[sw-l] SignWriting Report, Hamburg Germany, July 2004

Valerie Sutton sutton at signwriting.org
Thu Jul 15 14:21:57 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
July 15, 2004

Dear SW List Members:
Several enthusiastic signwriters have written to me with reports on 
their progress. There are some exciting projects around the world...One 
person expressed concern that maybe the List members would not be 
interested to know all those details, but I believe just the 
opposite....It is important to have a record of SignWriting being used 
around the world...and stories of progress in one area, can stimulate 
and inspire others....Therefore, in August I hope to create a web page 
where List members can write a SignWriting report, on the web, and send 
it to the SignWriting List, in a specific format, to help us read the 
reports....Here is the format I suggest...and right now, you all can 
follow this format when writing reports to the List. To create a 
SignWriting Report, use the format below.....And ALL your reports are 
important to us and very welcome!  Val ;-)

Date: July 15, 2004
From: Stefan Woehrmann
Country: Germany

Report about...

Stefan is teaching a seminar on SignWriting at the University of 
Hamburg this July, 2004.


Stefan wrote: I started with "Pictogram - reading" as I call the task 
to remember - ( without insight) the Gestalt of some 30 GebardenSchrift 
(SignWriting) - signs - The students experienced that they were able to 
memorize these 30 "pictures" without any problem. I made a printout 
from some of your ASL - Picture dictionary - so the students had to 
find the combination of written GebaerdenSchrift, written German and 
the drawing -- The clou is that I asked them to discuss their ideas, 
guesses, -- until They feel comfortable with their combinations. So 
without any previous information or knowledge about SW they were able 
to solve this task!  !!!!!!!

Next step - another row of ABC-signs written in GebaerdenSchrift - I 
created a special TT - Font so that I can write Documents as if typing 
with "Arial" but instead of the letters each time a written SW- sign 
shows up. The effect is that the participants without realizing this  
speed up immensely to identify the single signs that stand for the 
first letter of the German term - And it seems to be so much fun for 
the learner.

Afterwards we start with understanding- and this time I asked them to 
follow taking notes - so after the basic handshapes - the first three 
orientations , adding fingers - I explained the Mundbilder- You know - 
I am absolutely confident that the Mundbilder are a very
important aspect ( not only ) in German SL. So what we experience is 
that due to the multiple possibilities  of some Mundbilder - we get a 
feeling of the difficult task of deaf children if they try to lip-read 
...I explained only the vocals and some (5) consonants .. and asked 
them to write words in Mundbilder and to ask their partners to try to 
find out ... Really much fun!! .. and success ...

Afterwards I asked them to write again and again different - "simple" 
handshapes and orientations - front view -- my switch to improve my 
handwriting seems to be an important support in teaching 
GebaerdenSchrift.. In the end we looked at Your  SignWriting.org and  
SignBank.org Websites - where I showed them where to get wonderful 
download - materials - You know that I still feel uncomfortable  with 
any other but SignWriter 4.4 running under Windows 98 - but since 
people switch more and more to XP there is no doubt that I have to 
learn the possibilities of running SW under XP with DOS - Box -- -- 
since SW 5.5 is still way back behind the possibilities of  SW4.4 - and 
I am afraid that the Brazilian or Java-script SW program will need some 
more programming in order to be able to type documents as easy as we 
are accustomed ...


11 participants allow a personal feedback - - no problem! And again and 
again I assure to them that YOU   (Valerie Sutton)  would allow them to 
write their versions ... but Stefan would recommend this version 
(smile) ....Of course there are always several ways .. and they really 
felt happy to experience this easy-going progress.. All the time I had 
to clean the blackboard again and again -- because of all the 
handwriting I was doing along my instructions - Contrary to the 
presentation of gig - by gif  - by gif  - the handwriting takes time 
and people see what you are doing, they can follow - while I am writing 
I can talk , comment, explain ... and the participants feel relieve if 
their writing is so clean, clear - good looking - ( ha it is much 
easier to write on a sheet of paper with squares - but I do not comment 
that ;-)) )  This morning a student from this seminar came to the 
seminar and showed two pages handwritten GebardenSchrift  - ( we agreed 
upon a new definition as GebardenSchrift is Sutton SignWriting plus 
standardized Mundbilder for German SL ;-)) )   So even I had not 
explained some movements this young woman was able to really write a 
meaningful message - she offered this way the homepage-software - 
support of her friend if I need any - that was too kind and amazing.


Please see attached photo of Stefan Woehrmann teaching MundbildSchrift 

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