Stylistics - Handshapes

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Fri Aug 5 09:31:31 UTC 2005

Hi List!

You may remember discussions in the past where quite a few people wanted 
some sort of SignWriting modified for handwriting easier handwriting - 
or so that the system can be written cursively instead of having to 
"draw" the signs a bit like you might copy the style of  printed 
material by "drawing" it instead of writing it.

Some suggestions for handwriting seem to be based on the shorthand 
system or by losing some of the information in other ways. This isn't 
the way it's done in oral language writing, where instead of imitating 
printed matter, letters are written quite differently to suit the pen 
and the human hand. In the Roman alphabet there are even two different 
handwriting systems - cursive and carolignian - which are designed to 
suit different kinds of pens and sensibilities.

So instead of resorting to shorthand or data loss, I've gradually, 
through usage, figured out some cursive ways of writing SW. See the 
attachment for how I write various kinds of handshapes and how I do 
shading. It shows a sample of handshapes, but I have no trouble writing 
any BSL handshape using similar principles.

There are a few guidleines for writing handshapes cursively:

1. If the index finger is to be written, start writing at the tip of the 
index finger.
2. For spread hands, start writing at the tip of the baby finger and end 
the first stroke at the tip of the thumb.

Shading is done using a multiplication cross - it's like, instead of the 
black and white gloves you have gloves with a cross on the back. I tried 
a lot of different shapes for the hand shading but this is the only one 
I've found that works well for all orientations.

Any thoughts, opinions or further ideas?


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