Mixing Perspectives Within One Sign

Valerie Sutton Sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Jun 11 16:35:42 UTC 2002

SignWriting List
June 11, 2002

Charles wrote:
>Whenever I change perspective, I look at the hand from that perspective.

Dear SignWriting List, Charles, Stefan and everyone!
Thank you for your excellent discussion of mixing front view and
overhead view symbols within one sign...You all made good points.

Here is my perspective: Do not worry about mixing perspectives - It
works well and it has proven, over the years, to be the best choice
in many cases. I do it all the time myself...Mixing viewpoints has
many positives.

Let me give you all a background to this....Back in the early 1980's
SignWriting did not have an overhead view of handshapes. The symbols
we use today, with the break in the symbol representing the hidden
horizon, did not exist. Why? Because we were not writing from the
Expressive viewpoint. At that time, we were writing everything from
the Receptive viewpoint. Then, two Deaf DAC members...Lucinda O'Grady
Batch and Meriam Ina Schroeder, requested the Expressive view, and
that changed everything!

Before, when we only had the Receptive view, we saw all hands from
the Front View. When Expressive started, we began looking at our own
hands while we sign, and writing it from our own perspective. That
meant that an overhead view of handshapes was necessary, since we
look down at our hands in the Expressive view. So I invented the idea
of a "hidden horizon line" cutting the hand, giving us the overhead
view. The hidden horizon line is a break in the handshape, as you
know. All overhead view of handshapes must have the hidden horizon
line, or it will not be read as overhead.

At present, we only have the overhead view of hands parallel with the
floor. Although we could develop the overhead view of hands parallel
with the wall, it is not necessary, since we have now learned through
experience that people have no problem reading signs with mixed
perspectives. In fact, it is easier to read mixed perspectives,
because there are fewer symbols to learn.

When we first started using the overhead view, we all had the worry
that mixing viewpoints within one sign might be confusing. But now -
after many years of use - the concerns are gone. People are reading
the signs well. It just took us time to learn this....

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at SignWriting.org


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