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

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Dec 6 17:36:01 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
December 6, 2004

Sandy Fleming wrote:
> You may remember that I explained a straightforward modification to
> SWML to
> allow large numbers of variants of a sign to be expressed with very
> little
> SWML. The left-handed version of a sign could simply be treated as a
> variant
> of the right-handed version. We could write the dictionary (and if
> required,
> word processing) software so that it can give the user the left-handed
> form
> of the sign if he has chosen this as a setting. Dictionary signs often
> don't
> have location informaton so that a lot of them wouldn't need to have a
> variatn expression - in the absence of a variant the software could
> simply
> provide a mirror-image of the stored sign. Of course, mirroring could
> also
> be used with locational signs - it's logical and would reduce the
> amount
> information required to express the variant.
> Val, I know you prefer to think visually but I'd suggest you learn to
> read
> SWML - it's not that hard and would help you to understand the
> potential of
> the system when used with variants. I really feel that people are
> missing
> something important here.

Hello Everyone, and Sandy!
Thanks for these suggestions...smile...and certainly I could learn SWML
and perhaps someday I will, but meanwhile I am wearing too many hats,
so I am, at this time at least, leaving the programming to the
programmers. I see my job as explaining how the writing system works,
so that programmers like yourselves can then devise programs to fit a
writing system that began as a handwriting...Fitting an
already-existing handwriting into the world of computers, without
changing the handwriting to fit the computers is the goal, and I think
programmers to date have been doing an excellent job with that!

Although I don't read SWML at the moment, I am not sure that I am
missing something...Programming variants could be useful for some
programs...but for writing detailed movement, such as Deaf
storytelling, I am afraid that variants would be limiting and in turn
could hurt the writing system...so I think they have to be applied with
caution, and only in some programs...

I still want to be able to type directly in SignWriting without the
restrictions of pre-defined linguistic variants...like SignWriter DOS
or Stephen Slevinski's new MovementWriter program...I personally need
flexibility to be able to type unusual movements that no
standardization could ever know in advance...like mime and gesture and
dance and foreign signed languages I don't know...but your idea of
variants would be great for languages that people have already analyzed
and know the parameters of...

Val ;-)

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