question on SSS

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Mon Apr 2 23:28:09 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
April 2, 2007

Hello Anny and Steve and Adam!
Thanks for the question, Anny, and a special thanks to Steve, for  
programming this amazing new program that allows us to place our  
signs in sequence, so we can sort dictionaries by the symbols of  

And thanks, Adam, for explaining it so did a good job  
explaining a very hard subject...

We are fortunate, because although we already had this ability in  
SignBank, the process used to be very slow, but now with Steve's  
wonderful new feature in SignPuddle 1.5, we can place the signs in  
the proper SignSpelling Sequence much faster, and can then import the  
signs quickly into SignBank, to print large dictionaries sorted by  

The past month has been an amazing month, regarding the placing of  
signs in sequence...

Because of SignPuddle 1.5, I finally placed around 1,844 signs into  
SignSpelling Sequence in SignPuddle 1.5. Right now, Anny, if you open  
the ASL Dictionary in SignPuddle 1.5 on the web, you will find those  
1,844 signs there...all with the SignSpellings listed beside each  
sign. They are mixed up with other signs that have not been completed  
yet, which means it may seem hard to find them, but you can see when  
a sign has received its SignSpelling Sequence, because it will look  
something like this, with the SignSpelling Sequence in grey to the  
right of the sign:

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And you can learn how to place a sign into SignSpelling Sequence in  
this video instruction:

See Video 16 & Video 20 on this page:

When you click on the button SignSpelling Sequence, you will see a  
list of all the symbols that appear in the sign, but then you have to  
place them into sequence so that the dictionary will be able to sort  
them later, by sign-symbols...

When dictionaries are sorted in spoken languages, like French or  
English...there are two sequences involved...

1. The words themselves have a Spelling in the  
English word HOUSE...the Spelling Sequence of the word HOUSE is H O U  
S E.

2. Once all the words have a Spelling Sequence established, then  
those spelled-words are placed in the order of the English or French  
alphabets...(called alphabetization)

So there are actually two sequences involved when sorting any  

1. Spelling Sequence
2. Symbol Sequence (alphabetization in English)

In SignWriting it is the same. We have a:

1. SignSpelling Sequence
2. Sign-Symbol-Sequence (equivalent to alphabetization in English but  
for sign-symbols)

The Sign-Symbol-Sequence (SSS) is the IMWA. It is the sequence of the  
symbols in the IMWA. That is already established and you do not have  
to do anything about that...Steve has that programmed in SignPuddle  
1.5, and Todd has it programmed in SignBank.

But the order of the symbols within one sign is called a  
SignSpelling, and that has to be established by the writer of the  
sign right now. SignSpellings will slowly, in time, become  
standardized, but right now we are all deciding what SignSpelling is  
best, so we have this flexible tool to do our best with  
SignSpellings. Once we establish the SignSpelling for a sign, it will  
sort by SSS.

There are still small issues I am resolving and I am now writing a  
new book called "SignSpelling Guidelines 2007" which will explain  
what I learned through this recent experience...

But no matter what, the reason we can discuss this so fully now, is  
because of the faster entry of the thanks once  
again for this feature in the new SignPuddle 1.5!

If you want to wait for me to post the new SignSpelling Guidelines  
2007 book, that might be less overwhelming for you, but I can  
generally tell you that we have learned that the following sequence  
seems to feel right:

1. dominant hand
2. non-dominant hand
3. movement dominant hand
4. movement non-dominant hand
5. movement dynamics
6. movement timing
7. head movement
8. facial expressions (only if they are required for the meaning of  
the sign)
9. head location
10. body location

There are many details involved with this than just the list above,  
so that is why a new book is needed to explain and show examples why...

That is coming!

It is a new era now, because we all will be searching through large  
dictionaries to find signs out of thousands of signs, sorted by  
symbols, and that is a new experience to learn how to find those  
signs easily and logically...

And I look forward to sharing this with you later...

Val ;-)


On Apr 2, 2007, at 3:07 PM, Steve Slevinski wrote:

> Hi Anny,
> The SignSpelling Sequence is for sorting signs in a dictionary.   
> There is a 2004 document that needs to be updated.  The 2007  
> version is under construction.
> For SignPuddle 1.5, the results on the Search by Signs page are  
> sorted using the SignSpelling Sequence, if available.
> The SignPuddle 1.5 export includes the SignSpelling Sequence data.   
> This data can be easily imported into SignBank.  SignBank uses the  
> SignSpelling Sequence for printing dictionaries.
> -Steve
> Anne-Claude Prélaz Girod wrote:
>> Dear Val
>> could you explain to me what SignSpelling Sequence should be used  
>> for ?
>> I've never used it and don't know how I should use it and what for
>> thanks for your help
>> Anny
>> Anne-Claude Prélaz Girod
>> ruelle des chambres chaudes 1
>> 1271 Givrins
>> Tel ++41/22.362.52.37
>> Fax ++41/22.362.52.66
>> mail: acpg at

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