General Arrowhead...Both hands move on same path...

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Feb 18 00:17:08 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
February 17, 2007

Hello Stuart, Adam, Charles, Kelly and everyone -
There are so many examples where all of you have used these arrows  
properly, that it almost seems strange to have to explain it to  
you...but I am happy to do it...just a little scattered with so many  
jobs right now...I am sorry for my long silence...

I now have a new modem, and Steve has given me SignPuddle 1.5 on my  
local computer to test it. It is a great program and I am enjoying  
creating a clean database...eliminating signs that were doubled in  
the old database...and remember those old signs from SignWriter DOS  
that were loaded into the old SignPuddle as Graphics-Only? I am now  
entering them officially so they are in SWML like the other signs in  
the database, so when SignPuddle 1.5 is officially available we will  
have a cleaner ASL database to work with...

And while doing this cleaning, ironically I found lots of General- 
Arrowhead signs written perfectly correctly by all of there  
are only a few examples where people had a misunderstanding...

And I am fully aware that having a way to write BOTH Overlapping  
Movement Paths and Parallel Movement Paths, would be really great...I  
just want to explain why the General Arrowhead means Overlapping  
Movement Paths...It goes back to the basic theories in Sutton  
Movement Writing...the idea that our limbs paint lines in  
it was not based on linguistics, but based on writing general human  
movement...and legs do this when you are writing  
handstands and your legs are moving together as one...ha! Acrobats  
would love to know this ;-))

I believe that we can find a way to write Parallel Paths too...but I  
would like to make a small differentiation between parallel and  
overlapping because there are lots of times when we really need the  

I know I said this before, but once again, I will post an example  
next message!

Val ;-)

On Feb 14, 2007, at 1:35 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:

> I have similar questions as Adam. I have one other ... Could you  
> give us an example where this distinction would help us tell the  
> difference between signs? I too thought it just meant that two  
> hands moved the same while contacting. So for the sign CONTINUE, I  
> would have thought that was written right. I guess I am trying to  
> understand the benefit of the extra distinction? I thought it was  
> helpful to eliminate the redundancy of two arrows when the movement  
> information is the same. I have always been tempted by the idea of  
> using the general arrow in every case where the movement is the  
> exact same for both hands (parallel movement) because in those  
> cases, it seemed unnecessary to write 2 arrows when the movements  
> are parallel and identical (like the ASL signs WAY, CONTINUE,  
> YOUNG, GO-AHEAD, GO, etc.). Just trying to understand better.  
> Comparison and contrast help me understand the "why". :)
> Thanks,
> Stuart
> On Feb 14, 2007, at 15:16, Adam Frost wrote:
>> Wow! I did not know that I misunderstood that rule. I thought that  
>> the
>> general arrowhead was for when both hands move together as a unit.
>> (Probably like many others. Smile.) Now I think understand what the
>> rule mean. You said it is for when you would have two arrow
>> overlapping. So for the sign continue, the path (black and white
>> arrows) for each hand do not over lap, so the general arrowhead is  
>> not
>> used. Now my question is if you were to write continue from the side
>> view (purely hypertheotical of course), then the general arrow would
>> be used? And would that still be correct if the two hands were not
>> touching (ie as in the sign for way)? Just trying to see if I
>> understand this rule correctly. :-)
>> Adam
>> On 2/14/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at> wrote:
>>> SignWriting List
>>> February 14, 2007
>>> The General Arrowhead
>>> The Movement Path of the right hand, writes on top of the Movement
>>> Path of the left hand, creating a blend of the two arrows. This
>>> creates a General Arrowhead. The blended arrow is neither right nor
>>> is both.
>>> Imagine placing your right hand in a can of black paint. It is now
>>> dripping with black paint.
>>> Imagine placing your left hand in a can of white paint. It is not
>>> dripping with white paint.
>>> Your two hands move in space. As they move, they paint Movement  
>>> Paths
>>> in space. The left hand paints white Movement Paths. The right hand
>>> paints black Movement Paths.
>>> But what happens when the Right Movement Path paints on top of the
>>> Left Movement Path?
>>> In those cases, you write a General Arrowhead.
>>> The General Arrowhead never meant Parallel Paths. It always meant
>>> Blended Paths. There is a difference.
>>> I can show you examples later today....Unfortunately I have to go to
>>> an appointment again and must run!
>>> Talk to you all later -
>>> Val ;-)

More information about the Sw-l mailing list