SignBank spelling order

Ingvild Roald ingvild.roald at STATPED.NO
Sat Oct 12 10:51:21 UTC 2002

Hi all,

as I've started entering signs and their spellings into the bank, it
becomes apparent to me that as we are creating the first multilanguage
sign dictionaries in the world, and they are supposed to be working
together, we had better come up with some rules about how we enter the
spellings. As I understand, that will affect the way the SignBank will
sort and look up by symbols.

It seems (I'm at home now, it's Saturday, and I have the refererence at
work) that signs in themselves are best described as one segment each. In
spoken language, you take the first sound and then the second, and so on,
in a multisegmental way. Even if time plays a part in Sign production, it
is the whole sign that is the sign, and a movement is a movement from  or
a movement to, as the case may be.

Let me try to illustrate by a few signs, attached:

absolutt-01-NO  can be translated into English as absolute, bu also as
absolutely.  I eneterd the first handshape, and then the strike, because
that is what distinguishes this sign from the 'finnished' ('has' done ..).

Then I entered the downward, and lastly the passive hand.

But then I had to enter the next sign , absolutt-02-NO, which can best be
translated as absolutely, really, true. Both hands are symmetrical, and
the striking is essential, the fact that it will come about by the right
hand moving down on the left is not of importance and not written.

(''noyaktig' schoud be written whit our Norwegian o/, and means
'accurately, excately')

Then I started thinking: If each and every one of us are entering the
spellings by "importance", it would be hard to get an agreed-upon way of
ordering the spellings. And as the signs should probably be seen as whole
thimgs, the way we pull them apart by arranging the writing symbols should
not be of importance to the understanding of the language, but very
important to the making of dictionaries that work across language borders.

So what rules should we follow?

I know Valerie has addessed this question breifly before, but now as we
sit down and actually do this, we should have a discussion and make rules
that will also be felt as appropriate by the sign language lingiusts and
by the signing communities, as far as that is possible.

So I dare not enter anything more at the moment ...


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