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

Ingvild Roald iroald at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 2 11:32:04 UTC 2008

Maybe we all have to remember that we are working with *symbols*, not with lifelike *drawings*. Then it is easier to apply the rules and understand them. - I like the explanation and examples given by Val here. They make sense.


From: signwriting at
To: sw-l at
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2008 17:21:12 -0800
CC: stefanwoehrmann at
Subject: [sw-l] Animated GIFs of ISWA Hands, Group 1, 2 and 3...

SignWriting ListNovember 30, 2008
On Nov 30, 2008, at 4:25 PM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:Just a question about    01-03-011-01  IndexMiddleThumb CupI cannot understand your interpretation of the palm facing the signer but thumb, index and middlefinger on the left side  ...Just interested ...Stefan ;-)
Hello Stefan, Adam and Everyone -
Thanks for your question, Stefan...and yes...frame by frame photos will be good too - I agree!
I suspect your question is related to the differences between the Parkhurst palm facing rules and the ISWA palm facing rules, which are different...
We do write differently...but we can still read each other's writing, so that is all that matters ;-))
In the ISWA handshapes, straight fingers, or fingers that are "up", are generally on the right side of the square when your right palm is facing you, as you have already noticed I am sure...
But bent or curved or angled or hinged fingers, which are pointing forward in a group, are a different group of handshapes...they follow the "Center Rule". The "Center" of the body is the focus in the ISWA...we do not have a Thumb although it may look a little funny in the Animated GIFs, because the fingers are over on the other side, when we start to write signs it definitely is the only way that feels comfortable if you are focusing on writing signs revolving around the "Center of the Body" the natural way that we sign...

In the ISWA I was able to clean up some of the old symbols that were not consistent with this Center Rule from years past, in older software, so if we had been consistent with the Center Rule long ago, I suspect that the Parkhurst rule about thumbs may not have been necessary...but of course we cannot go back on the past and it is all ok ;-)
I am planning to write a whole chapter on this in a new book I am writing on the ISWA, but tonight I need to write a grant for getting more funds for our non-profit, so I will be happy to answer more questions about this at the end of this week...and no problem at is important to understand it...
Here is the best diagram I can show at the moment...Perhaps Adam can give you some more perspective on this...the Animated Gifs are just showing "cold" symbols, but when the symbols are used in actual writing the Center rule becomes clearer...
Please see attached diagram with examples of the sign for EAT and CLOWN...I am not sure if the sign for CLOWN is even may be a full C handshape instead or a spread-C perhaps, but this at least gives an example of what I mean by the fingers directed toward the Center of the body...

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