linguistics opinionated opinion, sign languages 

Since we’re bashing linguistics today:

The more I learn about linguistics the more baffled I become that "at least one sign language" isn't a mandatory subject for all linguists from, like, undergrad year 1, and all skill paths like phon/phon, morphology, prag etc. aren't studied from the start using both sign and voice as first-class objects of study for contrast and comparison.

I mean I maintain that
widespread acquisition of sign languages by children of the general population – the way Australian Aboriginal and other peoples did it – would have a ton of advantages not just for inclusion, which would already be worthy the effort ofc, but for everybody else too; but, come on, us linguists? There's 2 fundamental types of human language and we base all our models and conclusions on 1?

It's as if you're training chemists and on first semester somebody briefly flashes them a periodic table for a minute and says "yeah so there are 3 types of elements, metals, metalloids and nonmetals. From now on we're going to focus on metals." And most of them, for their whole career, never think about silicon or sulphur again. They try to learn everything about bonding and reactions and molecule structure etc. using metals as the sole subject 99% of the time. Sometimes somebody who took the 8th-semester optional subject "General Introduction to the Most Common Nonmetal In This Area I" (where they do a crash run over reactions, molecules etc. now with 1 single nonmetal added into the mix) will point out "oh, actually hydrogen does not behave like that", then everybody else gets annoyed at this arrogant interrupty person who keeps bringing these weird nonmetal complications into the stuff they're already finding it hard to follow with metals only.

Putting my effort where my mouth is and my hand will soon be: anybody wants to learn Deutsche Gebärdensprache with me please send a note, I'm serious o/ maybe we could start with fingerspelling over jitsi or s/t :)


re: linguistics opinionated opinion, sign languages 

Instead of darned Latin and whatnot what I will put in a linguistics course when they finally elect me Linguistics Tsarina For Life:

- No "introduction to sign languages" subject. Instead, all normal subjects (phonetics, syntax etc.) use both voice and sign as examples. What is analogous, what is different?

- A course-long track on the most used sign language of the area.

- A course-long track on the nearest endangered/minority language. The fewer speakers, the more linguists should be learning _that_ rather than the Big 5 etc. Ideally a non-IE language, but if there's an endangered IE language/dialect nearby, the human interest trumps the scientific interest.

- Substitute "non-indo-european language I" by like two or three semesters on typology. Treat IE languages as no more no less than all other families in it. Creole languages should be studied as a category (and the problems with that) at some point, either inside the typology track or as distinct subjects.

- Writing systems as an optional subject is something I actually had and found tremendously enlightening. Beware Western prejudices on complex writing systems tho, these are still rampant in textbooks. Search non-Western authors in their own languages on the topic (collaborate with other depts for wider linguistic reach, don't live in the Anglosphere all the time).

re: linguistics opinionated opinion, sign languages 

@enum totally but that would put so many influential ppl out of a job that even as a tsarina I won't do it right away x3

instead I will use the Trojan horse proposed by Haspelmath:

> The best syntax class is a field methods course, and the second best syntax class is a typology course.

̧…train enough young linguists in fieldwork and typology, and the problem will solve itself 😌

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