[sw-l] Spelling of ASL Wallet (retry #3)

Bill Reese wreese01 at TAMPABAY.RR.COM
Thu Jun 16 14:17:53 UTC 2005

This is an interesting discussion in that the choices would need to be
available and not rated.  That is to say that we would need a way to
access and use the signs that would not imply preference.  Otherwise, a
sign with just the root word, like "Wallet" may be thought of as the
preferred spelling over "Wallet_1", "Wallet_2", etc, with the variations
being ordered in descending preferance.

I would agree with Charles that we need a standard spelling if this was
a published work which was being specifically designed to standardize
spellings.  As it is, with this work being a study in progress, a
volatile work as it is - with change and refinement as part of it's
design - then I agree with Val that we need to include variations and
let the use of the variants guide the choice of standardized spellings.

When Noah Webster created the first dictionary, he didn't dictatorially
decide on the standard spelling(s); he researched how the words were
used and spelled to make his determinations.

The entymiology of a word, showing its root and usage, is often traced
to a single document, in which the author coined the word.   So, too, I
would believe, we need to rely on the published literature for the
entymiology and standardization of sign spellings.  Since the pool of
available documents is limited at this time, I don't see how it can
definitive over the whole scope of the language.  Indeed, do we have
works of the arts and the professions, to guide us on their spellings?

Unfortunately, as much as we would want to have a definitive work now,
it simply isn't possible.

However, since the Sign Puddle dictionaries, aren't definitive works,
then the choices within them need to be presented without prejudice.


Kimberley A. Shaw wrote:

>Hello all:
>as a musician, I must respond -- that even though there is a standard way
>to write half notes, a half note can also be written by tying two quarter
>notes together, by two dotted quarters (in 6/8 time) or even a whole note
>(in cut time), etc!
>One of the things I most enjoy about SignPuddle (or at least the ASL part)
>is seeing the different spellings that have been figured out, and then
>figuring out which one works the best in actual use -- and I really love
>the concept that there *are* so many ways that the same sign can be
>spelled understandably! For example, the reason I've just gone and added
>another spelling of "story" is simply that the original spelling, clear
>and effective as it is, was simply too wide for the columns I had set up
>for something I'd been writing in vertical format. Somehow, nearly all of
>the other signs I happened to be using in those pages seemed to be much
>I am also thinking of what printed English looked like in Shakespearean
>days, when "correct" spellings were not yet standardized. It is a
>privilege -- and I think will be a lot of fun -- to just use our various
>SW spellings, read each other's SignWritings, and see in the long run
>which ones stand the test of time.
>Having said that, I also do see and understand your point that there
>shouldn't be 8 ways to write the same exact sign in the dictionary ... but
>there should be *some* room for spelling variation of the same thing. And
>more room, of course, for true sign variation as well!
>Kim from Boston
>sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 at 6:11 PM -0500
>>Dear Valerie, et al.
>>I spelled it "wallets" largely because I couldn't find
>>it when I first created it.  The dataprogram saved it
>>originally as Wallet_7_2 and that didn't come up
>>anywhere.  The only way to save it so I could find was
>>to save it as a plural.
>>I understand your desire not to be a dictator, but you
>>are the inventor, and are still alive, and I mean that
>>with infinite respect.  A half-note on a scale can
>>only be written with one marking in Western notation.
>>No matter how you place it on a staff, it is still a
>>half note.
>>If I do a given movement, there should be one
>>"preferred" spelling that clearly shows that movement
>>and no other.  I may change perspective from top, to
>>side, to front, but the movement itself does not
>>change depending on my orientation--just the
>>orientation--and that I can write--but the handshape
>>remains the same, whether I write it once or twice
>>should be standardized, and particularly if it shows
>>an internal "movement".
>>If you are saying that "flexing" for the sign "wallet"
>>is NOT shown by a wrist flex, then any of the
>>spellings that show a wrist flex are WRONG, and those
>>that do not are RIGHT, and not simply variants.
>>For me, as a researcher, a dictionary should be
>>showing the standard, not every variation on a theme
>>or a stripped down version, unless they are showing
>>entirely different handshapes, and entirely different
>>If I'm transcribing a sign in the field, I need to
>>know that what I write will show one movement, and no
>>other, one handshape, and no other, and that every
>>other writer in the field will use the writing system
>>in the same way.
>>Else you would not be reading this message in English,
>>but in some variation of the IPA depending on my
>>pronunciation, not the written form of English.
>>If I am trying to type an email message, how am I to
>>remember, using your gloss form, that the form I want
>>for this one movement, that we are all agreeing on, is
>>Wallet_8, or Wallet_9, or Wallet_2.  If there were two
>>different movements or handshapes involved, I would
>>understand, but this is one movement, one set of
>>handshapes, one end result to be shown.
>>It's not, for me, a matter of "usage" Valerie.  It is
>>what is consistent to the system, and what is not.  I
>>am trying to write this message with all due respect
>>to multiple users, and have shown a variant that
>>answers some of the very queries that have come
>>If my variation is WRONG, take it away, if it shows
>>everything that is required, without losing
>>information, and follows all the logic of the system
>>without leaving essential information out, and shows
>>it clearly, MORE than other variations, upon first
>>glance, it should be the standard.
>>We need to learn ONE method, not, as of this count, 8
>>different spellings for the exact same movement.  We
>>could discuss every spelling in the dictionary in the
>>same way, and that would make it completely unwieldly.
>>Now that you know what the movement actually is,
>>Valerie, what is your choice?
>>You are the inventor, and your word is the law.  You
>>invented it, and we all learn from your example.  Only
>>you can decide, once all the variants are in front of
>>you, what the BEST way to write one movement is.
>>Charles Butler
>>--- Valerie Sutton <sutton at signwriting.org> wrote:
>>>SignWriting List
>>>June 15, 2005
>>>Great. Right now all that matters is that the
>>>different choices are
>>>there, in SignPuddle, and in time we will see which
>>>spelling people
>>>use more, so standardized spellings are not
>>>something that we
>>>force...we just let people choose what they want and
>>>in time it
>>>becomes very obvious which one was chosen most...so
>>>thanks for adding
>>>it in SignPuddle. I have a question...why wallets,
>>>and not wallet? Is
>>>their a difference between the two signs in ASL?
>>>Val ;-)
>>>On Jun 15, 2005, at 1:15 PM, Charles Butler wrote:
>>>It's under "wallets" in the Sign Puddle.  How do
>>>people feel about it?  Should this be a standard
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