Order of writing

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Mon Nov 20 22:54:46 UTC 2006

I concur with Adam. That is the general process I use also. Sometimes  
the facial expression and other non-manuals come when I am working on  
the face, and sometimes it comes when I have completed the general sign  
and am now adding in the facial expressions and other elements that  
modify the sign's meaning. But in general I follow much of the same  

One change to my style of writing ... before I put the contact symbol  
where the contact should be and then put the hand close to the contact  
symbol. Valerie corrected that and said that the handshape should be  
where the contact occurs and then move the contact symbol as close to  
that as possible. Some changes to that general principle seem to be  
when the handshape covers the face, then it seems that the contact  
symbol is placed where the contact occurs and then the handshape is set  
off to the side of the face. Is that a correct summary of the rule,  
Valerie? ;-)


On Nov 20, 2006, at 16:43, Adam Frost wrote:

> Hello Jason,
> There isn't really an "offical" order for writing signs - or at least  
> that I know of. There is something that is close which is called  
> SignSpelling, but my understanding is that is for ordering for an  
> alphabetical sense. It really don't have a whole lot of effect on how  
> to order the writing of the sign.
> Having said that, I find that when I write signs that I tend to follow  
> the thinking that you outlined without really thinking about it. It  
> just kinda seems to fall in that order because I can't place a  
> handshape that has contact with the head without there being a head  
> etc.
> Maybe others on the list have other comments, and if I a truly off  
> track, I hope that they (maybe Val) can set us straight. LOL. Hope  
> this helps for what it's worth
> Adam
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Jason Hopkins" <codenosher at YAHOO.COM>
> Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 14:17:22
> To:SignWritingList <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
> Subject: [sw-l] Order of writing
> Hello,
> I'm new to SW.  I find the reading pretty straight forward, but  
> writing takes some extra thought.
> One thing that is unique with trying to document a visual language is  
> the order in which to start laying out the symbols.  I don't mean word  
> order, but the order in which the different aspects of a sign are  
> written.
> Some parts of the sign are not needed, so I have to determine, from  
> the available symbols, which are NOT necessary to convey my meaning.   
> Then I need to decided where to put the symbols.  The order of  
> placement is what I'm finding interesting.
> I know, it's a detail that is probably absorbing too much of my  
> attention, but that's the kind of guy I am :)
> I tend to follow this order:
> Head, Face
> Shoulders
> Hand shape, Orientation
> Movement Direction, Arrow Choice
> I don't follow this like a checklist, it just happens to be the order  
> I use when constructing a SW image.  Some symbols are clearly not  
> needed for a specific sign in order to convey full meaning, so I don't  
> worry about them.
> For example, when I create the SW image for "ponder", I first think to  
> myself, in this case I need a head ad a face.  On the face I need  
> eyebrows and a mouth.  I don't even think about not needing shoulders,  
> it doesn't even come up.  I then determine the hand shape and  
> orientation, and where to put them in relation to the face.  Then I  
> think about movement direction and what arrows will best show it.
> I'm curious, is this the type of thought process that others use?  Do  
> you use this order or something different?
> -Jason Hopkins
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