signs in different cultures

Liz Harvey metaloma at SHAW.CA
Tue Jan 17 04:18:31 UTC 2006

Thank you so much Valerie and Neil!  All is clear now.

I have been to the Movement Writing site and I am now searching for active research which is using the system to map movements in a current research project.  This appears to be what my class wants more information about.


-----Original Message-----
From: owner-sw-l at [mailto:owner-sw-l at]On Behalf Of Valerie Sutton
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 7:51 PM
To: sw-l at
Subject: Re: [sw-l] signs in different cultures

SignWriting List
January 16, 2006

Liz Harvey wrote:
> Thanks Valerie!  I am interested in any information I can get on using
>> SignWriting out in the field for research such as in Primatology. 
>> Several students have asked me if there are examples of research 
>> where someone has used SignWriting to map the movements of humans, 
>> non-human primates, or other animals.

Hello Liz and Neil and Everyone!
What a great are non-human primates? apes or monkeys or gorillas? I looked up the word primate 
to make sure I understood, and I got this


primate 2 |ˈprīˌmāt| |ˌpraɪm1t| |ˌpraɪˈmeɪt| |ˌprʌɪmeɪt|
noun Zoology
a mammal of an order that includes the lemurs, bush babies, tarsiers, 
marmosets, monkeys, apes, and humans. They are distinguished by 
having hands, handlike feet, and forward-facing eyes, and, with the 
exception of humans, are typically agile tree-dwellers. • Order 
Primates: several families.


Have you visited the MovementWriting site, Liz? It discusses the fact 
that Sutton Movement Writing is a way to read and write all 
movement....but SignWriting is the section of the writing system that 
focuses on Sign Languages around the world...

Technically, Movement Writing can write any movement not specific to 
signed languages...For example I have written some dog movement, and 
once I was asked to write the movements of spiders from a videotape 
but that project never happened. I did, however, write the body 
language of five hearing people sitting on a couch anything 
that moves, can be written...I was asked to write the difference 
between the movements of a boy playing who was not autistic, and 
compare those movements to a child who was autistic...

SignWriting takes the same Movement Writing symbols and applies them 
to writing the way the body moves when people sign...Sign Languages 
are not international. There are oftentimes one or two signed 
languages within one country, and they are different languages than 
other countries. But they all use movement, and SignWriting is a way 
to write movement...

So if an ape or chimpanzee signs, of course that movement could be 
written with SignWriting, but if you wish to write his scratching and 
how he swings from a tree, we can write that with Movement Writing, 
which is more a generic Movement Writing system, and not specific to 
Sign Languages. DanceWriting is specific to dance movements, 
MimeWriting is specific to classic mime like Marcel Marceau, 
SportsWriting writes the movements of skateboarding, gymnastics, ice 
skating etc and we have a generic Gesture writing for scientific 
research on movement...


Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at

1. SignWriting
Read & Write Sign Languages

2. SignBank
Sign Language Database Software

3. SignPuddle
Create Signs in SignWriting Online!

4. MovementWriting
Read & Write ALL Body Movement

5. DanceWriting
Read & Write Dance Choreography

6. SportsWriting
Read & Write Different Kinds of Sports

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