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(in continuation to my previous email)

Or the situation could be a planet with only a spoken language and no
writing system. Then for some reason, one day everyone becomes deaf (without
warning; so they were not prepare). At first they would have to mime more
and make 'transparent' signs. Maybe they would start by meeting and pointing
or mimicking things and give them a word to start building a basic common
vocabulary. How long do you think it would take before they get to something
similar to our natural sign languages? 

-Mathieu

-----Message d'origine-----
De : Mathieu Roy [mailto:[log in to unmask]] 
Envoyé : lundi 21 janvier 2013 18:43
À : 'Constructed Languages List'
Objet : RE: Hypothetical situation (RE: logical language VS not-so-logical
language (was RE: Loglan[g] VS Natlang))


Georges: <<It would probably be easier to learn *to read* Chinese if it
used an alphabetic script, but that doesn't affect how easy or hard it is
to learn to speak.  Reading and writing are different skill from speaking
and listening.>>
But it is easier to learn how to pronounce words when you read
phonological text, so your speaking is also improving faster by reading a
phonological alphabet. But I understand what you're saying. 

Georges: <<I do see your point, however, on how switching modalities would
cause some problems in learning a new language.  Would these hypothetical
ASL-only humans have difficulty with a spoken language?  I don't know.  To
some extent, I think it may be a moot point -- hearing humans who only
speak a sign language is highly unlikely.  In fact, considering that I
have only heard of sign languages arising where there are significant
numbers of Deaf individuals, it may well be that humans default to using
spoken languages when possible, probably because of the inherent
advantages of auditory communication (you don't have to be facing the
speaker, for example -- and it can be understood over longer distances).>>
Can't sign language communicate over longer distance than spoken language?
Well, maybe not in a dense forest. Anyway, I also wonder why we end up
speaking with the mouth and not with the arms; maybe it's because we
needed to use our arms more often than our mouth for non-language relating
things. But that makes me think... (see point below)

Another hypothetical situation could be the opposite. 1000 people that
have a spoken language and that get a virus that will make all of them
deaf in 30 days, so they decide to create a sign language. How would that
end up? We could actually do this experiment in real life with let's say
50 people (which might have results different than with 1000 people) and
then after 30 days we cover there ears so they cannot hear and let them
start communicating only with signs (and consciously or unconsciously
trying to improve the language) for another 30 days. However, we would
need very committed people, and these would probably be people more
interested in languages than the average person, so the results might be a
little bit bias there, but that would still be interesting IMO. In fact,
we could do that on an ever smaller scale for entertaining purpose: let's
say 5 people (that don't know any signs language) meeting for 10 days (5
days to create a language and 5 days speaking it). Who wants to do that
with me? :)

-Mathieu