AW: [sw-l] Remove using 5-hand or heel

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Thu Dec 14 21:11:34 UTC 2006

SignWriting List
December 14, 2006

See Val's message below...

On Dec 14, 2006, at 12:35 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> Here's a thought. Should we just replace the floor orientations of  
> the "5" hand with the heel symbol? Will we really need to use the  
> floor versions of the "5" handshape where we couldn't use the heel  
> handshape and the wall versions of the heel handshape where we  
> couldn't use the "5" handshape symbol? I'm really just focusing on  
> the base shape itself. Thanks, Stuart


On Dec 14, 2006, at 12:39 PM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:
> Hi Charles and sw –list, I agree with what Charles said.From my  
> point of view there is no need to add this “Heel of Hand” symbol in  
> any spelling that is possible to write with the flat hand parallel  
> to the floor.
> There are two reasons – first of all I would love to keep the  
> symbol-set at a minimum size  -  second: it is what Charles said –  
> the more the brain has to work in order to identify similar symbols  
> as different the more difficult these spellings are to read. Well –  
> if there are new handshapes in other cultures – like we find in the  
> EMA – no problem to accept that new symbols are needed.
> Perhaps this “Heel of hand” symbols offers some advantage in quick  
> handwriting – I would understand that –  and of course everybody is  
> free to develop his own style of writing keeping in mind that his  
> “readers” will have no trouble to read the written documents  
> without any problems ...
> Stefan ;-)


Hello Everyone, Stefan and Charles, Stuart, Philippe and Adam!

I think all of your comments and opinions are excellent and all of  
them are true! I agree with everything you said ;-))

So here is a summary:


1. The Heel of Hand symbol already exists in the IMWA. It is in the 5- 
Hand section. I plan to make it a little more rectangular, to make  
sure it does not get confused with a fist...but we are not adding any  
new symbols to the IMWA...because the Heel of Hand symbols are  
already there.

2. No one has to use the Heel of the Hand. That is each writer's choice.

3. When printing by computer, most people will probably choose the  
Top View. That is fine. It is accurate, and we all know the Top View.

4. Regarding printing by computer....There is one position that the  
Top View cannot write well....when the hands are at an angle, like  
the sign for BOAT or a HALF-OPENED-BOOK. In those rare cases, I like  
the Heel of Hand better than the detailed 10 palm facings...but  
again, it is not required. We can write BOAT without any angle and  
assume knowledge of the language...

5. The Heel of Hand is good for Handwriting. That is how it was  
developed. When we wrote by hand from 1974-1984, before  
computers....that was when the Heel of Hand was simply the Front View  
of the Flat Hand, and we had no Top View. Top View was developed when  
we got computers. The Top View is harder to write by hand...

So Stuart and Philippe - since you are working on Handwriting, I  
understand your desire to write by hand with the Heel of Hand  
symbol...and Charles and Stefan...go right ahead using the Top View!

And Adam, I will make the symbol for rectangular and let's see if it  
is more readable...

What is nice about this, is now you will be able to read our old  
documents from the 1980's because now you know that symbol!

 From an historic point of view, this is not adding a new symbol, it  
is simply acknowledging an old symbol that was used for 15 years of  

This has been great fun!

Val ;-)

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