Ordering Signs

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Dec 2 02:50:00 UTC 2009

This is a fascinating discussion.  I can understand that one needs to have a clear test group, like the kids, and finding a way to show them where each handshape fits into the system at a glance is necessary.  One needs to show the whole of Group 1, etc, not just the first handshape in a group, but then have an order to them, which is still under discussion.


From: Gagnon et Thibeault <atg at videotron.ca>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 9:27:58 PM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Ordering Signs

Hi Trevor and 
      You are right that handshape would be 
more important than location.  I thought that Charles wanted to discuss 
about a "specific head". (he wrote: The first-four entries seem to be by head, 
is that intentional?)  I showed him the attached specific head 
orders.  I answered him: you are right.  However, I 
      I would like to inform you that it is 
not easy to find the primary handshape.  Deaf children couldn't remember 
everything about the primary handshape 1- 10.  For example, in what group 
of the primary handshape do you find IDEA (ASL)?  Deaf children had to 
check each primary handshape 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. They found group 6.  They 
didn't like to look for IDEA for a long time.  I tried to help them find 
the primary handshape quickly on the first front page in the dictionary.  
You will see the attached group 1-6.
  They were happy to look at the 
first front page. They quickly  went to  Group 6 "thumb & 
small finger". 
----- Original Message ----- 
>From: Trevor 
>  Jenkins 
>To: SignWriting List 
>Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 1:03 
>  PM
>Subject: Re: [sw-l] Ordering Signs
>Isn't the primacy of location an influence taken from Stokoe 
>  notation with the region of the signing space being location signified first 
>  before hand-shape, movement or orientation. Because of "degrees of meaning" it 
>  is permissible to retain the meaning of a sign while placing it elsewhere in 
>  the signing space. So like you, Charles, I'd go with handshape as the primary 
>  indexer for a dictionary. Handshape would be more important than 
>  location. I'd likent location as the primary indexer as equivalent to 
>  organising an English dictionary by upper case letters first then lower 
>  case.
>On Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 5:10 PM, Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at yahoo.com> >  wrote:
>I am still confused.  I understand your going with Location first, 
>>    I tend to go with handshape first, which would put anything with an index 
>>    finger together, with neutral space first, then starting from the head down, 
>>    that's the only apparent difference.  Neutral or hand contact seems to 
>>    happen much more in ASL than LSQ.
 From: Gagnon et Thibeault 
>>    <atg at videotron.ca>
>>To: >>    SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
>>Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 11:47:27 AM
>>Subject: Re: 
>>    [sw-l] Ordering Signs
>>Hi Charles and 
>>    everyone,
>>    Charles, 
>>    you are right.  You will see the attached "head" 
>>    orders.
>>    Regards,
>>    André
>>>      Original Message ----- 
>>>From: Charles Butler 
>>>To: SignWriting List 
>>>Sent: >>>      Monday, November 30, 2009 1:02 PM
>>>Subject: >>>      Re: [sw-l] Ordering Signs
>>>I'm not sure how to read your dictionary, Andre,
>>>The first 
>>>      four entries seem to be by head.  Is that intentional?  I was 
>>>      trying to follow your logic and compare it to what I had proposed and 
>>>      using handshape as the first entry, and then location, the first four 
>>>      signs would follow differently.  The way you placed the BSL sign 
>>>      language I agree with, I'm just trying to understand your 
>>>      system.
>>>Charles Butler
 From: Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org>
>>>To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
>>>Sent: Mon, November 30, 2009 12:23:21 
>>>      PM
>>>Subject: Re: [sw-l] 
>>>      Ordering Signs
>>>SignWriting List
>>>November 30, 
>>>      2009
>>>Hello Andre!
>>>I feel soooo happy to receive this message 
>>>      from you. What a remarkable message this is. Very few people in the 
>>>      history of SignWriting can provide information on testing how Deaf 
>>>      children look up signs, by Sign Symbols, in dictionaries written in 
>>>      SignWriting. That is because very few people have classrooms of Deaf 
>>>      children fluent in SignWriting, and your classroom in French-Canada, using 
>>>      LSQ, is one of those historic places, that we can point to, when 
>>>      discussing the theories on sign-symbol-searches.
>>>Of course there 
>>>      are classrooms around the world using SignWriting...Stefan Woehrmann's 
>>>      classroom in Germany, for example, and classrooms in Nicaragua and Belgium 
>>>      and Brazil and other countries...and they are all doing wonderful 
>>>      work...
>>>Have any other teachers tested how Deaf children look up 
>>>      signs in dictionaries without using any spoken language? Just searching 
>>>      for signs sorted by Sign-Symbol-Sequence (alphabetical order of 
>>>      SignWriting symbols)? If so, please tell us how it worked for your 
>>>      students...
>>>I am hoping to start, at the end of 2010, to improve 
>>>      our printed dictionaries...and then distribute the printed dictionaries to 
>>>      groups of signers to see if they can find signs in those printed 
>>>      dictionaries, sorted by Sign-Symbols...but that project hasn't started 
>>>      yet...
>>>I can see, Andre, that you have already started such a 
>>>      project and I am very interested to read your results...I will save this 
>>>      message to refer to later...and THANK YOU for sharing with 
>>>      us...
>>>What excites me the most, is that you have found that it is 
>>>      beneficial for your Deaf students, to use SignWriting in dictionaries. 
>>>      That is meaningful, to know that SignWriting is making a difference in 
>>>      people's lives...If it can help some Deaf children to learn how to use 
>>>      dictionaries, that is wonderful.
>>>Out of the 13 different handshapes 
>>>      listed in Group 1 of the ISWA, LSQ (Quebec Sign Language) only uses 5 out 
>>>      of the 13 handshapes...The International SignWriting Alphabet was never 
>>>      meant to be used in its entirety by all sign languages...We all assume 
>>>      that each sign language will only use some of the symbols in the ISWA, 
>>>      just as the full IPA is not used to write this message in 
>>>      English...
>>>So I look forward to learning more about your project, 
>>>      Andre -
>>>Thanks again for your sharing with us -
>>>      ;-)
>>>On Nov 29, 2009, at 3:50 AM, Gagnon 
>>>      et Thibeault wrote:
>>>> Hi Trevor, Charles, Gerard, Christophe, 
>>>      and everyone
>>>>    A Deaf teacher and I have been 
>>>      working on a Sign Writing LSQ (a written LSQ) dictionary for one month 
>>>      now.  The Deaf teacher has been testing if Deaf children are able to 
>>>      look up SW orders without alphabetic orders in the dictionary.
>>>>    It seems that it works well because Deaf children 
>>>      who have difficulties to read a written French can directly find a written 
>>>      LSQ to help them find a French word in the dictionary.
>>>>    Charles mentioned that handshape orders are “index 
>>>      finger”, “index & middle finger”, “index finger, middle, & thumb”, 
>>>      “four fingers”, “four fingers & thumb”, “thumb & small finger”, 
>>>      “thumb & ring finger”, “thumb & index finger”, and “thumb & 
>>>      fist”.  I focus on “Index Finger”. You will see the attached 
>>>      ISWA.  The Index Finger has 13 different handshapes from ISWA in the 
>>>      world. However, the Index Finger of the LSQ has only 5 different 
>>>      handshapes.
>>>>    In addition, you will see the 
>>>      attached location orders.  Location orders have 5 parts: 1) head 
>>>      & neck, 2) trunk & leg, 3) arm, 4) hand, 5) neutral space.  
>>>      If you look up a written LSQ in the dictionary, you must think from the 
>>>      high level of location to the low level of location. Contact symbols which 
>>>      include touch, hit, rub and so forth interact with a specific area of the 
>>>      body.  If the hand or the finger touches the nose, you look up 
>>>      quickly a head location order.  For example, if a signer produces 
>>>      BELIEVE (ASL), the index finger touches the middle front: you look up a 
>>>      “head” location order.  Another example, if the signer produces SHOW 
>>>      (ASL), the index finger of the right hand touches the palm of the left 
>>>      hand. You look up a hand location order.  If the signer produces ONE 
>>>      (ASL), the index finger is the  front of the shoulder without contact 
>>>      symbols.  You look up a last (neutral space) location order.
>>>>    You will see the attached SW orders.  You will 
>>>      find a first page.  You look up index finger and location orders. EYE 
>>>      (LSQ) is a highest level of the head than higher level of the head for 
>>>      TOOTH (LSQ) than a high level of the head for CANDY (LSQ) than a low level 
>>>      of the head for TO SAY (LSQ).
>>>>    Trevor, if the 
>>>      signer who uses a British manual alphabet produces “A” (BSL), the index 
>>>      finger of the right hand touches the thumb of the left hand (handshape 
>>>      5).  You look up an index finger order and a hand location order in 
>>>      the BSL dictionary.  If the signer produces “I” (BSL), the index 
>>>      finger of the right hand touches the tip of the middle finger of the left 
>>>      hand (handshape  5).  You look up an index finger order and a 
>>>      hand location order. You will see the attached SW orders (page 
>>>      21).
>>>>    We will adjust and test the LSQ 
>>>      dictionary.  We are still working on it.  If Trevor, Charles or 
>>>      everyone takes a (SW) workshop or attends a (SW) conference, we will be 
>>>      happy to teach him/her how to look up quickly your own sign language in 
>>>      the dictionary.
>>>>    Best regards,
>>>>    André
>>>      SignWriting List
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>>    SignWriting List
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>Regards, Trevor.
><>< Re: deemed!
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