SignSpelling Guidelines: Sample

Valerie Sutton Sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sat Nov 2 17:44:09 UTC 2002

SignWriting List
November 2nd, 2002

Hello Everyone and Bill!
Just three more diagrams to go, and I am basically done with my "mini-lesson" on how I personally chose to order the spellings...Your question is great, Bill, and I am glad you are following it all...Let me ramble a bit with my answer to you...

First, there are people who write SignWriting with full stick figures - for example in Denmark they still do, and sometimes teachers who are teaching young Deaf children will add a full stick figure to help the student. But then, as time goes by, the Deaf adults who know SignWriting well drop all that detail - because they assume knowledge of the shoulders and arms - so that is why it is not written in the sign itself - but it could be...

Regarding the little symbol that I developed to represent the crossed arms in the spelling string - There are a bunch of "representative" symbols like that in SignBank...For example those little men showing location on the chest I showed a few days ago- those are just symbols and are not actually written in the signs themselves - Location is completely built into SignWriting and doesn't have to be an extra symbol when we are writing...So I added those location symbols for linguists doing spelling research. I thought maybe they would be useful for computer sorting, and Antonio Carlos then confirmed that - and yet from a Deaf child's point of view, it does look a little silly to have symbols in the spelling string that are not actually written on the page....hmmm....

So the little representative symbol for crossed arms is just that - a symbol, and is not actually written...

I could change those representative symbols to just plain lines for the arms and make them look exactly like the arms in the written sign...I believe you are saying you prefer that? That is fine. I could add that choice for the editors so they can choose either representative symbol...thanks for that feedback ;-)

Regarding spoken language spelling - I cannot answer your question - Except to tell you that I suspect the simpler we can make these SignSpellings, the better it will be for Deaf children and some of that information may not be necessary at all - So we are erring on the side of too much detail, and then we can simplify it down later - I would like to test this with Deaf Children...Meanwhile, linguistic researchers have a tool they can use too.

Val ;-)


Bill Reese wrote:
>Val, I find these SignSpelling examples to be very interesting and am
>studying them all.  I have a question about this example, "daughter".
>In the column showing the parts of the sign, you have an arm position,
>that very clearly shows how the arms should be positioned.  However, the
>sign itself does not include all of the information shown.  Instead, it
>seems to be "understood" that the shoulder and forearm lines are not
>shown.  For a beginner in signspelling how is a student to know this and
>is there a parallel with spoken languages?

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