AW: [sw-l] Hand shape symbol EMA 28

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Apr 17 14:49:53 UTC 2009

I  found Test 1 the easiest to read and the quickest to understand as an M + an I.


From: SignWriting <signwriting at>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at>
Cc: Eyasu Tamene <tusaye11 at>
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 10:57:19 AM
Subject: Re: AW: [sw-l] Hand shape symbol EMA 28

SignWriting List
April 16, 2009

Hello Stefan and Eyasu!
This is wonderful work. I am so glad to know you are working together on this project ;-)

If you go to the Ethiopian SignPuddle:

Ethiopian SignPuddle

And click on the Dictionary:

Ethiopian Sign Language Dictionary

You will see that I added 3 possible handshapes. They are under "Handshape Test 1" and "Handshape Test 2"...and "Handshape Test 3" so search for them...later you can delete them...

The "I" hand...with the baby finger sticking up, has the baby finger at an angle. Obviously most people actually do that handshape with the baby finger straight up, but through research (we asked people to read the handshapes to see if they could read them)  our DAC members in the 1980's and I found that most people confused the straight baby finger line with the Index Finger and mis-read the baby finger for the Index, time and time again...even though the baby finger line was shorter than the was still a rule was created for SignWriting (not Movement Writing) that the baby finger is always at an angle, then it could not be confused with the index that is why I always write the baby finger at an angle, even when it looks straight this has nothing to do with Movement SignWriting we are trying to get an everyday writing system that the majority of people can read without is a
 different focus than writing 100 per cent the way each signer looks...but instead trying to find a more standard way of writing that becomes second nature for most readers over time...and can be read quickly.

The other issue is the thumb horizontal across the hand...for me it looks like that, but if you don't want the thumb across the palm, I showed one example, using the M handshape (group 6) which has the thumb going across without us writing it across...but just adding the Baby Finger line...that is Test 1 above...

There is a third alternative, if you prefer, which is very accurate, and that is three dots for the fingers projecting straight forward...the dots are good because they take away the issues of the 10 palm facings that we have discussed before...but they are more complicated to we don't always use them...

OK. So whatever your choice is fine...I wish you all the best with your project and look forward to seeing your fine work...

And Eyasu - thank you for your patience with me...I promised to send you a donation of books, and I got confused by a new economy that left me without the funds to send it, but I am planning to send it this week...I would like to send you four textbooks: The Lessons in SignWriting Textbook, the SignWriting Lessons Book from Spain in English, the SignWriting Basics Instruction Manual, and one other book...I hope this will help you learn SignWriting...and please feel free to ask technical questions on the SignWriting List anytime...I am more than happy to help you learn how to write some signs in your Ethiopian SignPuddle....if you can show me a sign, I can show you how to write it...or perhaps Stefan is already helping you this way? and that is perfect!!

So have a wonderful day everyone!

Val ;-)


On Apr 16, 2009, at 6:45 AM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:

> Hi Valerie,
> thank you so much for your quick response. There are only two more days -
> then I have to go back to school. That is the reason that I am concentrating
> on this in order to get it done in time.
> Well the document - you published on your website is still not the final
> result. There have to be discussed quite a lot of hand shapes and especially
> orientations. So we will send the final document soon ...
> I am looking forward to see your suggestion how to write that given hand
> shape. Well and many hand shapes look look very close but as I had to find
> out did not represent exactly what the deaf people in Ethiopia do. Without
> the expert Eyasu in Ethiopia there would be no chance to succeed-- smile
> All the best
> Stefan ;-)
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