[sw-l] Detailed and Simplified Entries in Dictionaries

Bill Reese wreese01 at TAMPABAY.RR.COM
Sun Jun 19 18:27:19 UTC 2005


I'm just chiming in here a little bit to reinforce the idea of a 
dictionary with a regular spelling and then the detailed pronunciation 
of it. I'm reminded of the special symbols you made a while back that 
were designed specifically to aid in that.  What would be a prototypical 
dictionary entry in Signwriting that would be similar to a spoken 
language one?   For instance, the following is an entry in an english 
dictionary for "pronunciation."   How could this be done in SignWriting?

Main Entry: pro·nun·ci·a·tion 
Pronunciation: pr&-"n&n(t)-sE-'A-sh&n also ÷-"naun(t)-
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English pronunciacion, from Middle French 
prononciation, from Latin pronuntiation-, pronuntiatio, from pronuntiare
: the act or manner of pronouncing something
- pro·nun·ci·a·tion·al  /-shn&l, -sh&-n&l/ adjective


Valerie Sutton wrote:

> SignWriting List
> June 19, 2005
> Dear SW List -
> I think our last series of messages about the sign for WALLET in ASL,  
> hightlights an important issue regarding the development of the  
> International Movement Writing Alphabet (the IMWA). Steve has given  
> us an enormous gift in SignMaker...the use of the IMWA before it is  
> finished. I am adding new symbols to the IMWA while you are using it.  
> The new symbols are not really new. They are symbols that are used  
> right now, in different countries, or in older documents. But they  
> are not in the IMWA yet.
> To be able to use the IMWA before it is finished is amazing...for me  
> too...because some of these symbols have been used without  
> documentation, and so I am chasing to catch up with creating lessons  
> for symbols that some of you have never seen! smile...And meanwhile I  
> have more symbols to add...so it is hard for me to give you the  
> proper textbook instruction you deserve. But it will come in  
> time...that is why I hope you will continue to ask questions on the  
> SW List...it helps me too, because it shows me what symbols are hard  
> to learn...
> So Steve's gift to us...the use of the IMWA in a computer  
> program...is stimulating a faster resolution to the different ways of  
> writing in 30 countries, and giving us a forum to discuss it all...so  
> we are fortunate indeed.
> Did you know, for example, in spoken languages that use the Roman  
> alphabet, that some languages use more alphabetic symbols than  
> others? For example, the English alphabet uses 26 letters (symbols).  
> But in Danish, they use three more...so they have 29...So people  
> using each spoken language, years ago, had to determine what letters  
> (symbols) they needed to write their specific spoken language. I call  
> that a language-specific symbolset. The International Phonetic  
> Alphabet (the IPA) is not language-specific. It is more general and  
> is an attempt to be language-neutral, attempting to write exact  
> sounds rather than specific languages (I realize this is a  
> simplification, but generally I believe that was the idea behind the  
> IPA).
> People may have the mis-impression, that they need to learn EVERY  
> symbol in the IMWA. But that would not be realistic, nor would it be  
> necessary. Each signed language only uses SOME of the symbols in the  
> IMWA. When people create signs in SignMaker, they choose the symbols  
> they need, and after awhile, they know where those specific symbols  
> are located. They are really writing with a smaller symbolset, even  
> though they are accessing the entire IMWA through SignMaker. That  
> smaller subset of symbols is the beginning of a language-specific  
> symbolset.
> Steve added a new feature to SignPuddle recently, called Search by  
> Symbol Frequency. This is an excellent feature, because once you have  
> around 500 signs in your dictionary, when you go to the area called  
> Symbol Frequency, you can see immediately which handshapes were used  
> in your 500 signs. As your dictionary builds, the Symbol Frequency  
> section gives us the information we will need later, to pin down the  
> language-specific symbolset for your Sign Language.
> So first, I want you to know that I feel your pain...smile...I know  
> you all have a hard job, trying to determine which symbols you need  
> to write with, from such a large group of symbols in the IMWA. Future  
> generations will not be in the pioneering position you are in today,  
> but I hope you can enjoy the process like an adventure. You can telll  
> your grandchildren about it - ha!
> And second, the issue of phonetic and phonemic, or if you wish to  
> call them cheretic and cheremic...whatever term is used...We can  
> choose to write a sign in a very detailed way (phonetic) or a more  
> simiplified way (phonemic), and neither are wrong or right...both  
> have their place. The detailed spellings are more for research and  
> for an exact-pronunciation-guide, and the simplified spellings are  
> more for children, beginners, and everyday documents for reading  
> pleasure. We do not read novels, in the English language, in the  
> IPA...that would not be for pleasure, because it is too much detail.
> So I suggest that in our dictionary entries, later, when we have true  
> published dictionaries, that we include both the simplified and  
> detailed spelling for each sign, so that people have a pronunciation- 
> guide, but also a way to write quickly that others read quickly. That  
> would be similar to spoken language dictionaries which include both too.
> Right now in SignPuddle we are learning the difference between what  
> is detailed, and what is acceptable as simplified...so it will take a  
> little time to determine this...but this is what I foresee for the  
> future of dictionaries in SignWriting.
> What are your thoughts about this?
> Val ;-)
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