[sw-l] left-handed or right-handed?

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Mon Dec 6 17:20:03 UTC 2004

Well, I haven't taught children, but it seems to me it depends on the
way we teach it.  If we are teaching dominant vs. non-dominant, then it
should not matter much ... I would think.  But again, Charles brings up
an excellent point. There are times when it is a dominant vs.
non-dominant situation and there are times when it truly is a right vs.
left situation (when location is important ... Bob on the left talking
with Phil on the right.)

 From a programming point of view, if we want to implement your idea, we
would have to store some "metadata" that would allow us to mark a sign
according to its type.  Is it a dominant/non-dominant sign or a sign
that is dependent on true location?  But I can think of some scenarios
where it might be both. For example, the ASL for "to have surgery"
requires a location. Now, I have noticed we ASL signers tend to use the
non-dominant palm as a location to indicate generic surgery. But
suppose I wanted to emphasize a particular location for the surgery,
then the sign becomes location-specific. So it actually fits both
categories depending on my intent.  Computers hate that ;). So the
metadata for that sign would have to specify when it was
location-specific and when it is dominant/non-dominant.



On Dec 6, 2004, at 11:02, Sandy Fleming wrote:

> Stephen wrote:
>> As a programmer, I prefer right-handed signs in the dictionary.  If I
>> know
>> what to expect, I can generate a left-handed dictionary
>> automatically.  I
>> can either flip the image, or manipulate the SWML.  If something is
>> consistent and predictable, it is easier for programmers to use.
> Unfortunately it's not consistent and prodictable and you can't
> generate a
> left handed dictionary automatically except for signs with no
> "handedness"
> location information.
> Imagine amking a sign "turn off to the left" (say, on coming to a fork
> in a
> road in a car). The attached gif shows this sign, which is identical
> both
> right-handed and left handed in the SW (though not in real life!) -
> it's
> _not_ just a mirror image, even though an awful lot of left-hander
> signs
> would be just mirror images of the right-hander signs. If the hand had
> been
> asymetrical (say, if the thumb was sticking out or held in), the
> left-handed
> version would be neither a mirror image nor identical.
> I've noticed the other responses with interest, but none of the
> teachers say
> that they're teaching children. What I'm asking is that when all
> concepts,
> language and writing system are new, and the pupil doesn't have a wide
> experience of life situations, will a purely right-handed dictionary
> cause
> problems?
> Sandy
> <turn.gif>

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