SignWriting Terminology

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Mar 21 21:25:41 UTC 2006

SignWriting List
March 21, 2006

> Steve Slevinski wrote:
>> I'm a bit confused by equating the roman alphabet to SignWriting.   
>> The roman alphabet is a sequence of ordered symbols.  SignWriting  
>> is a system for writing signed languages.  I think the roman  
>> alphabet is similar to the IMWA.  And I think that SignWriting is  
>> similar to what is taught in English class.

Hello Steve and Everyone!
Yes. I know you are confused, and that is why I have started this  
conversation. And put the blame on me, for not explaining this properly!

Do you know about the International Phonetic Alphabet? It is called  
the IPA.

The IPA is a long listing of symbols that are used to record the  
exact sounds that we make when we speak, and is used for very  
detailed writing of speech...It uses many more symbols than just the  
Roman Alphabet...And we do NOT write with the IPA when we write this  
email message in English..

so generally...

1. The Roman Alphabet is for EVERYDAY USE and is specified for each  
language it writes. This email message is written with the Roman  
Alphabet, but the Roman Alphabet, when writing English, is also  
called the English Alphabet....but it is the Roman Alphabet nonetheless.

2. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) provides MORE symbols  
than are needed to write ONE spoken language. It is EVERY sound, used  
for research and phonetic pronunciation guides in dictionaries. This  
email message is NOT written with the IPA.

so in the same way...

1. The SignWriting ( a kind of Alphabet) is for EVERYDAY USE. Each  
Sign Language only uses a certain number of symbols to write their  

2. The International Movement Writing Alphabet (IMWA) provides MORE  
symbols than are needed to write ONE sign language. It is EVERY  
movement, used for a variety of things...research, phonetic writing,  
even mime and it is huge!

NO ONE uses all the IMWA symbols when writing...but they can refer to  
it, for choosing the symbols they need to write with...

I named the IMWA after the IPA...that is where I got the name IMWA  
from...was basing it on the IPA name...instead of Phonetic Alphabet,  
it is Movement Writing Alphabet...same for sounds and one  
for movement...both are MORE symbols than needed to write for  
everyday use...

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: Terminology2.gif
Type: image/gif
Size: 7826 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------

More information about the Sw-l mailing list