Summary of writing steps for SignWriting

Ingvild Roald iroald at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 7 09:29:12 UTC 2005

Very commendable, Stuart

Personally, I would say that a sign seen in context is often different from 
the sign given as a lexical item. But even lexil items may be articulated to 
the side of the body, or high up or down, even if it is not in contact with 
the body.

For writing fluent texts, location becomes very important. So a lexical item 
that is in neutral space may have to be written far off to the left, or 
somewhere else, depending.

Thus I think that our first step is to decide wether what we see is part of 
a signed meaning, or if it is a sigel sign that we can enter as a lexical 
item. If it is part of a signed meaning, we have to decide wether the sign 
has been modified because of the context, or if it is in the lexical form.


>From: "Stuart Thiessen" <sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG>
>Reply-To: sw-l at
>To: sw-l at
>Subject: [sw-l] Summary of writing steps for SignWriting
>Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 00:46:24 -0500
>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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