Talk:Bura Sign Language

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Sourcing and reliability[edit]

The only source appears to be someone's unpublished writing, since no book, scientific journal, magazine or other reliable source is identified where it was published. If any reliable sources have covered the topic, they should be added to demonstrate that the topic satisfies notability. A "refimprove" tag was removed with the comment that the artice is adequately referenced, but I strongly disagree. Edison (talk) 02:36, 25 March 2014 (UTC)

It's the only source on the language, apart from someone like Moseley (2010) citing it as we do. The author is reputable. — kwami (talk) 04:34, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
It is someone's unpublished manuscript, and is not a reliable source. Has there been any significant coverage in a reliable source? If not it should be merged or deleted.Edison (talk) 22:21, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Answered on my talk page. Discussions should be in one place. — kwami (talk) 23:33, 25 March 2014 (UTC)


The source says the language is 'quite independent'. If he meant isolate, he would've said isolate. Obviously, he didn't want to go as far -- for whatever reason. — Lfdder (talk) 17:45, 28 March 2014 (UTC)

Sorry, I hadn’t read this before I reverted you. Let’s not start an edit war, but mention Blench’s statement in the way that seems most appropriate and correct. As you can see from my comment I think that quite independent is the stronger statement compared to genetically independent, or isolate. LiliCharlie (talk) 17:57, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
See wp:BRD – once your change has been reverted, you're generally expected not to revert again. Also, if it is our aim to 'mention Blench’s statement in the way that seems most appropriate and correct', would it not make sense to leave your interpretation of it out of the article till we've come to an agreement? It seems very unlikely to me for the author – who does not specialise in sign languages – to take the position that you say, after having come across the language by chance, not having had the opportunity to conduct a proper study, and after having consulted with Nyst. Nyst says (after she'd gone into some detail about the similarities of Bura with other sign languages of the region), 'The striking similarity between the different types of signing and gesturing in parts of West Africa points to the existence of a regional gesture system.' — Lfdder (talk) 18:59, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
No one ever pointed me to wp:BRD, and it is extremely difficult for me to remember which rules apply to which language version of Wikipedia. — It is precisely because of Nyst’s comment that I attenuated Blench’s claim of complete independence of the language. (This is also what the editors of the French article did, but this fact alone can’t be taken as a model for the English article.) LiliCharlie (talk) 19:52, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
I don't understand how Nyst's comment led you to do that. Can you explain? — Lfdder (talk) 20:35, 28 March 2014 (UTC)
Because the facts given by Blench and Nyst seem to follow the common pattern: genetically independent languages become increasingly similar through geographical proximity. —LiliCharlie (talk) 04:07, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Seems to me you're overreaching. A possibility, but nowhere to be found in the text. If they thought one is more likely than the other, they would've said as much. Also, weren't you just now talking of 'complete independence'? How is being part of a sprachbund complete independence? — Lfdder (talk) 04:46, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Complete genetic independence of the languages involved is one of the two possibilities for a sprachbund, and Blench talks about it (“It seems likely that this deaf language is quite independent” — at least in British English this means completely independent). The other possibility is a remote genetic relationship, but neither Blench nor Nyst go so far as to postulate one. As long as no genetic relationship is verified/proven it is common scientific practice not to assert its existence. In either case it is worth noting that Blench says the language is “quite independent”, and that Nyst doesn’t contest this as regards genetic relationship to other languages. LiliCharlie (talk) 06:57, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Similar to a Sprachbund: they posit that the languages emerged from a common gestural convention, not that they became more similar through contact. — kwami (talk) 07:31, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

OFF TOPIC: Funny you write Sprachbund. Do you capitalize other common nouns from German such as kindergarten, blitz and zeitgeist as well? (My mother tongue is German but I wouldn’t dream of doing so in any of the other languages written with the Latin alphabet I know.) LiliCharlie (talk) 20:56, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
"Kindergarten" is assimilated. I learned that word in, well, before kindergarten. People don't even know it's a German word. "Sprachbund", however, is unassimilated outside linguistic jargon, and it's common to capitalize it. Probably it should only be capitalized when written in italics, but I get sloppy. — kwami (talk) 08:33, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
Did you know that capitalization of German common nouns was officially introduced in the German Empire, Austria and Switzerland as late as the early 20th c., in 1901/2? The Danes abandoned common noun capitalization in 1948, and in the German speaking world it has always been a point at issue. Not even the largest German dictionary ever written, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Deutsches Wörterbuch (compiled 1834–1961; here’s an online version) capitalizes. — Besides, you’re not the only one who gets “sloppy” when they use a computer keyboard. For German it is as true as for English that a lot of people don’t capitalize anything in e-mails, chat-rooms, etc. LiliCharlie (talk) 00:22, 31 March 2014 (UTC)

No, Blench doesn't talk about it. You think he talks about it. To me, it seems that Blench simply does not go there. There's a difference between not asserting the existence of a 'genetic relationship', and asserting that the language is 'very probably an isolate'. — Lfdder (talk) 14:48, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

So let’s go with the original source and write that one view is that BSL is very likely quite independent. This is however the stronger claim, as it implies that BSL is genetically independent (aka isolate) too. LiliCharlie (talk) 20:25, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I made that change y'day. — Lfdder (talk) 20:54, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Lfdder, you’re the greatest of ’em all. ;-) —LiliCharlie (talk) 21:05, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

As for it being an isolate, we simply don't know that much about these languages. There's another one just across the border in Cameroon. Or, there might be, but speakers of the oral language have a repertoire of an estimated 1,500 conventionalized gestures, so I can't tell if the "sign language" is actually a separate language. Was the SL established in Bura village when deaf people settled there from somewhere else, bringing their language with them? Or did it evolve in situ, similar to other SLs in the area because of the shared set of gestures that hearing people use? We simply don't know. — kwami (talk) 08:38, 30 March 2014 (UTC)