Vertical columns left to right...

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Tue Jan 9 21:11:18 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
January 9, 2007

Kimberley Shaw wrote:
> I also have a change of subject here - just caught myself doing
> something that happens quite often when Signwriting ... I always write
> in columns. But I keep starting the page from the upper right side -
> like traditional Chinese or Japanese texts (also written in columns) -
> NOT from the upper-left corner! Then I'll catch myself and start again
> English (Euro-) style.  Anybody else inclined to do this? Or do I
> spend too much time around Asian books??
> Best,
> Kim from Boston


I am impressed that you read Asian books, Kim! I personally do not  
read any languages from Asia so I didn't even realize that their  
columns went from the right side of the page to the left side of the  
page, until one day, someone from Japan, who uses SignWriting,  
mentioned this fact to me...

This just proves how the vertical columns in SignWriting were never  
based on anything Asian...the vertical columns came from a need to  
write the human body vertically...

Why did we choose to write the columns starting on the left side of  
the page and moving to the right? Because SignWriting started in  
western Europe and North America...that is why!

Looking back on it, if I had realized that Asian documents went the  
other direction, before we ever had published a SignWriting document,  
would I have placed them from right to left? I have no we  
are so used to the left to right, it might be confusing to switch it...

But feel free to try to write that way and see how it feels! There is  
no reason you couldn't, except the reader will automatically start on  
the left and get confused...because we are not used to it.

Val ;-)

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