Summary of writing steps for SignWriting

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Fri Oct 7 05:46:24 UTC 2005

I was just looking for a way to describe in basic, simple terms how we 
move from a sign we see to a sign we write. Any feedback on these steps 
as a way to describe this process? It would be much appreciated. I came 
up with these steps. I am not sure about the timing of #6, but I just 
put it there for now. I wanted to think of a way to help people 
visualize the process. This is what I catch myself doing. What about 
you all?

1. Identify the sign’s “anchor.” This could be neutral space in front 
of the body or it could be some location on the body.
2. If hands are involved (we should never assume always), we need to 
identify the handshape(s) and orientation(s) and select the 
corresponding symbol(s), placing the symbol(s) in 2D relationship to 
the anchor.
3. If the hand(s) contact the body or each other, we need to select the 
appropriate contact symbol to represent the contact.
4. Unless the sign is stationary or only consisting of simple contact, 
we now look to identify the movement of the hand(s) and select the 
appropriate movement symbol(s).
5. If the hand(s) change to another handshape(s) during the movement, 
we select those handshape(s) and note their location(s).
6. Finally, we note any particular dynamics (fast, slow, tense, etc.) 
and any non-manual markers that are essential to the sign.



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