Summary of writing steps for SignWriting
sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Fri Oct 7 17:51:29 UTC 2005
See comments below ...
On Oct 7, 2005, at 11:06, Bill Reese wrote:
> I don't see mention of facial symbols.
I tend to group facial expressions, body shifts, etc. into a category
that I call "non-manual markers." When we get into phrases, sentences,
etc., there are more influences from the non-manuals that need to be
considered. This is especially true for situations where a facial
expression or body shift or head shift will continue over a phrase or
sentence. I guess my approach is to start with the lexical item and
then consider its context and apply the necessary non-manuals. In some
cases, I might apply the non-manuals earlier if they are a part of the
anchor (like facial expressions to the head symbol, etc.). I assume
that with fluency and habit, this process may not be rigorously
followed, but I think some process is needed for instructional
> Also, locations left and right of an "anchor" seems to imply an anchor
> that is centrally placed. Since most signs are done at chest level,
> perhaps, for purposes of writing a sign, the spatial anchor would be
> the center of the chest, corresponding to the center of the sign frame
> space. Even if the sign has an anchor on a location of the body, that
> location, in turn, needs to be anchored, thus making the center of the
> chest a convenient reference point. Maybe this is too simplistic,
> but it would give a standard reference point that would be readily
This is true. However, if I was signing my name, my anchor is actually
the dominant side of my head. If I were signing the old ASL sign for
Russia, my anchor is actually my hips. So that was why I mentioned both
neutral space (near the central region of the chest) and/or a specific
location on the body for the anchor.
> My first reaction, though, was that after a period of time, we
> progress beyond the construction of the sign by it's individual
> symbols to just the sign itself and, further, to phrases and
> sentences. At that point, we may not be constructing a written sign
> based on the recording of an observed sign but more on rote
> memorization of written signs accepted as standard. In which case,
> the writing of the sign may very well take on a type of construction
> that's very close to what you have listed but in a standardized
> manner. Perhaps Valerie's pronunciation rules could be used here.
Agreed. The purpose of my description is to help people who believe it
is impossible to write a sign or who want to learn how to write a sign
to see how to break down the steps. Once they see how a sign can be
broken down and written, then they may be more willing to go the next
step to learn how to write it. I just want to be sure that I am
following a good process for writing it down. If you all have a
different process, I am interested to learn it because maybe my process
needs refining or maybe like Perl programmers say, "TMTOWTDI" (There's
More Than One Way To Do It). If I teach my process and a student
doesn't get it, maybe another process will help them.
> Stuart Thiessen wrote:
>> I was just looking for a way to describe in basic, simple terms how
>> we move from a sign we see to a sign we write. Any feedback on these
>> steps as a way to describe this process? It would be much
>> appreciated. I came up with these steps. I am not sure about the
>> timing of #6, but I just put it there for now. I wanted to think of a
>> way to help people visualize the process. This is what I catch myself
>> doing. What about you all?
>> 1. Identify the sign’s “anchor.” This could be neutral space in front
>> of the body or it could be some location on the body.
>> 2. If hands are involved (we should never assume always), we need to
>> identify the handshape(s) and orientation(s) and select the
>> corresponding symbol(s), placing the symbol(s) in 2D relationship to
>> the anchor.
>> 3. If the hand(s) contact the body or each other, we need to select
>> the appropriate contact symbol to represent the contact.
>> 4. Unless the sign is stationary or only consisting of simple
>> contact, we now look to identify the movement of the hand(s) and
>> select the appropriate movement symbol(s).
>> 5. If the hand(s) change to another handshape(s) during the movement,
>> we select those handshape(s) and note their location(s).
>> 6. Finally, we note any particular dynamics (fast, slow, tense, etc.)
>> and any non-manual markers that are essential to the sign.
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