SignSpelling Guideline 1: Dominant Handshape

Valerie Sutton Sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Nov 1 22:16:58 UTC 2002

SignWriting List
November 1, 2002

SignSpelling Guideline 1
The handshape that rules the action, rules the spelling:

1. dominant handshape comes first
2. non-dominant handshape come second

Regarding Right and Left Handed Signs...
If the sign is written from a right-handed signer's point of view, then the "dominant handshape" is the right hand. If the sign is written from the left-handed signer's perspective, then the dominant handshape is the left hand. The dominant handshape fluctuates when signers are both right and left handed (ambidextrous).

Meanwhile, generally, we choose to write signs from a right-handed signer's perspective, so I chose to place right-handed signs in my little Picture Dictionary...

But you can choose to place a left-handed sign in the dictionary if you wish. The symbols for the left hand come "after" the symbols for the right hand in the SSS, so you could enter the sign twice - once "right-handed-dominant" and again "left-handed-dominant", and the left handed version would be placed after the right handed version automatically in the dictionary. That would be interesting create a dictionary with every sign entered right and left!

So in summary, the SignSpelling guidelines do not look for "right or left"...they instead look for "dominant and non-dominant" hands...The handshape that rules the action,  rules the spelling.

Here is the sign for "coffee" attached:
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: coffee.gif
Type: image/gif
Size: 7306 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the Sw-l mailing list