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

Shane Gilchrist O hEorpa shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 15 00:07:39 UTC 2006

as a native signer, I can understand the 'heel' a lot more than the top-view.

I can see why it is easier for people whose first language isnt the
signed language - to understand the top-view.

Maybe you can ask a few fluent signers to see what they think?


On 14/12/06, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at> wrote:
> 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
> handwriting...
> This has been great fun!
> Val ;-)

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