Detailed Writing: Heel of Hand

Jason Hopkins codenosher at YAHOO.COM
Sat Dec 9 00:51:44 UTC 2006

That clears it up for me, thanks.

----- Original Message ----
From: Valerie Sutton <signwriting at MAC.COM>
To: sw-l at
Sent: Friday, December 8, 2006 1:16:33 PM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Detailed Writing: Heel of Hand

SignWriting List
December 8, 2006

Hello Everyone, and Adam and Jason -
Thank you for these answer is below...


On Dec 6, 2006, at 3:06 PM, Adam Frost wrote:
> Jason,
> I am not sure that I know what you are refering to. But from what I
> can tell, it seems that you are asking if signs are at eye level or
> not. All of the signs that have been dicussed are not at eye level,
> but in neutral space. If the signs were at eye level, the head would
> be placed to show where the sign is in relations to the eye. I hope
> this answers you question. If not, please ask for clearification.
> Adam
> On 12/5/06, Jason Hopkins <codenosher at> wrote:
>> I'm curious about these.  The one on the bottom makes me think I'm  
>> signing
>> at eye level since I'm looking at the heels of my hands.  The  
>> other seems to
>> be a table that is signed in a lower space.  Is that what I'm  
>> suppose to be
>> seeing?


I believe I understand Jason's question. It is related to how we see  
planes and palm facing....

First, it is true that the actual design of the Heel of Hand symbol,  
is based on the idea, that at eye-level, the fingers of the Flat Hand  
projecting forward, are hiding behind the Heel of the Hand (the view  
of the wrist), when at eye level.

Second, it is true that the actual design of the Top View, is based  
on the idea, that when looking down at your own hands, you are  
viewing the palm facing from above...the break in the symbol shows  
where the hand is hitting the horizon...

But that is just for the general design of the symbol...

Once the symbol is established, then it relates to planes.

A good example of this is the sign for MY in ASL. Technically, when  
the palm of the Flat Hand touches the chest, if you were to look down  
at your hand, you would see the Top View of the side of the  
hand...and that would not be wrong, but it is not the standard way of  
writing the sign for MY.

The standard way of writing MY, is with the white palm and a contact  
symbol showing contact with the chest. If you were to look at the  
handshape from far away from the chest you would see the white palm,  
and as the hand gets closer and closer to the chest, it is still the  
white palm, including when it touches the chest, because it is on the  
same Front View matter how far or how close it is to the  


So the Heel of the Hand does not have to be at can be  
at any level...but whenever you see it, you know the fingers are  
projecting we assume it is at the neutral signing  
space...the symbol is just showing fingers projecting forward...

As Adam said, to really write that it is at eye level, you would need  
to add the facial circle and show the eyes, so we know we are at eye  

Val ;-)

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