Research into Digital Representations of Sign Language

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Mon Oct 10 21:04:37 UTC 2005

Hi, Valerie! Just a mild correction here. Unless a person is aware of 
the syntax and morphology of BSL (or any sign language for that 
matter), a person using the SignPuddle will not necessarily be sending 
an email with BSL.  They will be using BSL signs, but that isn't the 
same as sending an email in BSL. It would be like my grabbing a Danish 
dictionary and sending you a letter using Danish words but probably in 
the wrong word order and without the necessary word endings.  Now, you 
probably will understand my letter, but it won't be properly called 

It probably isn't best to tell people that they can send an email in 
ASL or BSL (if they haven't the understanding of the language) because 
it will either give the mistaken impression that SignMail actually 
translates the spoken language to the sign language, or the mistaken 
impression that the sign language is simply the spoken language on the 
hands. Of course, someone who truly understands the sign language will 
be able to use SignPuddle to produce a grammatical message in that sign 

Perhaps Saduf knows BSL well enough. I can't say because I don't know, 
but that could be an issue for a person who is totally new to the deaf 
experience but liked the idea of a computer project with sign language 
and they misunderstood this point.

Just thought I would throw this out.



On Oct 10, 2005, at 15:34, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> SignWriting List
> October 10, 2005
> Saduf Naqvi from the UK wrote:
>> Let me introduce myself, I am a research student from Goldsmiths 
>> College
>> University of London, and am researching Deaf views on Digital 
>> Representations
>> of Sign Language.
> Hello Saduf and Everyone!
> Welcome to the SignWriting List, Saduf....Your research sounds very 
> interesting (full message pasted below)...
> Have you visited this web page before?
> SignWriting in Great Britain
> You will find a great article on writing BSL in SignWriting. You can 
> download it on that web page. Plus there are other SignWriting sites 
> that come from Great Britain, which you will also find on the above 
> web page...
> Next message I will write an email in SignWriting...I will use 
> American Signs, and place an English translation below. Anyone can do 
> that now. Maybe later you might want to try to send us an email in 
> British Sign Language?
> Go to the British SignPuddle on this web page...and then click on 
> SignMail to send an email in SignWriting:
> SignPuddle on the Web
> scroll down to find the British Sign Language dictionary on that 
> page...
> Val ;-)
> Valerie Sutton
> Sutton at
> 1. SignWriting
> Read & Write Sign Languages
> 2. SignBank
> Sign Language Dictionaries
> -----------------------
> On Oct 10, 2005, at 1:09 PM, Saduf Naqvi wrote:
>> Let me introduce myself, I am a research student from Goldsmiths 
>> College
>> University of London, and am researching Deaf views on Digital 
>> Representations
>> of Sign Language.
>> When I say Digital Representations of Sign Language (DRSL) I mean 
>> methods of
>> communicating to the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing community without the 
>> use of a
>> an actual physical signer.  It is with the use of other systems, such 
>> as Video
>> systems where you have full recordings of signers, animation systems 
>> that use
>> Avatars (Virtual Humans) to sign information, or notation systems 
>> that depict
>> signs or pictorially represent information.  All three of these 
>> systems keep
>> within the visual style and nature of sign language, however they are 
>> all rated
>> very differently.
>> I am currently in the final year of my thesis and am going to conduct 
>> my major
>> study, this will be comparatively evaluating DRSLs.  Obviously I 
>> would like to
>> include a notation system, and I thought a very widely used and 
>> popular system
>> is the SignWriting system.
>> So this leads me to what I am doing here.  I would like to know more 
>> about
>> SignWriting, do you all view it as a method of representing sign 
>> language
>> through a series of graphics/images.  Also when I do get to including 
>> this in my
>> research, I would like some advice on how to best represent the 
>> information I
>> would like to show through SignWriting, how to write it correctly 
>> etc.  I don't
>> want to make mistakes, I would like the consultation of the experts 
>> (you all!!!)
>> I will have more details of the information that will need 
>> translating into
>> SignWriting early next week, and more information on the study itself 
>> by early
>> next week aswell.  Anyone interested please let me know and I'll be 
>> more than
>> happy to send information.
>> Also if anyone is interested in participation in this research, 
>> please email me
>> I would love to have as many participants as possible to give a wide 
>> range of
>> results, it should be a very interesting study.
>> I look forward to hearing from you all.
>> take care
>> Saduf
>> -- 
>> Miss Saduf Naqvi,
>> S.Naqvi at
>> Research Student,
>> Goldsmiths College - University of London,
>> New Cross,
>> London,
>> SE14 6NW,
>> 020-7919-7462

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