Advantages of ASL GLoss for SignWriting

Daniel Noelpp d.noelpp at GMX.CH
Mon Mar 29 09:20:57 UTC 2004

I wrote as an answer to Charles Butler:

> I would like to see how the Chinese and Japanese enter their symbols on
> the computer. I found something about "input methods", and as I
> understood it for Japanese, they enter the word as pronounced with
> Latin letters and the input method displays the symbol or the symbols
> and with a hit on Enter the symbol get pasted to the text. I am not
> sure whether I understood this process fully but I think that
> SignWriting should and can learn from Japanese and Chinese in this
> aspect.
> Just my humble opinion.
> Daniel Noelpp

And this was Charles Butlers's reply:

> I understand your query, sir, in reference to Chinese and Japanese 
> printing system, both of which have sound systems which then are 
> translated into "whole word" characters.  However, the presumption is 
> based on SW as translating one language, ASL, not writing human 
> movement, which is not based on any single sign language.  If I were 
> to write "tree", I have the choice of at least 4 different movements 
> depending on whether that is ASL, Chinese Sign Language, Japanese Sign 
> Language, or some variants of Brazilian Sign Language.  A keyboarding 
> system would have to be tied to a complete translation system of a 
> current ASL to English Gloss rather than be a Chinese typewriter, for 
> example, with 64 key strokes that can create any character, old as 
> well as new.  SW is the same, it writes what my hands actually do.  
> Dictionaries can only help so far, new creation of signs that are 
> direct sign language, without gloss, are needed. 

No I am afraid, I did not. I don't presume that SW is translating only 
one language. For each sign language one needs a different dictionary. 
If you have a dictionary for ASL you cannot use it for typing Swiss 
German Sign language.

About me: I am Deaf born Swiss and raised in an oralistic school. 
Signing was forbidden in this school but we signed behind the backs of 
the teachers anyway. At the age of 10 my hearing parents found that 
this school was not good for me. So I got "mainstreamed". This is my 
story. Now I am going to University and writing the new SignWriter in 
Java and Swing.

Daniel Noelpp

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