Handwriting: Val's Shorthand Suggestions

Gagnon et Thibeault atg at VIDEOTRON.CA
Tue Dec 23 02:58:09 UTC 2008

Hi Sandy and everyone,

    Sandy, thank you for sharing a SW shorthand with us.  This shorthand is 
good for College or University level for professional works and some people 
who are hobbies to write it.  I encourage you to develop a SW shorthand 
instruction with Val and Adam.  I am sure that some people will enjoy 
learning it by email.   It is nice that there are two types of writing by 
hand :  a handwriting instruction for children and adults too , and a 
shorthand instruction for adults.and professional works.

    I enjoy reading your elephant story.

    Hand waving

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sandy Fleming" <sandy at scotstext.org>
To: "SignWriting List" <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2008 2:56 PM
Subject: [sw-l] Handwriting: Val's Shorthand Suggestions

> Hi Val!
>> Following that idea that the fingers are more important than the base,
>> then the flat hand with five fingers would just be five spokes for
>> five fingers and the base shape would not be written...essentially,
>> the Shorthand would become the cursive form of sw handwriting
>> maybe...this was an idea proposed by Dr. Karen van Hoek, who used the
>> Shorthand as her SW Handwriting system and loved it...
> I've tried writing with these "shorthand" suggestions and I too, love
> it! This seems to bring the feel of SignWriting much closer to the feel
> of writing rather than drawing to me. The signs are written more simply
> so that once I've written one a few times it becomes much easier to
> write it again without having to think about how it's made.
> I've attached an attempt at writing a brief anecdote that runs in my
> family. Since it's not "phonetic" as SignWriting usually is and it's in
> BSL, you may have some difficulty with it, so I'll go through it here.
> The larger sign on the left says "elephant", which is my title for the
> story.
> Sign-for-sign, it then goes like this:
> aLongTimeAgo Scotland h-a-w-i-c-k | cousin me | andUncle me | street
> justWalkingAlong || circus carnivalComingTowardsThem
> bothWatchingItGoingBy finish || uncle askChild elephant didYouSee? ||
> cousinLooksUpAtHim elephant what? ||
> Or in English:
> A long time ago in Hawick in Scotland my cousin and uncle were walking
> along the street when a circus carnival came by. They watched it passing
> and when it was gone my uncle asked my cousin, "Did you see the
> elephant?" He said, "What elephant?"
> Some notes on the writing:
> elephant: the handshape here is a full "C" without the palm drawn. I
> hope this is clear enough for someone who's used to it.
> h-a-w-i-c-k: When signing with someone at a bar I noticed how she was
> holding her drink in one hand and doing two-handed fingerspelling with
> her free hand only. It occurred to me that you often see this and it
> might be a good way of writing two-handed fingerspelling in a simpler
> way that still makes sense to native BSLers. Combining this with Val's
> suggestion of not writing the palms, this is the result. I've sometimes
> written both hands when that emphasises the connection with the Latin
> letter, as for "K" in this word.
> andUncle: the single head nod which sometimes means "and" I've written
> without the arrowhead. I've been doing this for a long time for head
> nods and shakes.
> street: I perhaps wrote this sign too quickly as it's a bit out of
> shape! it's two "American-H" hands written with the palms because the
> orientation is unusual so I felt it had to be indicated.
> justWalkingAlong: I've missed out the arrowheads again, this time for
> the "relaxed pout" on the mouth indicating that the walk is "as normal".
> The half-arrowhead is horizontal, but if I'd been more careful it would
> have been diagonal!
> circus: I hope this is clear, it's supposed to be twisting three curved
> fingers (thumb, index and middle) about the nose like a clown nose.
> carnivalComingTowardsUs: again, I wrote the palms because I felt the
> orientation was unusual.
> bothWatchingItGoingBy: for a while now I've just repeated arrowheads to
> indicate repeated movements, so this arrow is swept through three times,
> in BSL indicating an activity that went on for some time.
> finish: the two little lines are thumbs; the arrows are supposed to be
> moving upwards but I didn't draw them doubled; I didn't worry so much
> about clarity because this sign is used very frequently and couldn't be
> mistaken for anything else.
> what: again, I've missed the arrowheads as this shaking from side to
> side movement should be clear enough to BSLers.
> Will everybody be able to see this? What's best to submit graphics in,
> Sandy Fleming


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