Typing BSL Fingerspelling

Sandy Fleming sandy at FLEIMIN.DEMON.CO.UK
Mon Feb 9 20:57:24 UTC 2004

Hi Val and everbody!

Val wrote:

> to make changes. I have had guests from the UK show me British
> Fingerspelling in person and I think it is very beautiful...Like
> choreography of the fingers!

I was reading a book recently which put forward the theory that this
fingerspelling goes right back to the Druids in Britain. Apparently Druids
used fingerspelling as a code and wrote it as Ogham script, which can still
be seen on standing stones, especially around Aberdeen. Then an Aberdeen man
named Dalgranoch devised a precursor to the modern British fingerspelling.
Statistical analysis suggests that Dalgranoch actually based his
fingerspelling on the Ogham script from stones he'd seen, so it's as if
we're using a fingerspelling system that was inspired by a writing system
that was in turn inspired by a fingerspelling system  :)

> standardized Fingerspelling Keyboard, using the Sign Keyboard. If you
> can construct the BSL Fingerspelling in Sign Mode in a SGN document,
> then I can try to re-do the BSL Fingerspelling Keyboard in SignWriter
> DOS for you, if you would like.

OK, it can be the first thing I do when I get back to this BSL dictionary -
I've been thinking a lot about it and now have a proper plan of attack, even
if I'm still a bit short of time!

> There is a font for BSL Fingerspelling there. The Keyboard design for
> that font (see attached diagram), was designed by Michael Everson, and
> he placed some numbers on the top row...We couldn't get a decision from
> people in the UK on which numbering system they wanted to use from
> BSL...there are apparently several ways to sign the numbers from 1-10
> in BSL in different regions of the country?...What do you think of the
> numbers, Sandy? Smile...maybe you could show it to a few signers to get

Yes, numbers (and colours) are different in different areas. The numbers on
the keyboard are quite a widespread system but they're not the easiest
system to sign (especially "6"!). Numbers above 10 also vary considerably in
different regions.


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