Writing Number 16 in ASL

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Wed Aug 22 19:16:58 UTC 2007

Hi Stuart -

Ok. We can wait if you want...

For page numbers, it would be nice to get a standard going that will  
not change the way anyone signs it, nor will it change the way you  
are writing in your documents...only for tiny tiny little numbers at  
the bottom of pages!

Regarding linguistic analysis of reading page numbers...I believe  
that would make a great research project, since we are probably the  
first to write huge literature documents in Sign Languages, and so  
this issue is a new one...

Val ;-)


On Aug 22, 2007, at 12:09 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:

> I am not sure. It is faster to read the 10 handshape followed by  
> the 6 handshape. But that isn't how I produced it. And really both  
> are the formal version of 16. Just one is the slow way to produce  
> it like you would in a sign language class to teach the sign itself  
> and the other is what I have observed as a normal everyday  
> production of it. In my opinion, we want to keep the writing as  
> close to the actual production as possible.
> In general, for any writing system, the best approach is to do a  
> linguistic analysis that helps us see what is predictable and what  
> is not. What handshapes does ASL really distinguish and what is not  
> an important distinction? Then we use those handshapes as the only  
> handshapes we write (except for mime or other unusual signs). But  
> that kind of decision needs the linguistic analysis because we need  
> a better idea of how predictable certain handshapes are and what  
> handshapes are "allophones" (which simply means that even though we  
> may use several different handshapes, in our minds, they might  
> actually function as one handshape). For example, in English, we  
> have several "t" sounds (time, button, butter, but), yet they are  
> all written with a single letter. Eventually, each sign language  
> will need to do the kind of analysis I am mentioning above. That  
> will help them determine which handshapes are actually needed for  
> everyday writing and which are not. This would form their "subset"  
> of handshape symbols for everyday writing.
> After saying all of this, :) I really think we need to see how  
> other people sign 16. Then, we can see if more use the 10 handshape  
> or the A handshape. We will also want to see if the 10 is facing  
> the signer or facing the side.
> Thanks,
> Stuart


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