[sw-l] Downloading the IMWA and SSS-1999
sandy at FLEIMIN.DEMON.CO.UK
Sat Dec 11 21:08:32 UTC 2004
> Hi! Those of us who are linguists or who approach things from a
> systematic approach will likely consider that to be a simple enough
> process. However, I am not sure if the rank-and-file deaf person will
> analyze (or want to analyze) their movements to that degree. I don't
> have a problem (if it can work) to have the computer automatically
> assemble a handshape or symbol from components when I request that
> handshape. But to have the user type in all the components plus
> positioning information may be too much to expect.
Using components would probably make typing easier. For example in inputting
a handshape you might have the letter keys to input a palm - and there are
really very few palms in the SW system, especially if you don't include all
the "exotic" ones such as the Spock handshape. You can then add fingers, for
example the number keys 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 would add that number of straight
fingers to the palm. Then you could, say, bend, claw &c all the fingers at
once with a single keypress. Finally any further refinements to individual
fingers and the thumb. This way, all the main handshapes can be built up
with a few keypresses each, the more difficult ones may take up more
keypresses but I'd hope that as a general rule simple handshapes are the
norm in sign languages and a section of the keyboard could be reserved to
cater especially for the few that are difficult to type in the user's
selected language. So he should be able to type the majority of handshapes
in any language very quickly, the more exotic ones with some extra
keypresses, and still have some "macro" keypresses available for quick
access to the "exotic" handshapes in his own language. Hopefully these
hard-to-type handshapes will be few in number in any given language - I'm
thinking of things like the Portuguese SL "figure eight" handshape.
Remember also that if we're using an IMWA subset for a language we might
have less than 100 handshapes at our disposal. The software could only offer
the available handshapes, helpfully restricting the range of choices for the
I think this is an awful lot easier than having to sort of _know_ the
grouping structure of the SSS and having to go down through a tree of
handshape categories. There's also a fast and easy way to get to any of the
six orientations for a given handshape, involving the use of three keyboard
keys without repeated keypresses. Say we use the keyboard U, I and O keys to
control orientation - then let "I" toggle between wall and floor plane, let
"U" rotate left and "O" rotate right. Then between zero, one or two
keypresses is enough to select any orientation. This is much better than
having to cycle through things all the time.
I've been experimenting with this (aiming at a complete keying system
without using the mouse) and it's possible to get plenty of room on the
keyboard for everything by giving the user keypresses to select different
editing modes. In each mode there's a different keyboard layout though this
doesn't mean it's difficult to learn - most are either very similar, very
simple, or are just involve alphabetic typing on the normal QWERTY keyboard.
Here's my current set of keyboard modes:
hands (ie two hands as a unit)
But the first three can all probably fit on one keyboard and hand+hands on
another, giving only four keyboards. The fingerspelling mode would just
involve typing the normal QWERTY letters, as would the Mundschrift, though
the Mundschrift mode would cause a new head to be added for each keypress,
with the appropriate mouth for that letter.
There's no punctuation mode as I would hope to be able to use the period,
comma, spacebar etc keys for punctuation regardless of the mode.
I think it would be good to have a standard keyboard but to let programmers
experiment with alternatives for a few years to let the users decide what
they like best.
We can also do a lot to minimise the amount of positioning required. We can
have some "templates" for say, the neutral sign postion, top view and
anything else that acts as a positioning pattern for common types of signs.
On selecting a template it could be displayed in light blue and the typist
types stuff in over it - it helps them to see exactly where to position
things and also shows where the head &c will be automatically placed when
she types it. The default template to be displayed as they start typing a
fresh sign could consist of the head, shoulders, hips, arms and a couple of
squares representing the hands, all in light blue as a background to the
actual typing - see the attached gif for examples.
Use of the mouse, eg for clicking and dragging is less important to
standardise, I think - it's probably better for each programmer to do it the
way it works best for each program. But we should have a standard
keyboarding system (after experimenting with alternatives) for touch typists
to be able to input continuously without the mouse.
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