Handwriting: Horseshoe Style
Gagnon et Thibeault
atg at VIDEOTRON.CA
Sun Dec 21 19:29:02 UTC 2008
Hi Sandy, Val and everyone,
Val, I will send you one page by fax today.
Sandy, You gave us an example of COFFEE. It is a wonderful idea . I
would like you to show us how to signwrite an orientation of the hand in
round without forearms. When Val posts it on the SW-list, you see my
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sandy Fleming" <sandy at scotstext.org>
To: "SignWriting List" <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Friday, December 19, 2008 3:21 PM
Subject: [sw-l] Handwriting: Horseshoe Style
> Very interesting to see that some writers speed up their SignWriting by
> missing out the bottom of the flat hand!
> For quite a long time now I've been using what I call a "horseshoe"
> style of writing, which is quite a simple idea. I just write the bottom
> two corners as a single curve: I do this in flat hands, fists and
> rectangular hands.
> See some examples in the attachment, along with arrows showing how
> they're written. I start writing at the root of the index finger, or if
> the handshape has the index finger extended, I start writing at the tip
> of the index finger. This means that I can write faster because the
> index finger and palm are all one stroke, and it gives the first stroke
> plenty of shape, so that the remaining fingers and thumb are easy to
> I also curve the line of the knuckles inward slightly. This prevents the
> palm from starting to look like a fist in fast writing by keeping the
> two corners sharp.
> This actually helps readability a bit: see how I don't need the forearms
> to write "coffee" because the orientation of the hands is clear.
> The second handshape I've written shows how to write the index, palm and
> thumb in a single stroke. Quite good for fast writing but I tend not to
> use it because the slightly-misplaced thumb can make it more difficult
> to read.
> Probably the most frustrating thing about writing SignWriting is that
> the spread hand is so difficult to write. This is a nuisance because
> it's also one of the most common handshapes in sign languages. I think
> it deserves some attention to see how to make it easier to write.
> Looking at the examples at the bottom of the attachment, I've written
> the standard form followed by a form I saw on a blackboard in a school
> photo that was posted to the list some time ago. It's the same thing but
> with smaller, more symmetrically-placed fingers. I think this does make
> it easier to write.
> After that, I've written it with horseshoe writing (though might not
> look like it if you haven't tried it!). I could just have written the
> five-sided shape with a curve at the bottom, but I prefer to think of it
> as an open fist.
> But then, I thought, if you can think of it as an open fist, why not
> think of it as an open circle handshape? Then you get the very
> recognisable and very easy to write symbol that I've written next.
> Finally, I've written a modified form where the fingers are merged into
> one W-shaped stroke. This means you can write it with only three
> strokes, but readability does suffer, especially if you write it with
> different orientations.
> I think I like the fourth one best. It really looks like a spread hand,
> which is good for readability, and is very easy to write, too.
> Sandy Fleming
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