pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
It looks like I'll be running a class on (at least one) manual alphabet(s), and I'm wondering what you would want to know.

Lots on the historical background and not so much on the actual alphabets (in which case, it'd be the forebearer of modern one-handed fingerspelling)? Or do you want a brief run down on the history, and information on lots of different alphabets (Starting with Bede's fingercounting cipher, up to the 17th century Digiti Lingua and the first two-handed manual alphabets used today in Australia & New Zealand)? Something in between? A focus on their use as mnemonics? in early education of deaf children? Their use in religious orders?

Let me know!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
[personal profile] catsidhe has reminded me about the theory that Ogham can be used to record 'hand signals', or fingerspelling. Just so everyone is clear, Internet, this is not a sign language, please stop calling it that. Go read Lois Bragg's excellent article that discusses what is, and what isn't a language. Hint: For starters, you need a grammar.

Read more... )

EDIT: Ah! I figured out why Macalister's theory is dismised as baaaaad. It seems the idea was picked up by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, who seems to be the source for the dactyological reconstruction I linked to. Apparently he's also responsible for a lot of neopagan thought on Celtic mythology. It seems that it's Graves that is the main source cited for the idea, not Macalister. I'm having trouble finding any substantial discussions about the theory though.
Bragg seems to be one of the more considered sources, she says:
Read more... )


So, Ogham probably should be added onto the list of sign lists, but I'd probably treat it the same way I do Bede. It's a 14th century manuscript, and I haven't found any evidence that the use of Ogham in manual alphabets was widespread. Please prove me wrong!
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, writing about the use of manual alphabets before 1600 CE, for these guys (so, Australia and New Zealand), I'm torn about including a paragraph.

Do I mention that, in 17th century Britain it seems the one-handed alphabet had fallen out of use* and was replaced with an early version of two-handed fingerspelling, and it's this two-handed alphabet that is used today (with some exceptions) as a part of Australia and NZ sign languages?

Is it relevant to mention, because I'm worried about giving the impression that there only is one major Roman-letter-based manual alphabet out there, or is it irrelevant because the focus of the article is pre-17th century? It's sort of jarring being there, but it's sort of important, too.
(I suspect a lot of this is a personal reaction to the very US-centric history literature that is published by presses like Gallaudet, so the development of BSL is -understandably- rarely mentioned.)

*AFAIK the entire premise that the one-handed alphabet was known in Britain is based on Chaucer's hands in the Hoccleve portrait. (Two hints.)
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
I can't make head nor tails of the strange-enough-to-confuse-me-and-google-translate Spanish in the introduction, but the alphabet at least made sense.

This was written in 1618, after the Morales brothers met Manuel Ramirez de Carrion (who is the guy chronologically in between Pedro Ponce de Leon, and Juan Pablo Bonet in terms of early deaf education*) but wasn't published until 1623 after Bonet had published his gorgeous engravings.
Read more... )

*If you're interested, see A Silent Minority: Deaf Education in Spain. It's online for free.

pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
So, I'm starting to write up something a bit more comprehensive about manual alphabets (ie. fingerspelling).
What questions would you have about it? (Other than the obvious ones, of 'what is it', 'what medieval and renaissance examples are there' and 'who used it'?) Would you want just written descriptions, or lots of drawings, or photos of real hands doing them? What about the many extant drawings that don't actually match up with what the text says?

What about variations within each system? (I'm thinking the difference between a simple letter-number cipher and a Ionian cipher...)

Should I be aiming at someone who already knows a little about the topic, or a complete beginner?

I figure since people read my journal, and seem remotely interested, then you'd probably also have some ideas on what an excellent introduction to the topic might be.

Oh! and does anyone know how to get Ogham to display correctly? Is it something standard or do I need to find a font?
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Castronovo, Joseph Anthony, Jr. (1998) Reading Hidden Messages Through Deciphered Manual Alphabets on Classic Artwork [PhD Thesis: The University of Arizona.]

I found about this thesis by following a footnote on Wikipedia to a press release describing Castronovo's impressive-sounding research. However, except for the brief mention of the TV series "The Sign of Artistic Signatures," the only other work I could find was his 1998 thesis. So that's what I'll be giving a brief review of.
Read more... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
After finding a whole pile of illustrations of Geoffrey Chaucer, (and an interesting post from Got Medieval about who was copying who) it's interesting to see that the G and C handshapes were drawn along with each new version. Although it seems to have mutated from G to H over time. And the items he's holding are added or substituted, although his rosary stays remarkably constant when he's not trying to ride a horse.

Read more rambling... )
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Abacus atque vetustissima veterum Latinorum per digitos manusque numerandi consuetudo by Aventinus (Johannes Turmair). 1532.

http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/~db/0002/bsb00026192/images
Page 9 on has woodcuts of finger-reckoning and the letter substitutions.

Found via Historia del alfabeto dactilológico español [PDF] by Antonio Gascon Ricao, after trying to figure out if Spanish Wikipedia was right.
(I'm still not sure if Doctrina para los mudos–sordos is supposed to have ever existed, and what mauscript was found in 1986. Anyone?)

Edit: Ricao's PDF on page 5 says (badly translated by me and Google Translate):

...the assertion of Hervas y Panduro, which attributed to Ponce the manual alphabet, was categorically denied in 1986. Documentation rescued by Eguiluz Angoitia, exposed in his work
Fray Pedro Ponce de León, La nueva personalidad del sordomudo a short text, handwritten by Pedro Ponce, which explains in great detail how it was actually his particular manual alphabet. The document can be found in the Clergy section, bundle 1319, of the National Historical Archive in Madrid.


It seems that Ponce had modified the musical gesture system developed by the Italian monk Guido of Arezzo. and it sounds awfully close to the finger-joint arthrologie systems that appeared in the 17th century.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Three more goodies to link to:

I've uploaded to my site two PDFs, one is the substitution cypher written about by Venerable Bede (under 8th century) and the other is a rather large PDF with the manual alphabets of Thesaurus Artificiosae Memoriae (1579), Refugium Infirmorum (1593), Reducción de las letras y arte para enseñar a hablar a los mudos (1620), Didascalocophus (1680), Digiti Lingua (1698), modern ASL and modern BANZSL in a big table for easy comparison. (Stuffed in under '16th century' although I'm not sure that's the right place.)

Yes, a lot of it is 17th century, but I think it needs to be there -- there are differences between de Yebra and Bonet's alphabets, and there are differences between them and modern ASL, even though so many publications imply they are all the same. Dalgarno and Digiti Lingua are included because I'm horribly biased and think it's important to know where BSL-derived fingerspelling seems to have originated.

The third link, is GoogleBooks has put the entirety of Libro llamado Refugium infirmorum, muy útil y provechoso para todo género de gente, en el cual se contienen muchos avisos espirituales para socorro de los afligidos enfermos, y para ayudar a bien morir a los que están en lo último de su vida; con un alfabeto de San buenaventura para hablar por la mano.(Book called refuge of the sick, very useful and beneficial for all kinds of people, in which is contained much spiritual advice for assistance of distressed sick persons, and for helping those who are at the end of their lives to die well; with Saint Bonaventure's alphabet to speak by the hand) online, and can be downloaded as a PDF.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Cool video in BSL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/features/sign_names.shtml

A bit of information about Auslan as an endangered language:
http://hdl.handle.net/2123/1289

Still need to track down this book: http://nla.gov.au/anbd.bib-an24315816

EEBO has Digiti Lingua from 1698, with the first (verified) drawing of two-handed fingerspelling.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Because there's only so much I can discuss about herbicides without going well and truly over the word limit...

There are some truly interesting and strange things that people combine in the attempt to put together a Deaf history. One of the more interesting combinations has been mentioning ciphers and number/letter substitutions.

So, I start looking for information about Giovanni Battista della Porta (1535-c.1610) and can't find anything about a particular cipher he invented where pointing to different parts of the body indicated a letter. But, it's easier to find more general stuff about his work in cryptography.

Which then leads to volvelles in code-breaking or astronomy, and sort of were pop-up books for adults in a way. :)

Thesaurus Artificiosae Memoriae from 1579 by Cosmas Rosselius is online as a Googlebooks PDF. Assuming that you don't want to search through the entire book looking for pictures of an alphabet that uses the hands (Like della Porta he has a 'pointing at body parts' one too), then pp.248-252 of the PDF is what you're looking for.

The Thesaurus is considered to be the first pictorial representation of 'fingerspelling' as such.

Pictures:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v244/quokkaqueen/ign/books1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v244/quokkaqueen/ign/books2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v244/quokkaqueen/ign/books3.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v244/quokkaqueen/ign/books4.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v244/quokkaqueen/ign/books5.png

Edit: I'm naughty and forgot to mention my source.
Per Eriksson, James Schmale [trans.] The History of Deaf People: A Source Book
(O:rebro, Sweden: Daufr, 1998)
ISBN-10: 9163068222
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
Fray Melchor de Yebra, (1593) 'Refugium Infirmorum'
http://www.cultura-sorda.eu/resources/Yebra_REFUGIUM_INFIRMORUM_1593.pdf

From the notes of Chapter 2 of Susan Plann (1997) A Silent Minority: Deaf Education in Spain 1550 - 1835
The complete title was Libro llamado Refugium infirmorum, muy útil y provechoso para todo género de gente, en el cual se contienen muchos avisos espirituales para socorro de los afligidos enfermos, y para ayudar a bien morir a los que están en lo último de su vida; con un alfabeto de San buenaventura para hablar por la mano(Book called refuge of the sick, very useful and beneficial for all kinds of people, in which is contained much spiritual advice for assistance of distressed sick persons, and for helping those who are at the end of their lives to die well; with Saint Bonaventure's alphabet to speak by the hand).

Edit: For people not overly phased by Spanish, cultura-sorda.eu has a lot of history articles:
http://www.cultura-sorda.eu/21.html

AND The Bibliotheca Nacional de España has an online version of
Juan Pablo Bonet (1620) Reducción de las letras y arte para enseñar a hablar a los mudos (Reduction of letters and art for teaching dumb people to speak)
http://bibliotecadigitalhispanica.bne.es/view/action/nmets.do?DOCCHOICE=180918.xml&dvs=1219704479871~693&locale=en_US&search_terms=&usePid1=true&usePid2=true
and
http://www.cervantesvirtual.com/servlet/SirveObras/signos/12826516449063734198624/index.htm

Johann Host von Romberch (1533) Congestorium Artificiose Memorie
http://gallica2.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k594964.r=.langEN
and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:16_103p_from_ralph_major_slide_collection.jpg

Edit: Not an documents, but there is tthis guy who writes very interesting articles:
Miles, M. 2007-08. “Disability and Deafness in East Asia: Social and Educational Responses, from Antiquity to Recent Times. A bibliography of European-language materials with introduction and some annotation.”
http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles200708.pdf
http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles200708.html

Miles, M. 2005. "Deaf People Living and Communicating in African Histories, c. 960s – 1960s.
http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles2005a.html

Miles, M. 2001. "Martin Luther and Childhood Disability in 16th Century Germany: What did he write? What did he say?" Journal of Religion, Disability & Health 5 (4) pp. 5-36
http://www.independentliving.org/docs7/miles2005b.html

Miles, M. 2000 "Signing in the Seraglio: mutes, dwarfs and jesters at the Ottoman Court 1500 - 1700" Disability & Society, 15(1) 2000, pp.115 - 134
http://www.independentliving.org/docs5/mmiles2.html

which goes together well with:
Alejandro Oviedo Los sordos en la corte turca (Siglos XVI al XX)
http://www.cultura-sorda.eu/resources/Oviedo_sordos_en_la_corte_turca_2008.pdf

The BBC has a really brief summary of the development of BSL from the 16th century. A slightly more detailed version is here

Some books that look promising:
http://snipurl.com/3jpps [books_google_com_au]
Many Ways to be Deaf
http://snipurl.com/3jppz [books_google_com_au]
A Revolution in Language
http://snipurl.com/3jpq5 [books_google_com_au]

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