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Re: SCA sign

Eogan asks:

>All of this talk about sign language has made me curious...
>Is there any evedence of a type of sign used in period?  How recent is
>the idea of talking with your hands?

Y'know, I wrote a paper on just this topic, which I had intended to 
submit to T.I., but unfortunately, the disk had other ideas -- it got a 
virus, and died.  So it goes ...

Period examples of sign language (from what I recall):

- Roman accounts indicate that there was a tribe somewhere in the British 
Isles which communicated almost entirely in a sign language.

- St. Augustine at one point contemplated whether it was necessary to 
have language to be able to pray, or whether one could communicate in 
signs, "as the deaf do."

- Roman law (as well as the Mishneh) qualify the deaf under something 
like four categories:  those that are deaf, but can understand speech or 
read lips; those that became deaf as they aged, but can understand speech 
or read lips; those that are deaf, but can understand writing; and those 
who are deaf, but cannot communicate.  Note that those who could only 
communicate via sign language qualify under the fourth category; they 
were not allowed to own property, and were denied certain other rights as 
well.  Note that those who qualified under the fourth category were not 
allowed to be taught how to write, thus preventing them from entering 
another category.

- Several deaf children were taught either how to read, write, or speak; 
I don't have all the citations, sorry ... but there still were several 
deaf families that would create their own sign language, generally not 
compatible with other families' sign languages.

- The first truly standardized sign language doesn't come about until 
about the 16th century, in Spain.  It was a finger-spelling method, 
created by a Spanish monk in order to instruct -- gosh, forgot their 
names, but it was two young boys in the Spanish nobility, the older of 
which stood to inherit a marquisate -- they were brothers, and the only 
surviving children in that family.  (Remember that if they *couldn't* 
communicate, they wouldn't be able to inherit the property, under the 
Justinian laws ...)

I'm going to try to resurrect that paper.  It'd be fun.  :)

Yours in Service to the Dream,

Karen Larsdatter med det Usigelige Efternavn fra Skyggedal