Sign Dictionary Orders

Bill Reese wreese01 at TAMPABAY.RR.COM
Mon Oct 21 01:05:55 UTC 2002

 Hi Val,

Well, you know me, I don't really use SignWriting but I like to jump in
every now and then.  SignBank is the same way - I'm following the
discussion and just jumping in to muddy the waters a bit.  :-)

Whenever you decide to pick up the CD's again, let me know.   I can see
you are busy - everything takes time - especially if you want to do it
right.  :-)

By the way, a friend of mine is tutoring an elementary deaf student and
says that when the student becomes frustrated, he goes to the blackboard
and draws hands, arms and faces to represent the sign he is trying to
convey.  I don't know if the boy has been exposed to SignWriting but I
have given some SignWriting literature to the tutor, who is planning to
present a few written signs to him.  At the moment we are looking at it
as more of a bridge to English - equating the sign, as written, with the
equivalent English.  So maybe something will begin to happen here after
all.  :-)


Valerie Sutton wrote:

>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",
>>"PLAY-ACTING", "PLAYS", etc.
>>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.

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