Ethiopian Manual Alphabet(EMA)

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jul 21 11:17:21 UTC 2005

8, the picture you show is of a flat hand with the thumb to the side.  (it's under Group 5).  That shape is in the system.
11, I wish the pictures were illustrated, but the position you describe and picture is shown as the little bump.  This is the standard ASL sign for t, as you have shown.  The thumb is the little bump, there is no extra need to show the fingers separately.  The thumb sticks up between the first and second fingers, that's why it's not at the edge, but one step over.  
12, currently is not in the IMWA, I tried to come up with something that will work, it's not perfect and would need to be refined.If you look at 19, this has both the forefinnger and the middle finger touching the thumb, and I wanted some way to show the forefinger moved down onto the thumb that wasn't 19.  
If  was 19, then    could be 12.    just looked too flat to be the position shown as 19.  
13, I was surprised that this handshape was not in the current IMWA, as I would use it for "snorkel" to mime a very large face mask with air pipes sticking up.  The closest shape I found was this one, but the arc wasn't open, so I had to work off the shapes that did exist and augment them.

28, This is correct as shown, as that is the letter M in ASL.  You don't need to show the thumb under the fingers as it is assumed from the angle.  If the thumb were shown it would be sticking out to the side, which is not your handshape.  Compare that to 7 and you can see the difference.  In both, the thumb goes across and touches the little finger, only the angle of the middle three fingers has changed.
  (7) and    (28)
31. The square assumes a fist.  If one puts the index finger on top of the middle finger, the other fingers drop into place as shown.  The square is the thumb touching the other two fingers.  I was surprised when I first formed a fist, and then moved the two fingers into place, the other three relaxed into the position shown in your drawings.  It's actually quite a pretty handshape.

32. You might consider using the ASL "E" for this handshape, but in this case, the middle three fingers rest on top of the thumb while the thumb and little finger touch.  That's the closest handshape in the IMWQ.
The other shapes marked as "new G3, new G5, or new G6" do not currently exist in the computer program, but would need to be hand-drawn.  I tried my best to go through the system and choose handshapes that were currently in the IMWA and only when they did not exist did I create something new.  Valerie may, in fact, have some of them already in the system and I just didn't look diligently enough.  
As she has pointed out, to add any new handshape requires making 96 templates (48 for each hand), so we don't do them lightly, and we want to get the basic appearance right before we would upgrade the IMWA to include them.  I've tried to augment the IMWA only when a handshape has not already been included.

eyasu tamene <eyasuh at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
Dear Charles Butler,
I thank you for your generous effort you have provided me although I have a little doubt on them.   For instance, 
    *8(the thumb wouldn't let out),
    * 11(the index finger rests accross the thumb and forms 't')
    * 12(the index and middle fingers are on and top of the thumb)
    *28( the three fingers rests above the thumb)
    *31( beyond from yours in addition the small finger and the ring finger toucher the thumb together)
Infact in 32 the thumb and little finger are joined and the rest are under them inside.

One more thing Charles, I see some new signs which I couldn't find them in the sign Puddle. Would you point me where I can get them available.
Many Thanks


Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
I've done a few of the signs in the following jpeg.  Some of them I've created from current IMWA/ SW components.  See if they make sense to you.  I managed to find all but about 5 or so in the IMWA.  Number 32 I wasn't sure how to read as the drawing is unclear.

eyasu tamene <eyasuh at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
Dear Charles,
Thank you for your correction. I think it has to be the way you have suggested.


Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:
Valerie and Esayu,
Number 4 in your list, and number 6 in your list I am not sure of.
  This is the index finger on a fist.  The thumb is over the third finger (like a fist)   This is the index finger with the thumb next to the index finger (like a pistol)   This is the index finger and middle finger on a fist (thumb touches ring finger)  This is the closest variant I can find on index and middle with the thumb to the side, but it sticks out.  I'm not sure whether the shape above should have it as a "variant" or this one. Charles  .  

Valerie Sutton <sutton at> wrote:
SignWriting List
July 19, 2005

> Eyasu tamene from Ethiopia wrote:
> I have tried to sign write some of the alphabets of Ethiopians. I 
> assumed some of them are not to be found in the sign puddle. Would 
> you give your sinceare comments?

Hello Everyone and Eyasu!
This is great to see some SignWriting symbols next to the pictures, 

Are you happy with the symbols you have chosen for these hand 
positions? Do you think that other Ethiopian signers would know what 
you are writing, without the pictures? If so, then why not add those 
to your Ethiopian SignPuddle? I added your first one to the Ethiopian 
SignPuddle already, as you know, using the name U1..Have you seen 
that one in your puddle?...Was that the way you wanted it named...U1?...

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