Hello Yahya,
Nope you would be the only one that has continued this thread since I

As for idea of "saying the action, sign the manner". Many adverbs are
actually taken care of in Signed Languages using a wide range of
"non-manuals". The classic example are the "oo, mm, cha" in ASL. These
are "phonetic" descriptions of the mouth shapes they represent. If a
signer were to use this while describing stripes on a shirt, for
instance, the handshape and placement would take care of shape,
location, and actual size (two inches) of the stripes. The non-manuals
take care of subjective size (small, medium, large).

Honestly there are some ASL utterance using nothing but a few
classifiers and non-manuals that takes sentences to accurately translate
into English. It is probably one of the most efficient languages to
express spacial relationships.

Oh speaking of, Here is a link to an explanation of ASL Classifiers. The
site isn't pretty but it does go into quite a bit of detail.

The link below is a text in ASL that shows off the use of classifiers.
Basically the text is about a scientist's experiment going awry and
producing a bouncing ball that escapes. As it passes a variety of
characters they start chasing after the ball. The majority of the text
is just the different character crossing the singing space. Once all the
characters have been added you have:
The ball (spherical classifier)
boy on bike (vehicle classifier)
dog (quadrapedal classifier, also crawling or crouching)
girl on roller skates (upright person classifier, inflected for smooth
movement as apposed to walking)
old man (hunched person classifier)
bird (generic path classifier, inflected for flight)
overweight man (rotund body classifier)

I think they call them "classifiers" because they appear to cover
similar ground as spoken language classifiers. But as you can see, I
think they cover a much larger lexical area. As for the coloring of
"here". Yes ASL most definitely covers that, but I would say that it's
done more with space, than with classifiers. Classifiers describe the
object/person, the space they are placed describe whether it is here,
there to the right of here, or there.

I would actually love to just get a list of fluent signers (regardless
of which sign language) who would be interested in making a completely
signed conlang. But I would also love to support anyone working on a


On Sun, 2009-05-17 at 06:12 +1000, Yahya Abdal-Aziz wrote:
> Hi Nuno!
> Sorry, I just now read the daily digest containing this message.
> Not boring at all!  Have you had any other responses yet?
> To me, the most telling example of efficient multi-modal use
> of speech with sign is the saying "he just talked" whilst signing
> "forever".
> Surely this would be a good paradigm for a conlang?  Say the
> action, sign the manner.  No need for adverbs at all!
> How about the "contrapositive":  Sign the action, say the manner.
> Then the signs would not need to cover adverbs (or, maybe,
> adjectives.  Unless attributive adjectives were signed as verbs.)
> I learned a little Auslan ("Australian Sign language") from my kids,
> but have never seen ASL in action.  So I doubt I 'd be your ideal
> collaborator ... ;-)  Still, the ground that a _mumolang_ could cover
> would be pretty vast.  What about "steeplejacks", or high-rise
> construction workers?; surely they need ways of communicating
> at least essentials over great distances purely by sign - as some
> "yodelling" langs did, purely by pitch contour, historically for valley-
> and mountain-dwellers.  Workers in noisy environments also
> usually evolve suitable gestures for essential action.  Space-
> walking astronauts are not always able to communicate by twoway
> radio, so encounter an environmental speech disability; yet they
> may still be able to use sound conducted thru' a spacecraft hull to
> at least attract attention.
> Perhaps one can envisage a conculture in which perpetual
> noise, distance or other shared difficulty disables full speech
> communication for all, not just specifically-disabled, individuals?
> Please give me a good link for classifiers in ASL.  Do these, in any
> way, correspond to the "numeral classifiers" of Austronesian langs?
> eg Malay:
> 	"sa-orang pekerja"	one (person) worker
> 	"sa-helai kertas"	one (sheet of) paper
> 	"sa-keping kertas"	one (piece/scrap of) paper
> 	"sa-buah limau"	one (piece of) orange (fruit)
> Your examples, eg for postures (sitting vs standing) indicate they
> cover other ground.  What about the various flavours of adverbs of
> place, eg for "here": right here, here by my side, here in front of me,
> here in this general area, ... - does ASL have suitable classifiers
> for these?  Of course, your conlangs could have as many of these
> as you wanted (and, preferably, made some kind of sense).
> Regards,
> Yahya
>   _____
> Yahya Abdal-Aziz