Belgium: Handshape symbols used for searching...

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Mar 30 15:23:06 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
March 30, 2004

Steven Aerts in Belgium wrote:
> But as you have seen the grouping can be changed very rapidly.  And I
> am sure
> this we will discuss this with our colleagues in Ghent on our next
> meeting.
> (As you know we are better in programming then in Signwriting)


Hello Everyone, and Steven and the Belgian team!
In the next few messages, I will give feedback on the above topic.
Thanks for your patience and your openness to my suggestions...I am
glad you will be discussing this with a team of people...

The symbols that people click on, to find signs, are called
BaseSymbols. As you know, each hand symbol has 96 possible flops,
rotations and palm facings...The BaseSymbol is the representative
symbol from those 96. The BaseSymbols are NOT always the first symbol
in the 96, however. Signers complained to me that if we simply use the
first of the 96 (which we did before)...sometimes they are hard to read
for a variety of we created some rules as to how to list
symbols, and it appears to be working well:


1. The Group-BaseSymbol is the FIRST BaseSymbol in a group of
handshapes. It is the representative symbol for the group.

2. The Group-BaseSymbol establishes the Group, and the BaseSymbols
relating to that Group then follow in Sequence.

3. Group-BaseSymbols are always white palm facing...Viewing the palm of
the hand.

4. All other BaseSymbols are viewed from the side palm facing.

5. This helps the person find the symbol they want, because they know,
as they search, that the Group is represented by a white palm, and the
symbols under that Group are side view...It makes skimming the list of
symbols faster...

6. But most important, it solves a complaint I got from users...Namely
that some of the symbols are hard to read from the front view, so
making the BaseSymbols from the side view solves that problem, because
all symbols are easier to see from the side view...

Please see attached diagram taken from the SSS-2002 list of
symbols...Notice the palm facing...(more coming)...

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