Elliptical circle vs. True circle

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Mon Aug 1 03:41:01 UTC 2005

See comments below ...


On Jul 31, 2005, at 21:47, Charles Butler wrote:

> Stuar? Query: How do I write an elliptical circle.
> Query back: Is there a critical difference between circle and 
> ellipse?  What I mean is: Is there a minimal pair of two signs where 
> an ellipse means one thing and the same hands moving in a circle mean 
> something else entirely? I'm not saying that such a thing does not 
> exist, only that I haven't run across it in any ASL manual I have.

Actually, in ASL, you can show two different aspects of a verb where 
the movement changes to convey the aspect. One uses a slow elliptical 
movement and one uses a small circular movement.  Klima and Bellugi in 
their book Signs of Language describe some of these movements. I'm 
looking into them, but since they don't use any notation system to 
describe it other than line drawings and English movement description, 
it is hard to tell exactly what they mean.  It may be for everyday 
writing that we can use combinations of existing symbols for those, but 
when we want to use SW for research purposes, I think it may be 
valuable to have those variations noted somehow.  Maybe we just need a 
"diacritic" of some kind that says this circle is actually an ellipse. 
That would save the extra rotations, etc.

I'm no fan of added symbols, but we have two kinds of need ... everyday 
writing which may not need it, and research writing which will likely 
need it until they are sure it is not required for writing.



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