Vcom3D's SigningAvatars and SignWriting?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sun Jun 22 15:40:47 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
June 22, 2003

Dear SW Listers, and Angus -
I thought this was a great answer, Angus, and I agree with you...As you
say below, "if you've got the SignWriting, why do you need the
animation?"  smile.... That is why I keep telling people that we can
write by hand, they don't get the misimpression that we cannot
use SignWriting without "technology"...

Of course we all love animation, and I enjoy seeing animated
SignWriting as a unique experience for "one-time viewing", but the
truth is, if a writing system works, then it has to work all by itself,
without any fancy equipment...And SignWriting does. The question
is...Will SigningAvatar help to introduce SignWriting to beginners?
Perhaps...hard to know until is it tried...

To make SigningAvatar sign in the naturally-evolving language of
American Sign Language ...that would be quite a technological feat!
That is probably why they didn't even mention it....because they knew
if they mentioned it, it would open up the "can of worms" that has been
argued since the beginning of Deaf education in the US...ASL or English?

I want you to know I downloaded your paper, Angus...Thanks for
mentioning the SignWriting issues in your work - I know both Antonio
Carlos and you presented work at that conference and I didn't realize
the papers were posted! I am glad it is on your site for download:

Val ;-)


On Saturday, June 21, 2003, at 08:17 AM, Angus B. Grieve-Smith wrote:

>         I've never heard of anyone trying to make a link between
> VCom3D's
> software and SignWriting.  Such a link would be valuable, because it
> would
> correct a fundamental dishonesty in their marketing: they claim that
> their
> software "signs," without specifying that it doesn't sign ASL, but
> rather
> Signed English.
>         VCom3d consistently avoids mentioning that Signed English isn't
> much more useful than written English for the majority of Deaf
> students in
> the US, and that to produce ASL, most of their products would require a
> machine translation component more sophisticated than anything that
> exists
> today.
>         If they used SignWriting, they would be able to produce real
> ASL,
> which would be much more useful.  On the other hand, if you've got the
> SignWriting, why do you need the animation?
>         I make a more detailed argument along these lines in my paper
> from
> the Gesture Workshop, which can be downloaded from
> <>.
>         I won't be going to the symposium, but here's a link to its
> website: <>.
>                                         -Angus B. Grieve-Smith
>                                         Linguistics Department
>                                         University of New Mexico
>                                         grvsmth at
>                                         grvsmth at

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