Dictionary question

Valerie Sutton Sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Sep 30 15:25:04 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
September 30, 2003

Dear SW List, Charles and Nana from the Phillipines!
Thank you for your two messages below. I am very happy, Nana, that you 
are working with SignWriting in the Phillipines!

Charles gave you a very interesting idea in his message. He pointed out 
that you could create a brand new dictionary file in SignWriter DOS, 
naming it 063, and then blend the two spoken languages into one big 
dictionary file...That could be done right now...Perhaps you have 
already done this? There are two ways to do this:

1. Create a brand new dicitonary file and name it 063 or any other name 
you wish, and start filling it with a mixture of languages...This is a 
good way to work, since it will give you an empty dictionary file from 
the beginning...

2. Create a brand new country code for the Phillipines. Do you want to 
use English, while you are working with SW-DOS? There are three 
English-related countries in the SW-DOS folder:


Someday we could create a special fingerspelling keyboard just for the 
Phillipines, but at this time, we do not have that....so you will need 
to decide which fingerspelling system you want for the moment...the 
two-handed British, the Irish or the USA fingerspelling?

Let us imagine that you choose the USA...You need to find four files:


Make copies of these four files and rename them


Then start SignWriter DOS and change your country code to 063.

This second idea has a good side, in that you are always in one 
country...but the bad side is that your dictionary file will already be 
filled with 3000 American signs, and you will need to delete all of 
them! smile...

I have more to tell you, about tri-lingual dictionaries, but that will 
have to wait for now...I will need to know if Tagalog sorts 
dictionaries in a different way, than English, because all of our 
dicitonaries in SW-DOS were specially setup to sort properly, within 
the language you are using...For example, just because Spain uses the 
Roman alphabet, it does not sort dictionaries in the same way that 
English does, so the Spanish dictionary files are setup to sort by the 
world standard for Spanish...so does Tagalog sort like Spanish does, 
with special sections in the dictionary for RR and LL? If so, you might 
want to duplicate a Spanish speaking dictionary file instead...This can 
get so complex that maybe it doesn't matter? Try one of the suggestions 
above, and when you bump into a problem, we can face that at that time!

You see, SignBank does not have the problems of SW-DOS, so it all 
depends on what software you choose to use, to create your 
dicitonaries. The dictionary sorting problems, and the true separate 
trilingual dictionary can be created in SignBank easily, once you have 
typed your dictionary file in SW-DOS...

Val ;-)


On Tuesday, September 30, 2003, at 12:16 AM, Nana Dumitra wrote:
> I started to work on a SW dictionary for the Philippines, set up under 
> 063 to match the way other dictionaries are set up. My question:
> In the Philippines there are two official languages: English and 
> Tagalog. The Deaf are being taught with English as a “basis” but most 
> parents don’t know English. Many parents do know Tagalog or regional 
> dialects that are often very similar to Tagalog.  We would really like 
> to set up the dicitionary in a way that we can do it English – Tagalog 
> – Sign Language and with a possibility to search in all three 
> languages. Is there a way to do it in SW44 DOS? So far I did it just 
> English – Sign Language. My husband suggested to just enter the 
> Tagalog word next to the English word. That is better than nothing, 
> but makes it hard when people want to look up a word using Tagalog as 
> the search language. Any suggestions? By the way, Val, the lessons on 
> how to use the ASL – English dictionary look very interesting, I hope 
> to study them a bit more this afternoon. Thanks for all your work for 
> us! Greetings from the Philippines, Nana


Charles Butler wrote:
> As far as I can tell, Nana, the SW 4.4 dictionary sorts on the English 
> alphabet, not on English, so that if Tagalog is written with Roman 
> characters, you can just enter it as you normally would.  Your 
> dictionary will be a blend of English and Tagalog and Phillipino Sign 
> Language, but the two spoken languages can both be entered.  You'd 
> have to do two entries for each sign language entry, English/Tagalog, 
> Tagalog/English, but at least the entries would be in there. 

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