Voting on PUDLs dictionary

Stephen Slevinski slevin at PUDL.INFO
Sat Mar 27 01:11:56 UTC 2004

Hey Bill,

I'm not too discouraged.  I'm happy with what the dictionary is and does.
Many of the elements you listed could be included in the definition field.
I hope it is good enough for now.

The current dictionary is about done.  But if PUDL is ever incorporated, and
the dictionary project is funded, the dictionary software will need to
include many of the items you listed.

In the future, I may try and put together the design for a real dictionary
and post it on the website for feedback.

The main requirements I have for the dictionary are...
- The signs are sorted according to the SSS
- The definitions for the signs are in SignWriting
- There is an ASL gloss index

My current dictionary does not yet sort signs according to the SSS.  I know
how I will do that, but that's for another day.

I would also like to package many of the existing utilities I have and make
them available for download so that others could easily add SignWriting to
their website using the same tools I use.

Anyway, thanks for the comments,

-----Original Message-----
From: SignWriting List [mailto:SW-L at ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA]On Behalf Of
Bill Reese
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2004 11:18 AM
Subject: Re: Voting on PUDLs dictionary


Don't let the following discourage you.  :-)
It's a "wish list" of what a dictionary could be - with the aim at
enhancing the literacy of the one using the dictionary.

1. "Me help you" seems more like a "Usage" rather than a "Definition".
Perhaps a separate field could be created for Usage.

2. We could have a "Pronunciation" listing which could use the special
symbols Val has created to aid in forming a sign.

3. "(Verb)" is a "Parts of Speech" item and could be a separate
listing.  Some signs may be nouns and verbs and a separate entry could
be used for both.  Then there are signs used as pronouns, adjectives,
adverbs, prepositions, or conjunctions.

4.  Then there are Inflected Forms.  For instance, when we sign "you" or
"me" using the index finger and pointing, we are using the same basic
handshape.  But when we make the plural sign "us" we use a different
sign altogether.  This is an inflected form.  I'm not sure if signing
"before" or "future" before or after a verb sign (such as "come") would
constitute an inflected form of the main entry ("come") but it would be
interesting to explore this possibility.  Whatever, the idea is that we
could have an entry for inflected forms.

5. Of course, Definitions would be just that and we could list them
according to which ones are most frequently used with the most
frequently used definition first.  That could be a voting item.  And how
do we define ASL?  With English gloss, with ASL, or both?  :-)

6. We could have Restrictive Labels.
This could be something that is "Slang" or "Informal."
It could  include "Illiterate" forms of a sign (like home signs) and
"Dialectal" forms (signs that are used in a certain area - like "New
York" or "Boston").
Some signs could be listed which are "Archaic" or "Obsolete," such as
the old signs for "China", "Japan" and "Russia", which were changed to
be more politically correct.  The old signs could still be listed but
labeled as "Obsolete."  And there are many signs that are said to be
used by the "older signers" and their use may be deemed "Archaic."
We could have some Locality Labels as well, which may indicate the
country of use.  For instance, ASL may be used outside of the U.S. and
there may be an ASL sign in that other locality that would be different
than the one used in the U.S.
Field Labels could identify signs that are used in a certain field of
endeaver, such as "Chemistry" or "Biology."
We could have a Foreign label also for any signs that are of a foreign
sign language but used in day-to-day ASL conversation.  Off hand, I
can't think of any sign but in English we may be familiar with "Hasta la
Vista!"  While not adopted in the language itself, it's still used and
we could give the language from which it originates.

7. Rolling right along ... a Varient Form of a sign could be listed
under the main entry.  This could be used where the sign is basically
the same but has some minor variation.  For instance, some people may
sign the basic sign for "help" by moving the dominant hand onto the
non-dominant hand and others may put both hands together and make a
short movement of both hands.  They both are meant to be "help" without
any direction (such as "you help me") yet one way may be the most
commonly used and the other can be listed as a variant.

8. There could be Cross-references as well, where it would be useful to
direct attention to the definition of another sign.  For instance, the
sign for "Father" may say "see Mother" where you can make a comparison
noting the similarity between the signs.  Of course "Mother" could say
"See Father" ... they usually do ... ;-)

9. Entymology.  This is a useful field in ASL when we would like to know
which signs are native and which came from the French sign language that
was adopted as the basis of ASL.  We could even list signs that ASL has
adopted from SEE or CASE.

10. We could even have "Synonyms" where two completely different signs
have the same meaning and each are listed with the other sign.  Or even
"Antonyms" which shows a sign that has the opposite meaning.

Just food for thought.


Stephen Slevinski wrote:

>Hi Adam,
>I have changed the voting page.  It should make more sense now.  I hope.
>And about the definitions...  The definitions can be used for many
>They can describe the origins of the sign, where it is used, what the sign
>means, ...
>I do not know what form they should take.  However, the definitions will be
>displayed in SignWriting.  Here is a suggestions that I made for help_3:
>"(verb) me help you."
>So before you suggest a definition, you may want to use the translation
>to verify that it looks the way that you want.
>-Stephen Slevinski
>-----Original Message-----
>From: SignWriting List [mailto:SW-L at ADMIN.HUMBERC.ON.CA]On Behalf Of
>Adam Frost
>Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2004 9:37 PM
>Subject: Re: Voting on PUDLs dictionary
>Stephen and everyone,
>I tried PUDL with the voting. I was confused. Is the yes or no question
>asking if the old name should be kept? Or is it the new name? I wanted to
>cast my vote, but I wasn't sure what to put.
>Also, about the definitions, what form do you want them to follow, if any?
>.....A dictionary form that has the part of speech etc, or just
>"what-the-sign-means" definition?
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