LINGUIST List 8.1471

Sun Oct 12 1997

Qs: Deaf Issues,Mexican Lang,English/Japan

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>

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  1. hthumann, Children of deaf adults
  2. Sarah G. Thomason, query: 2 Mexican languages, #1 borrows, #2 doesn't
  3.>, Question: English Signs in Japan

Message 1: Children of deaf adults

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 17:28:41 -0700
From: hthumann <>
Subject: Children of deaf adults

I am a doctoral student at San Francisco State University. I am doing
a literature reveiw on information related to language development of
hearing children with deaf parents. If you have specific information
related to this topic that you feel may be helpful, please contact me.

I am specifically interested in how language development in children
with deaf parents varies from that of hearing children with hearing
parents. I do have a copy of the National Information Center on
Deafness bibiliography from 1996 on this topic, but am looking for
things that may have been published since that bibliography came out
or that are not on that bibliography.

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Message 2: query: 2 Mexican languages, #1 borrows, #2 doesn't

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 10:45:31 -0400
From: Sarah G. Thomason <>
Subject: query: 2 Mexican languages, #1 borrows, #2 doesn't

 I hope someone with a better memory than mine can fill in the
details for this example. I am reasonably sure that I saw the case
described in print, but I can't remember where and can't even think
where to start looking. There are, somewhere in Mexico, two Indian
languages -- I *think* they are closely related or even dialects of
the same language -- located at some distance from each other. One is
near a new highway, and is therefore in closer contact with Spanish
speakers than the other, which is spoken in a village remote from
Spanish-speaking centers. The remote language has borrowed many more
words from Spanish than has the language spoken near the major

 Can anyone tell me what & where the languages/dialects are? And
whether my recollection of the case is accurate? And maybe a
reference, if I'm right about the case being in print?

 Sally Thomason
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Message 3: Question: English Signs in Japan

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 01:08:00 +0900
From:> <>
Subject: Question: English Signs in Japan

I'm writing this message to ask you all for help for my research on
English signs found in Japan. I'm surprised to find many signs which
look/sound odd, and sometimes might potentially cause
misunderstandings, to native-speakers of English. As you must have
noticed already, I'm not a native speaker of English, and I'm having
hard time figuring out which signs are odd or not-understandable.

I'd like to have a lot of native responses on the following signs,
which have been actually collected in Tokyo in these 3 months. The
place where each sign was seen is indicated in the parenthesis
following the sign. I'd appreciate it if you could give me an answer
such as a) mostly fine, b) understandable, but odd, or 3)
not-understandable, as well as, why it is odd and what kind of
interpretation you have gotten. If you think the sign is
understandable but a bit odd, what could it be the way you would write
the same message in the form of a sign? I have also written specific
questions below each sign.

 This desk is for pedestrians.
 It is prohibited to canvass,
 sell or distribute anything." (in front of a train station)

If we change "pedestrians" into "passers-by", would this sign become
better? Would "pedestrians" need a "desk"?

2."Hazardous articles prohibited." (at a train station)
Can "hazardous articles" also include matches, ammunition, and 
volatile oile, as well as knives, guns and bombs?

3. "Please be mindful of how you hold your bag on a crowded train." 
(in a train)
Is it common to find this kind of sign in a train in your country?

We are sorry to inform you that due to traffic inconvenience
 Bus No.26 will not pass by 
 Kaigandori during Saturdays,
 Sundays and Holidays. In 
 stead take Kenchodori. 
 Traffic Bureau, City of Yokohama" (at a bus terminal) 

Is "by" necessary to indicate that the bus takes another route
(Kaigandori)? "Instead, take Kenchodori" doesn't seem to mean that
the bus in question is going to make stops on Ave. Kenchodori, but it
rather gives me an impression that the sign is suggesting an

5."SILVER SEAT: Please vacate this seat for elderly and handicapped
persons" (in a train) Does "silver seat" mean a special seat reserved
for elderly and disabled persons? I also heard that it is more
appropriate to use the word "disabled" than "handicapped". Is this
true? If so, could you tell me why?

 Please put litter in the provided garbage facilities.
 Please take care of the park's facilities and greenery.
 Catch, baseball, fireworks and other dangerous games are not 
 Please be quiet between late evening and early morning.
 This park is for everyone who are using it. 
 Please respect others." (in a park)

I hope these questions were not such a bother to you. I really needed
a lot of help from you. Thank you very much.

Mami Ozeki

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