

Examples (shown with country subtags for clarity, but they could be omitted):

en-US-asefsp:  fingerspelled English using ASL letters
en-GB-bsifsp:  fingerspelled English using British Sign Language letters
en-US-asese: Bornstein's signed English (ASL content words, 14 grammatical particles)
en-US-asesee1: Seeing Essential English: ASL, modified ASL, and novel signs
pl-PL-psosee1: Seeing Essential Polish (like asesee1, but lexified by Polish Sign)
en-US-asesee2: Signing Exact English: variant of asesse1 that uses additional ASL signs for some English compound words; also used in SG
en-GB-bsise: British Signed English, conceptually similar to asesee1 but not derived from it
en-GB-bsisse: Sign-Supported English, uses mouthing to distinguish between English words represented by the same sign in British Sign
en-GB-pagetgor: Paget-Gorman Sign, all lexemes are artificial
en-asf: mostly Auslan signs with some from ASL, English syntax, used in AU and NZ
en-IE-isgise: Irish Signed English (used in the republic)
en-UK-bsinisl: based on Northern Ireland dialect of British Sign (which shares some syntax with Irish Sign)
fr-FR-fslfs: Français Signé lexified by French Sign
fr-BE-sfbfs: Français Signé lexified by French Belgian Sign
fr-CA-fcsfs: Français Signé lexified by Québec Sign
de-gsglbg: Deutsche Gebärdensprache, used in DE and BE
it-IT-iseis: italiano segnato
it-IT-iseise: italiano segnato essato

And so on.


John Cowan          http://vrici.lojban.org/~cowan<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http:%2F%2Fvrici.lojban.org%2F~cowan&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616785609&sdata=5DEvv0AOyg8Xt4k0ekR7s4VM8I1Am39ptmRoGYXOVVY%3D&reserved=0>        cowan@ccil.org<mailto:cowan@ccil.org>
Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos        --Lithuanian proverb
Deus dedit dentes; deus dabit panem           --Latin version thereof
Deity donated dentition;
  deity'll donate doughnuts                   --English version by Muke Tever
God gave gums; God'll give granary            --Version by Mat McVeagh




On Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 7:24 PM Peter Constable <petercon=40microsoft.com@dmarc.ietf.org<mailto:40microsoft.com@dmarc.ietf.org>> wrote:
The scope of the ‘t’ extension is linguistic content that has undergone some type of transform in its expression, and signed modality for a spoken language could be considered a transform. But the ‘t’ extension as currently defined doesn’t support this. What is supported is primarily dealing with text transformations. Also, the way the ‘t’ extension works is that the additional information declares what content was transformed _from_, not what it is transformed _into_. For signed modality of spoken languages, what’s needed is a way to indicate signed modality as the final expression, not the source.

So, I don’t think the ‘t’ extension is appropriate.

I think a variant subtag “signed” or “signmod” would be better. The main problem that would arise is that this is very generic (it could be usefully applied to any oral language), which there has been resistance to in the past. A smaller issue is that, while variant tags for specific signed-modality variants could be registered, it might make sense to use a subtag sequence along the lines -signed-modvarnt, but it’s currently not possible to specify a prefix as anything other than a valid language tag. (E.g., *-signed can’t be a prefix specification.) That wouldn’t be a problem as long as the signed-modality variant is specific to a particular language, as would be the case for (e.g.) Signed Exact English.



Peter

From: Ietf-languages <ietf-languages-bounces@ietf.org<mailto:ietf-languages-bounces@ietf.org>> On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
Sent: Friday, November 22, 2019 1:05 PM
To: Christian Galinski <christian.galinski@chello.at<mailto:christian.galinski@chello.at>>; 'Fourney, David' <david.fourney@usask.ca<mailto:david.fourney@usask.ca>>
Cc: ietf-languages <ietf-languages@iana.org<mailto:ietf-languages@iana.org>>; 'Sebastian Drude' <Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com<mailto:Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com>>; Melinda_Lyons@sil.org<mailto:Melinda_Lyons@sil.org>
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [Ietf-languages] language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"

Hi Christian,

> Many true sign languages (se definitions below), such as “ase”
> (American Sign Language [ASL], which /fictively/ might even have a
> Newfoundland and Labrador variety – to be coded ase-CA-NL in line
> with BCP47 rules) have already a language identifier.

This example is actually not valid BCP 47 syntax. The use of ISO 3166-1 country codes as region subtags doesn't extend to appending ISO 3166-2 subdivision codes directly. You would need to use "ase-u-sd-canl" or "ase-CA-u-sd-canl". See UTS #35, Section 3.6.5.

> The question to Doug is, how the BCP and Unicode rules deal with the
> above-mentioned difference between (true) “individual sign languages”
> and the “signed language modality” (as a sort of “transform” of any
> individual language)?

I don't believe there are or should be any "Unicode rules" (which I assume refers to CLDR and the 't' or 'u' extension) that deal with this.

One approach would be to request a variant subtag, such as 'signed', to represent the signed modality of a spoken language, such as (but not limited to) Signing Exact English. See RFC 5646, Section 2.2.5 for details on variant subtags and Section 3.6 for details on requesting a registration.

However, some may argue that modality is beyond the scope of BCP 47 variants and would suggest a CLDR extension to deal with this within the 't' extension framework. In that case, your best bet would be to contact cldr-contact@unicode.org<mailto:cldr-contact@unicode.org> .

--
Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, US | ewellic.org<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fewellic.org&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616795601&sdata=AjlhYUwZIHFpjvGZAhQ%2FsebnlEVcZJqx%2BsovVpwrVlY%3D&reserved=0>


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs.
attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in
"sign language modality"
From: "Christian Galinski" <christian.galinski@chello.at<mailto:christian.galinski@chello.at>>
Date: Fri, November 22, 2019 11:48 am
To: "'Fourney, David'" <david.fourney@usask.ca<mailto:david.fourney@usask.ca>>
Cc: <Melinda_Lyons@sil.org<mailto:Melinda_Lyons@sil.org>>, "'Sebastian Drude'"
<Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com<mailto:Sebastian.Drude@outlook.com>>, <doug@ewellic.org<mailto:doug@ewellic.org>>

Dear David,

First I have to apologize for my long silence – I was absorbed with work on several standards.

We are now at a crucial moment where things need to be clarified in ISO 639-4 “language coding” (and ISO/TR 21636 “Language varieties”) – including your issue of how to identify “individual sign languages” (i.e. true individual sign languages, which are not just a modality of spoken language) and the “signed language modality” which is a signed representation of a spoken language).


  1.  concerning the difference between “individual sign languages” and “signed language modality”, the use of the language identifier “sgn” (in library use) is confined to an unidentifiable individual sign language – it is NOT referring to a “signed language modality”. According to the fundamental rules of language coding, we cannot change the scope of “sgn”, nor ignore the difference between sign language and the signed language modality.
Therefore, for the sign language modality we need an “attribute” to be added to the language identifier of an individual language, e.g. if the sign language modality of the type of “Signing Exact English” is used.
  2.  However, I could not find an identifier for signed language modality, nor a mechanism for inserting an identifier for this in:
https://tools.ietf.org/html/bcp47<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftools.ietf.org%2Fhtml%2Fbcp47&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616805596&sdata=USUI%2BC1HRcexkwVsPamfR0b080cR1y7mvUdyH%2FYaEEY%3D&reserved=0>
https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6497#ref-UTS35<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftools.ietf.org%2Fhtml%2Frfc6497%23ref-UTS35&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616805596&sdata=ahCG0w2OV6qWpYsbcLqqak6FxOFy44k4deGuF9gckRY%3D&reserved=0>
http://unicode.org/reports/tr35/<https://nam06.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Funicode.org%2Freports%2Ftr35%2F&data=02%7C01%7Cpetercon%40microsoft.com%7Cb575222972cf44243a5508d771b2652d%7C72f988bf86f141af91ab2d7cd011db47%7C1%7C0%7C637102885616815593&sdata=vjtTFrSNZWGVo%2Fq7eajV4VWc57KNpE5UZY84lLYtVok%3D&reserved=0>
The regular order of attributes to a language tag (language identifier) is “lang-geogr” (dialect), or “lang-script” (language written in a certain script) or “lang-script-geogr” (language in a script in a certain region).. In between, a “t” (for “transform” in the meaning of transcription, transliteration, translation or other) may be inserted.

From your experience/problems with video technology (and HTML), the questions to you would be:

  1.  Many true sign languages (se definitions below), such as “ase” (American Sign Language [ASL], which /fictively/ might even have a Newfoundland and Labrador variety – to be coded ase-CA-NL in line with BCP47 rules) have already a language identifier.
Does it need another attribute to further specify them as a sign language? In that case, an attribute must be found which is different from “sgn”. How could it look like?
  2.  In the case of a signed language modality, such as “Signing Exact English” the core language identifier for English would be “eng”. It would need an attribute to identify it as the signed language modality (which could be followed by a country code, if there are “dialects” of /fictive/ eng-xxx-AUS meaning “Signing Exact English as used in Australia”. What could “xxx” indicating “signed language modality look like?
  3.  It probably would not help to use an attribute identifier “Xxxx” in the slot of “script code”, as a signed language modality might slightly differ depending on the script used, even if it is the same spoken language (represented in different scripts in different areas/communities).
  4.  Could the “t” (transform) symbol be of help – as a given signed language modality somehow is a “transformation” of a spoken language?


  1.  The above questions (resp. the answer to them) could have an impact on ISO 639 and ISO/TR 21636 insofar as we should not formulate provisions in these documents which conflict with other standards. We should rather try to find generic solutions.

The question to Doug is, how the BCP and Unicode rules deal with the above-mentioned difference between (true) “individual sign languages” and the “signed language modality” (as a sort of “transform” of any individual language)? see the respective terminology entries below

Best regards
Christian


p.s.
In the most recent revised version of ISO 639-4 we came up with the following terminology entries:
individual sign language
NOT: signed language
individual language (3.1.3) having the visual-spatial language modality (3..5.1) as basic modality
Note 1 to entry: Usually “sign language” appears as part of the name of the respective individual language.
EXAMPLE: ASL (American Sign Language); )

signed language modality
NOT: sign language
visual-spatial language modality (3.5.1) that uses a combination of hand shapes, palm orientation and movement of the hand, arm or body, and facial expression

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