[sw-l] SignWriting | Theoretical issues

Anne van Rossum a.c.vanrossum at STUDENT.TUDELFT.NL
Wed Feb 23 00:06:51 UTC 2005

Hello Valerie. Happy birthday. :-) Hi everybody. I want to reply with one 
message to your different posts, if that's no problem.

At 00:31 22-2-2005, Valerie Sutton wrote:
>I am sorry I did not realize your name was Andy...I thought it was Anne 
>because of the email address...I will be happy to answer your questions..I 
>hope others on the SignWriting List will jump in and give their two cents 

It's a Dutch name - Anne - but on the internet and in foreign countries I 
use quite often Andy, because I'm a guy. :-) Sorry if it looks as if I do 
ask novice questions, I spent a lot of time on your sites, and did read 
many things, but wasn't able to pose specific questions. I also want to 
apologize for having another goal than you all. I want to use your 
expertise in describing a language in a different modality (gestural) to 
use in creating an environment for languages in still another modality 

Thanks for mentioning SSS, I missed it and it's essential for 
lexicographically ordering.

>In the American Sign Language online dictionary, we have around 3,300 
>signs...Go look at them...  The German Sign Language Dictionary, in 
>SignWriter DOS, has over 10,000 entries.
>The sequence of symbols in SignWriting is called the Sign-Symbol-Sequence 
>or SSS. In the International Movement Writing Alphabet, which is our 
>entire set of symbols for writing all body movement and all signed 
>languages, there are 50 groups of symbols.

SignWriter Java
SignWriting notation does have to encode for 3,000 - 10,000 signs (on the 
basis of "distinctive features" and "double articulation theory" if I'm 
right). It's using for that a corpse of 50 symbol groups. A feature-based 
notation system for spoken English (10,000 words) would be based on lip 
movements, tongue position, amount of air flux... The amount of symbols 
(per - different - feature) would be much larger than the alphabet with 26 
symbols. The same problem does exist for an iconic languages (with e.g. 
10,000 icons).
How to work with large sets of symbols (especially composing) is therefore 
a very important issue.

I saw that in SignWriter Java a normal keyboard is used where the digits 
0-9, some extra keys, and the letters asdfghjkl are being used. Actually I 
am looking for the theory behind the way the keyboard is used to access the 
symbols. Is that investigated?

This has also to do with my questions about used conceptual hierarchies and 
so on. I see now that the symbols are used as a very large alphabet. In 
that way composition of sentences can be done with just adding (feature) 
symbols. Searching is in a lexicographical way, not in a conceptual way. 
Now - thanks Antônio Carlos - I understand fully what the consequences are 
of using a phonetic notation. Besides, with an iconic* language, I mean a 
language with pictographic (iconic) and ideographic parts; similar to a 
sign language or a spoken language (with onomatopoetic words).

Thank you all for your time!



* If you know a better name, I'm your man. The terms picture language, 
visual language, graphical language are all in use or can be misinterpreted 
as well

Anne C. van Rossum
<http://www.tudelft.nl/>TUDelft - 
<http://new.ewi.tudelft.nl/>EWI/<http://academics.its.tudelft.nl/nl/>ITS - 
Master <http://msc.its.tudelft.nl/mke/>Media & Knowledge 
<http://msc.its.tudelft.nl/mke/>engineering, Thesis 
<http://elektron.et.tudelft.nl/~avrossum/study.xml>Iconic Language & 
Cognitive Psychology
         languages: Nederlands + English + Español; nationality: Dutch; 
gender: male  
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