Stuart Thiessen smt_sw at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 19 16:54:36 UTC 2002

I like the idea of a SignWriting convention.  Maybe that is a place to
start?  Would that be supportable by a grant or grants?  Perhaps if we have
some "technical" papers related to current research in SignWriting and have
papers from Brazil, New Mexico, and everywhere else that there is something
being researched, then maybe a foundation would support the convention and
then we can use some of that support to put it on?  Perhaps we could also
look at "membership" issues and see if we can find a way to promote
SignWriting as a community or convention of users rather than as
individuals?  Perhaps that would be one way to show that it is not just a
few "weird" individuals using the system here and there, but it is actually
being used in various ways that are beneficial to the community at large.

Perhaps if making it SignWriting-specific is too specific, we could even
invite the HamNoSys people and the SignFont people (I only know of one place
in Tucson, Arizona that uses SignFont) and make it a conference on the use
of writing in Sign Language research and community. (or something like

Perhaps by the time DeafWay III happens, the SignWriting Convention or
Writing Systems Convention or whatever ends up happening can be the
organization or community which requests representation rather than a group
of individuals who seek to be recognized by the "Deaf majority".

Just a thought.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Butler" <chazzer3 at EROLS.COM>
Sent: Friday, July 19, 2002 05:21
Subject: Re: DeafWay

> I think for Deaf Way III (which I presume WILL happen at some point in the
> future) we will have to make a point of having a booth on SignWriting.  We
> will need samples of Noah, David, stuff from the Sign Bible site, samples
> from other books, our dictionaries, and representatives from all over the
> world.  The only thing that we missed at DeafWay was "central" visibility.
> From what each of us has said, we had representatives from Norway,
> Nicaragua, the U.S., Brazil, Swiss-German, Colombia, and Venezuela, and we
> had writing samples in all of those languages and more.
> So many of the presentations on "sign language literature" were such
> fields for sign writing, and there wasn't a single Deaf person who could
> read the posters I had put together within a minute or so.
> I don't have the memory on my machine to run SignBank so it will have to
> wait for me.  I have the software but not the hardware to run it right
> It will have to wait for my next upgrade, which may happen sooner rather
> than later as I just started a new editorial job.  Meanwhile, I'm moving
> another state, and have so much stuff to give away in order to fit into
> new house that it will be months before I get to the bottom of it all.
> Everyone, I encourage you in your work, and hope we can get together at
> next DeafWay conference.  I think I better start a savings account just
> the occasion so that I can be there every day and make sure that the
> organizers put a lounge together for us Sign Writers.
> One step at a time.  Maybe we should put together our own convention and
> invite everyone else instead?  Now wouldn't that be a challenge.  Putting
> together all of the convention materials in Sign Writing would certainly
> show its facility for expressing ideas, as soon as we have software which
> quick to use.  (it will happen).
> Charles
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Siv Fosshaug <sfosshaug at BLUEWIN.CH>
> Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 8:10 PM
> Subject: Re: DeafWay
> Dear James Shepard-Kegl, Charles Butler, Stuart Thiessen, and the others
> on the SignWriting list.
> Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Siv Fosshaug and I am from
> Norway, but right now I am working in Switzerland for Penny Boyes Braem
> at the Sign language research center in Zurich. I have been working there
> since October last year. I hold a MA-degree, and I finished it last
> February.
> I did research about the international deaf sport in an empowerment
> perspective
> on three different levels (individual, group and society)and I connected
> it with theories about deaf culture, sign language, and identity. I worked
> for about 3 years with that at the University of Sport and Physical
> Education
> in Oslo, Norway. My first education is sport teacher and then later I
> with a one year study about sign language at Oslo University before
> finishing
> my MA-study. As you probably know Penny has been working with a project
> about SignWriting in Zurich, and I have joined the project since October.
> Penny's and my plans were to try to find you, among others Charles Butler
> and James Shepard-Kegl, and your poster at the Deafway II, so I could meet
> other SignWriting people, discuss with you about SignWriting, and show you
> our new published book of Noah written in SignWriting. I am happy to know
> that I am not the only one who also had problems to find SignWriting
> at Deaf Way II, because I looked everywhere for you and the booth and
> posters
> about SignWriting. I was also busy the first days at Deaf Way II then I
> had to practice with the Norwegian Sign Language interpreters for my
> presentation
> that I gave on last Thursday. I discovered on Wednesday evening that the
> presentation about education in Nicaragua was on Monday, so I
> missed it!!!
> Anyway, now my husband, Michel Laubacher (we just got married on June
> 22nd!!!Smile)
> and I are at Valerie's beautiful home in San Diego. We have been here for
> some days and tomorrow we are leaving back to Was.Dc and then
> I have talked with Valerie about my frustation at Deaf Way II that I could
> find any people that are involved in SignWriting. Valerie suggested to me
> that I should write this email, so you know me from now on. I just want
> to let you know that my English is not perfect, and I am also Deaf. But
> I try my best and want to try to keep in touch with you in SignWriting
> and join the discussion about SignWriting in the future, although my
> English is limited.
> If some of you are interested in getting the Noah book you can get in
> with Penny. Please have a look in The English site is
> construction, but my husband, Michel, will work on it when we get back to
> Switzerland. So quite soon it is possible to order the book of Noah. If
> you want, you can either send an email to gsmedia at or a fax to
> +41 (0)1 312 13 63. The book of David will also be finished in September.
> Accompanying both books are two videtapes with beautiful stories of Noah
> and David. The stories are quite easy to understand since the stories are
> written for children and includes a lot of role and description of people,
> nature etc. I really suggest you should have a look at the books and
> videtapes,
> although it is signed and written in Swiss-German Sign Language. Valerie
> understood almost everything. She has also helped us a lot with our
> and as well Stefan Woehrmann in Germany. So a big thanks to you both. We
> have started experimenting with something new...namely writing mouthings,
> mouth gestures, and facial expressions etc. Just so you know we have tried
> a bit different, but that is for the research / experimental matter.
> Valerie phoned Penny this morning and we decided that there is a need to
> focus more about facial expression in the future and hope that you also
> will join us! I have also seen the wonderful job Valerie has done with
> SignBank
> 2002. You can't believe how much time she has worked on it. You have
> something exciting to look forward to!!!! It is marvellous job of
> Valerie!!!!
> Lately, Valerie hasn't been so well, so that's why you haven't heard
> anything
> from her in SignWriting List lately. She was very sick for two weeks for
> two weeks ago, but now it is better. She doesn't have the same energy as
> before and needs more relaxing. So that's why she has decided to focus on
> SignBank this summer and get back to SignWriting List this fall when she
> is finished with SignBank. I just want to inform you about that, but we
> can continue keeping in touch and discussing with each other in
> List without Valerie for a while. Sure?
> You are completely right, we have to make booth and posters at the next
> big deaf event like Deaf Way or something like that and try to make sure
> that SignWriting will be more visible in the future.
> Have a nice summer,
> Greetings
> Siv Fosshaug

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