Summary of writing steps for SignWriting

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Fri Oct 7 13:55:31 UTC 2005

Good point. I agree with your distinction about writing lexical items 
and writing a sign in discourse. Perhaps that means I should expand #1?

1. Identify the sign's anchor. For lexical items, it may mean the 
neutral space in front of the body or it could be some location on or 
near the body. In some cases, body shifts or other non-manual markers 
may shift the "anchor" of the sign to a different location than its 
lexical "anchor" during a discourse. Further, signs whose "anchors" 
have spatial meaning (such as index pronouns or polycomponential verbs) 
may vary widely where their "anchor" is located depending on its use in 
a sentence.

(Side Note: I learned that some linguists prefer the term 
"polycomponential verbs" instead of "classifiers". I think their 
reasoning makes sense when you consider the original linguistic meaning 
for "classifier".  So that is why I used that term above.)

Does this take us closer to a helpful description?



On Oct 7, 2005, at 4:29, Ingvild Roald wrote:

> 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.
> Ingvild
>> 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.
>> Thanks,
>> Stuart

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