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

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Dec 7 16:31:33 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
December 7, 2004

Adam Frost wrote:
> This has been a rather interesting discussion. Sorry that I haven't
> been online to respond yet. Val, your comment about co-dominant hand
> signers was funny because I am one. Depending on the situation, I will
> sign with my left as dominant rather than my right. Thus I use both as
> a dominant hand at different times. As one of the editors for the ASL
> Dictionary, I want to share my thoughts in regards to putting the
> leftie's sign. I think that it would be good to have them as entries,
> but not on their own. I was thinking that it would be good to have
> varierants like they are in regular dictionaries; however, before that
> happens, I personally think that the dictionary has a lot of
> developing that needs to take place. So in the meantime, only right
> hand signs. How do the other ASL editors feel about this? (Sorry that
> I can't give a say for the other dictionaries, but do what you feel
> best.)

Hello Everyone, and Adam -
Thanks for your message, and it doesn't surprise me that you switch
dominant hands from left to right, from sign to sign, or at least in
occasional signs...There are quite a number of Deaf people who do
that...That is why I based our SignSpelling rules on dominant and
non-dominant hands, rather than worrying specifically about right or

But in regards to the ASL dictionary in SignPuddle, that is an online
dictionary open to the general public...That dictionary is not just
being used as a dictionary. It is used to create sentences in email,
translations, and text...Therefore, we have no choice but to add
left-handed signs occasionally, since we will need those left-handed
signs if we are writing exactly the way you sign, Adam...

So naturally the online dictionary is a hodgepodge without rules,
because anyone can add a sign to the SignPuddle ASL dictionary...not
just the editors...and to throw out some of those unsusal signs that
people have entered would be a shame, because when they return to send
some email, they will not have the signs they need...

So really, we have the need for two online dictionaries...one that is
edited properly with standardization and is then locked and cannot be
changed, and one that is open and free, as SignPuddle is...

I love SignPuddle and I don't want to change a thing...but I am just
pointing out that we do not have that much control over new people
adding signs the way they want...

But we can control the data that is entered into the SignBank database,
and that wonderful program has the ability to print multiple-language
sign dictionaries...so maybe the SignBank database, that can be
accessed from your desktop, can become the stable ASL dictionary that
follows specific editing guidelines...

Val ;-)

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