hand shapes and "new" or "old" spellingrules

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GOOGLEMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 2 23:00:13 UTC 2008

Hello Valerie, and sw-list friends, ... 


I am following this discussion about the “rules”   with mixed feelings. 


Valerie wrote ... 


“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 ;-)  “ 



What would happen in the classroom – smile – just imagine a group of people
who started to learn your Sutton SignWriting notation back in the 70th  as
well as people who started 10 years ago or some who started 5 years ago and
some who started 1 year ago ... 


I understand that all of us have an incredible different personal biography
– some of this group remember the time without any software – so they
started to write by hand and what they wrote showed the receptive
perspective. Some of us remember the times when Richard Gleaves created in
collaboration with Valerie this  wonderfull DOS – based SignWriter – program
( For several weeks we discussed printing – problems – smile, and so many
how to – questions) –- Oversudden we felt trapped because Microsoft Windows
changed from Win 98 to Windows XP and no DOS-Programm seemed to be
functioning any longer. .We got the new SignWriter Python program thanks to
Lars  ... And then another aera started with the inginious SignPuddle and
SignText software of Steve ..and I bet there is much more to mention as you
know ( SignBank, IMWA, E-lessons, .... 


I had not been part of the group when you gave your OK to change the
perspective and to write from now on from the expressive point of view. I am
interested – do you know of any discussion – I mean did you answer questions
and doubts fom SignWriting-friends who felt uncomfortable, who did not
agree, who felt disturbed ... ? Did some people show anger or did they
express feelings of iritation??   


Obviously this decision does not cause any problems  today. Everybody seems
to agree with that. 


Just curious – perhaps some years later all scribes agree to write SW in
columns  and smile at dinosaurs who kept on writing from left to right?? 


But there are other aspects that ask for acceptance or need to be clarified
... And – I do not know why – but it seems as if this kind of discussion
makes us somehow sensitive and vulnarable.   


I guess that all notation – systems that are widely spread and that are used
by many readers and writers have to face a process of change – and nothing
is bad about that. 


Same with SignWriting?  Well – some spelling-violations in full knowledge of
the “official rule” may become an issue in such a discussion.  In the past
two years again and again some people suggested to change this or that or to
establish another  rule ... 


Hi Valerie – you know about my learning – biographie – and yes years ago I
liked this concept as taught in the wonderfull “Signo Escritura”  book a
lot. And since that time we happen to discuss this same problem again and
again. And you keep trying to explain   this “Center rule” but looking at my
hands and fingers – specially if you follow a given sequence ( index – hand,
V- Hand, three- hand, three-claw – hand) my brain refuses to accept a
spelling that forces my right thumb to appear on the left side of the square
– mh – 


I understand that this visualisation is part of a misconception that I do
not keep in mind 10-palmfacing – options and that I vote for a different
option – compared to you. 


Well – of course you would be able to read and understand my writing of a
table-tennis ball in the right three fingers claw-hand – smile – But
nevertheless it would look somehow “wrong” to you. 

Same is true vice-versa. Looking at some of the handshapes that are “forced”
to follow the “Center –rule” – I  simply feel uncomfortable .. . Obviously
some other people like or accept this presentation .. Years ago you
encouraged us to write what we see. We took fotos and draw in thick lines
handshapes and fingers – smile - 


This procedure would not work for the “few critical”  “center rule” hand
shapes. So from this perspective we would have to ignore or even violate the
other rule “write what you see” 


Charles – you show up with an interesting solution – just stick to the
simple hand-shapes. This would avoid to deal with Center-rule conflicts
smile. On the other hand – What has been wrong with the “thumb- rule” –
since this provided a coherent concept throughout all handshapes you may
think of – I would be very much interested to read any comment of Steve
Parkhurst and others – 


Another option would be to say 


... if we had been consistent with the “thumbs rule “  long ago, I suspect
that the discussion about how to symbolize bent fingers would not have been
necessary...but of course we can discuss everything and it is all ok ;-)  


All the best 









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