Typing in SignWriting

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Mar 30 19:17:45 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
March 30, 2004

Hello Bill, Stephen, Daniel and Everyone!
Regarding the current English programs that automatically fill in words
for you as you type....To be frank, I hate automatic typing in English!
I always turn that feature off immediately in word processing programs
etc. I type in English with speed and I see no reason to get confused
by the program typing the wrong word!

In SignWriter DOS, it may not be quite as fast as typing English, but
as James Shepard-Kegl mentioned in his recent message (thank you,
James!)...what is the rush? We are not running a race between English
and ASL-typing - smile...we are only hoping that when typing signs
becomes as easy as typing words, that all sign language users will
benefit and more literature can be produced, which is needed badly -

Pasting from the dictionary is not good for ASL or any signed language.
Each sign in a real SignSentence, has facial expressions that are
specific to the placement in the sentence...in other words...in all
dictionaries...certain grammar details are not in the dictionary...that
is true in English too...English dictionaries only list the words, but
not how they are used in sentences most of the time...and in signed
languages, facial expressions change depending on the placement in the
sentence...so our dictionaries can only list the root-sign, without the
facial expression, since there are so many choices...so no dictionary
replacement system, or ASL glossing system, can most likely capture
every grammar possibility that will come up in a sentence...That is why
typing directly in the language is better than pasting...

Val ;-)

On Mar 28, 2004, at 4:14 PM, Bill Reese wrote:

> You know, Val, I was reading your responses and, while pondering the
> issue of typing Signwriting, I remembered something I've seen in some
> word processors.  When typing a word, sometimes the word processor will
> try to fill it in for you - making a guess as what you could be typing.
> Could the same be done with SignWriting using the dictionary entries?
> That as someone types in Signwriting they could be given choices that
> match the first couple of things typed?  I would imagine if this could
> be done, then you would have a solution.  People would find typing to
> be
> easier than cutting and pasting from the dictionary and so would start
> typing.
> Bill
> Valerie Sutton wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> March 28, 2004
>> Dear SW List, and Stephen!
>> Thanks for these questions...
>>> How many signs per minute can a native signer type using SignWriter.
>>> What
>>> is the curve for learning SignWriter and what speeds are possible?
>> Richard Gleaves, the designer of the software SignWriter DOS,
>> collaborated with me, starting in 1986, and our collaboration created
>> a
>> unique and very different kind of typing system, which is built into
>> SignWriter DOS. And because we designed it, and we knew what it can
>> do,
>> I can say that I personally, and a handful of others, can type in
>> SignWriter DOS close to the speed of typing slowly in English...and I
>> believe, with a few design changes, we could make the experience
>> faster
>> too.
>> The keystrokes for typing SignWriting are very interesting and I bet
>> if
>> any of you could come to my home in La Jolla, California, and take a
>> SignWriter typing skills class with me, you too would become faster at
>> typing SignWriting directly.
>> The problem has been, that I have never held such workshops, and of
>> course I should. Stefan Woehrmann, in Germany, has taught workshops on
>> the SignWriter Computer Program for several years now, and I am not
>> sure what techniques of typing skills are included in those courses,
>> because some people become sadly dependent on the pasting from the
>> dictionary feature, which then lets them be a little lazy. They can
>> paste a sign in from the dictionary and simply change it a little to
>> match another sign and then they don't actually develop typing skills
>> for speed.
>> So I was thinking of holding some SignWriter Speed Typing workshops in
>> my home here...anyone interested?
>> As far as testing SignWriter typing for speed versus English, I think
>> we need to hold some courses in typing skills first, but then later
>> such testing for speed could be done...
>> But speed is not really the point...The point is that there is now a
>> way to type directly in the movements of signed languages, and English
>> glosses used to show ASL grammar structure does not give the Deaf
>> child
>> the same experience as typing directly in a language...
>> Val ;-)

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