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In one of those moments of "why didn't I notice this before," here is an extract from:
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. 1717. "Signa Secundum Ordinem Cisterciensem" In: Collectanea etymologica (Hanover); pp. 384–408

According to page 70 of Wilhelm Wundt's The Language of Gesture, (Walter de Gruyter):

"Leibniz left us two volumes cataloguing the Cistercian gestures: a Latin one with no indication of its origin, and a Low German one from the former monastery of Lockum (Loccum, in Lower Saxony, founded in 1163). The Latin register counts 143 examples, the Lockum one 145 examples of gestures."

I've never tried to translate Low German before, so we'll see how I go... I think the answer is 'not very well' - if anyone can suggest resources I could refer to, it'd be appreciated!

Updated, now with extra [personal profile] catsidhe-added goodness!
Signs no. 1-26 )

The only hint I've found for Dünningen comes from the 1650 Lettisches und Teutsches Wörterbuch, which has die Schläffe, dünningen., which may be schlaff of saggy, loose, limp, flaccid... or die Schläfen, the temples (on the head). I think it's temple.
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Following a footnote on p. 170 of Silence and Sign Language in Medieval Monasticism: The Cluniac Tradition c.900-1200, there is a sign-list that (so the machine translated text says) is 'a vocabulary of signs carried through the Cistercian Order from the beginning of its' establishment and renewed by de Rancé during the Trappist reform.'

According to Wikipedia, Armand Jean le Bouthillier de Rancé joined La Trappe Abbey in the 1660s, so at the latest it's apparently a 17th century French list.

The book is: Louis Du Bois. 1824. Histoire civile, religieuse et littéraire de l'abbaye de La Trappe., it's available to download on GoogleBooks and the sign list is pages 248-258. I don't know French, so I have no idea if the text has been 'modernised' (to 19th century French) or not.


Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:10 am
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Don't think I've linked to these before...

Bragg, Louis "Visual-Kinetic Communication in Europe Before 1600: A Survey of Sign Lexicons and Finger Alphabets Prior to the Rise of Deaf Education" Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education (2)1, 1997 1-25 [PDF]

Conde-Silvestre, Juan C. "The Code and Context of Monasteriales Indicia: A Semiotic Analysis of Late Anglo-Saxon Monastic Sign Language" Studia Anglia Posnaniensia (36) 2001 145-169 [PDF]

Schmitt, Jean-Claude "The rationale of gestures in the West: third to thirteenth centuries" in Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg [eds.] A Cultural History of Gesture (Cornell University Press, 1992) 59-70 [PDF]
The contents page is pretty sexy too [PDF] might track down a paper copy if I can.
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In "Horrible Histories: The Stormin' Normans" by Terry Deary (thanks [ profile] laurenmitchell!) there is a bit about sign language and monks.


St. Bernard of Clairvaux* was horrified by what he saw at Canterbury...

As to the dishes and number of them -- what shall I say?
I have often heard sixteen or more costly dishes were placed on the table. Many kinds of fish (roast and boiled, stuffed and fried) many dishes created with eggs and pepper by skillful cooks and so on! The meal was washed down with wine, claret, mead and all drinks that can make a man drunk. The rule of silence did not prevent monks from showing their pleasure with signs that made them look more like jesters or clowns than monks. They were all waving with fingers, hands and arms and whistling to one another instead of speaking.

*Later on, St. Bernard is described as being such a devout monk that he gave all of his possessions away, including 'his name to a dog'. Great joke, but it's not true! The dog is named after St. Bernard of Menthon. :)
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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.


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
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Juan C. Conde-Silvestre, (2001) The code and context of Monasteriales Indicia: a semiotic analysis of late Anglo-Saxon monastic sign language Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 36 pp. 145-169
Naturally I find the free online version after tracking down the physical journal.

David Sherlock (1989) "Anglo-Saxon monastic sign language at Christchuch, Canterbury", Archaeologia Cantiana 107: 1-27.
I'll be visiting at the state library next week! So exciting!

P Ekman (1969) "The repertoire of non-verbal communication: Categories, origins, usage and coding", Semiotica 1: 49-98.
Is at my uni library, so I'll look at it later this week.

Oh, and can anyone explain why my bone belt buckle made it through quarantine without any comment, but my sewing shears were inspected? I would have thought it the other way around.
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F. Kluge (1885) "Zur Geschichte der Zeichensprache. Angelsächsische Indicia Monasterialia" in Internationale Zeitschrift für allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (2) 117-140

Is available as one of the articles in the Internet Archive scan of the journal.

The first part is about the Monasteriales Indicia, with the Old English transcribed and translated into modern German. Generally, all later translations follow Kluge's numbering system.
The second part is the grammar, since that's what Kluge seems to have spent most of his research on (judging by other articles he has written.)
The third is the Syon monastery sign list.
The fourth part is an English summary, which is interesting, but there is much better modern scholarship available,

There is also contemporary commentary about Kluge's article in:
Willem S. Logemann,(1889) "Zu den Indicia Monasterialia." Englische Studien 12, 305-307.
Once again, the Internet Archive comes to the rescue, here.

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Fray Melchor de Yebra, (1593) 'Refugium Infirmorum'

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, has a lot of history articles:

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)

Johann Host von Romberch (1533) Congestorium Artificiose Memorie

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.”

Miles, M. 2005. "Deaf People Living and Communicating in African Histories, c. 960s – 1960s.

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

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

which goes together well with:
Alejandro Oviedo Los sordos en la corte turca (Siglos XVI al XX)

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: [books_google_com_au]
Many Ways to be Deaf [books_google_com_au]
A Revolution in Language [books_google_com_au]
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Some very cool articles, by Professor Laura-Ann Petitto about the development of sign language in babies. Especially the development of handshapes considered to be 'babbling'.

[ profile] mr_bassman and [ profile] mrsbrown, did your little one 'babble' in Auslan? Any other readers have bi-lingual sign babblers?
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There are now two English translations of the Signa Loquendi, translated from Walter Jarecki's Latin transcription. (Which I can't afford, and doesn't seem to be available in the country.)

The first is just the foods, in
Kirk Ambrose (2006) "A Medieval Food List from the Monastery of Cluny" Gastronomica 6 14–20 Abstract here

The second is the entire list, in Scott G. Bruce (2007) Silence and Sign Language in Medieval Monasticism (Cambridge: CUP)

It also appears in his Doctoral Thesis
Scott Gordon Bruce, (2000). Uttering no human sound: Silence and sign language in western medieval monasticism. (Ann Arbor, Mich. : U.M.I. 2000)

along with his own translations of the Fleury, Canterbury and Hirsau lists, which don't appear to have made it into his book.

There is an Italian translation as well, in
Mario Penna (1987) "I "Signa Loquendi" Cisterciensi in un Codice della Bibliotheca National di Madrid" in (J Umiker-Seboek and TA Sebeok eds) Monastic sign languages. (Approaches to Semiotics; 76) New York: Mouton de Gruyter pp. 495-532
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Nonverbal communication : where nature meets culture ISBN: 0805821791
At Melbourne uni

Conde-Silvestre, Juan C. (2001). The code and context of monasteriales indicia: a semiotic analysis of late Anglo-Saxon monastic sign language. In: Studia Anglica Posnaniensia 36 (2001) - pp. 145-169 downloaded from uni.

Benedictine roots in the development of deaf education
At Melbourne uni

Kendon, Adam (1990). Signs in the cloister and elsewhere. In: Semiotica 79: 3/4 (1990) - pp. 307-329
Pretty sure this is at La Trobe

I need to cross-reference this with my bibliography of doom, since I can't remember if I've seen these articles and books before.

I also want to look at contemporary satires of monks, since the phrase that sticks in my head from one was that the monks were 'screaming with their hands.' A little bit on monk satire here and here. A 13th century monks' diet.

And just to top off the randomness of this post, a 15th century inscription from a book of hours:

Susan Groag Bell "Medieval Women Book Owners: Arbiters of Lay Piety and Ambassadors of Culture"
Signs, Vol. 7, No. 4. (Summer, 1982), pp. 742-768.

This boke is myne, Eleanor Worchester
An I yt lose, and yow yt fynd
I pray yow hartely to be so kynd
That yow wel take a letyl payne
To se my boke is brothe home agayne.

The British Museum has some of the book of hours this is from online.
pearl: Black and white outline of a toadstool with paint splatters. (Default)
to deaf karaoke on Saturday night??

It's $15, in Northcote, and there might be ABBA songs.

And for all of the Melbourne SCA folk, is this the same Asphyxia that was involved with the SCA a few years ago?

PS. I think you need to book, so I'm sorry for the late notice.


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