Sign Dictionary Orders

Valerie Sutton Sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Oct 21 00:00:31 UTC 2002

SignWriting List
October 20, 2002

Hello Bill! What a wonderful message. Isn't SignBank fun? You can play with different spelling routines continually until you find the one that works best for you...

And I haven't forgotten the SignWriting Web Site CDs you designed for us, Bill...SignBank development took longer than expected. I am praying that I can have the CDs and also SignBank (with a small US database in it), for Christmas...

I hope you all enjoy discussing the issues of Sign Spellings!

Val ;-)


 >What you say makes sense Charles - with regards to Sign Language and
>SignWriting.  When I try to compare to a spoken language like English, I
>try to think of doing it with a word, composed of letters.  When I think
>of searching by either letters or syllables, I can't imagine a common
>dictionary doing that.  For example, if I take the word "playing" would
>I sort by "play" and "ing"?  Or for that matter, would I sort by "P",
>"L", "A", "Y", "I", "N", and "G"?  While it is theoretically possible,
>what purpose would it serve?
>My reflection on this: a researcher may want to know what words have
>"ING" in them, but he is not looking for words with only "G".  Also, a
>casual user of a dictionary would most likely be looking up a word - say
>"PLAY" - and would be interested in "PLAY", "PLAYING", "PLAYFUL",
>Given the fact that a digital dictionary does need to be constrained by
>an abridgement, I would think it would be quite logical to include a
>search by "PLAY" or "ING".
>So to come full circle, what would be a constraint of searching in
>SignWriting that would be equivalent to searching for a single letter in
>a spoken language?  Is there one?  If we equate each symbol in
>SignWriting to a letter in a spoken language, is there then a more
>complex construct that can be equated with a syllable?  For instance,
>the sign "PLAY" in ASL is a "Y" hand, held in a certain location
>relative to the body and rotated  back and forth.  Could we say that the
>"syllable" is the "Y" hand held at that location?   A search of this,
>then, would not just search for a "Y" symbol but it would also search
>for some location symbol.
>Would this make sense?  Would we want to search this way?  Why would
>someone search this way?  I imagine a person observing another person
>sign "PLAY" and he wants to find out what concept is associated with it.
>He doesn't know the meaning of the sign, so therefore he whips out his
>trusty pocket dictionary.  In his mind, he remembers the sign in two
>parts: the "Y" hand held mid-level and facing the left side of the
>signer; and the movement back and forth.  Would these, then, be
>"syllables" and for which he would want to search for?
>Charles Butler wrote:
>>I guess, for me, I would consider all of the spellings correct.  It depends
>>upon what "section" of the dictionary you would be looking in.
>>If one were to start with the "handshape section" then you'd start with
>>If one were to start with the "movement section" then one would start with
>>If one were to start with the "contact" section, one would start with the
>>I feel that ALL of them are equally valid, and a complete dictionary would
>>list all four, depending on the section.
>>Starting at the beginning of the SSS is the handshape dictionary, so you
>>start there, go through all of the single handshapes, single hands that
>>change shape, then double handshapes.
>>The next section, movement, you'd start at movement, but then you'd have to
>>go back to the handshapes and do them in order of SSS, etc.
>>For me, a complete dictionary using SSS should list all four variants, as
>>each "section" is independent of all the others, but someone may want to
>>find any sign using any one of its components.
>>It's kind of like commutative arithmetic.  2 + 1 + 3 = 6, but so does 1 + 2
>>+ 3, and so does 3 + 2 + 1.  All three equations are correct, but one can
>>order them by which number comes first.  The SSS does exactly that.  Which
>>"section" is first is the choice of the investigator, but if all of us are
>>going to use the dictionary, we have to explain our logic to each other.

More information about the Sw-l mailing list