Animated GIFs of ISWA Hands, Group 1, 2 and 3...

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Mon Dec 1 02:22:24 UTC 2008

SignWriting List
November 30, 2008

Hi Adam and Stefan -
Thanks for your message below....

You can see I would much rather talk about handshapes than write the  
grant...but I am getting to the writing soon! ;-)) We all need the  
money...;-) are some more examples of white palm handshapes with the  
fingers directed toward the Center of the is necessary to  
show the relationship between hands, body and it is  
applying these symbols to actually writing signs, that shows why they  
are designed the way they are...I always had trouble explaining the  
reason for this, until finally the Center Rule made it clear why  
intuitively the center direction feels better...signers rarely twist  
their fingers to point to the outside of the body...

For example, the sign for ALLIGATOR...the left hand has to have the  
fingers going into the Center so it can contact the other hand's  


On Nov 30, 2008, at 5:43 PM, Adam Frost wrote:

> I agree. When I looked at your example of CLOWN, it made it clear  
> that it would be horrible to try it that way. It would be impossible  
> to know what the symbol really meant as one of the fingers would  
> just loop back to the square.
> Stefan, you aren't the first person that has asked me about that  
> similar thing. I think that a large reason that it is a reoccurring  
> question is because it is not a frequent enough thing that happens  
> in Sign Languages. It is also something that doesn't seem to follow  
> the same theme that the other handshapes show. I guess it is just  
> one of those exceptions that just needs to be memorized, or people  
> just need to remember that these symbols all follow the "center of  
> body" rule. Either way, it is still a learning process for us all. ;-)
> Adam
> On Nov 30, 2008, at 5:31 PM, Valerie Sutton wrote:
>> On Nov 30, 2008, at 5:24 PM, Adam Frost wrote:
>>> I guess the only other way would be to have the fingers on the  
>>> right side of the symbol curving to the left, but it look very odd  
>>> to see that. ;-)
>>> Adam
>> It would be impossible in fact, because the curved thumb would  
>> write on top of the square for the fist, and it would be very hard  
>> to show the curve...believe me...I tried it!
>> No. The Center of the Body rule works beautifully and gives the  
>> feeling of the fingertips of all three fingers "relating to each  
>> other"... they need to be seen in a curve where the fingers relate  
>> to each other in a formation that the reader's eye picks up on fast  
>> while reading...
>> Val ;-)

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