[sw-l] Questions about movement writing

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Nov 19 06:10:47 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
November 18, 2004

Mo, Zhenyao wrote:
> About wierd signs... for example, I can make such a
> hand pose: ring finger is upon little finger, middle
> finger is upon ring finger, index finger is upon
> middle finger, and thumb is upon index finger. Well,
> it's a wierd shape, and I have to use another hand to
> help put fingers in position. So, my question is, can these wierd hand
> poses also be
> described using sign writing?

YES. They can be described. I believe I told you before about the
International Movement Writing Alphabet, the IMWA?

What the International Phonetic Alphabet is to spoken languages....the
IMWA is to movement-based languages...or signed languages. I believe
you have already downloaded SignBank, which houses the SymbolBank
database? SymbolBank holds the symbols of the IMWA.

Download SignBank

or you can use the IMWA symbols to construct signs in the SignMaker
program on the web:


When it comes to writing unusual handshapes, there are two different
worlds...the world of writing by hand, and the world of typing by
computer. Writing by hand is easier, because if you know the rules of
handshape construction, even if you have never written that shape
before, you can write it. The computer limits us to the symbols that
are in the computer program. So the IMWA that is in SymbolBank &
SignMaker right now is not complete...there are more symbols that I
need to add, especially parts of the stick figure...so that is one
problem that I hope to solve...I know people are waiting for those

What are the rules of handshape construction?

They are written in this manual, on page 72:

IMWA Reference Manual

See next message for Lessons in Handshape Construction. I will teach
you how to write your weird handshape!!

Val ;-)

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