Role shifting

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Tue Jul 10 21:09:08 UTC 2007

I should also add that because some of these facial expressions that  
"spread" over a sequence of signs is predictable to users of a sign  
language, it will become easily read. Until you are used to it, it  
might require some "re-reading" initially. But I think over time one  
would say, "Hey, a question is coming up or some other commonly used  
feature is coming up." and then read it easily because it is helping  
you predict what is coming. So that linguistic knowledge that is  
available to a user of a sign language will work alongside the  
movement writing to make it easy to read.



On 10 Jul 2007, at 15:49, Stuart Thiessen wrote:

> Personally, I like the unit lines and I would disagree (no offense,  
> Valerie :) ) that it creates a feel of a "linguistic notation  
> system". If a facial expression continues over a sequence of signs,  
> then we have two choices. We can either write each face or we can  
> write it as being "spread across" that sequence of signs. To me, it  
> is no different than quotation marks, parathenses, and other such  
> marks that spoken languages use everyday. In many cases, I would  
> predict it will be used for limited and specific situations like  
> yes-no questions, questions like who, what, where, when, why, or  
> other similar situations. Even Spanish has something like that when  
> they do questions like ┬┐Como esta usted?
> I personally find it a very simple way to reduce the number of  
> heads I have to use in a sequence of signs if it will be the same  
> across those signs. If it will vary, then I write them individually.
> Thanks,
> Stuart
> On 10 Jul 2007, at 13:12, Adam Frost wrote:
>> I just used it as a way to show that a facial expression and  
>> whatnot is consistant over a couse of signs, but you are right  
>> that is loses the feel of being an everyday writing system. I will  
>> think on this some for ideas. :-)
>> Adam
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: "Valerie Sutton" <signwriting at MAC.COM>
>> Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 11:04:44
>> To:sw-l at
>> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Role shifting
>> SignWriting List
>> July 10, 2007
>> Hello Adam and Cherie!
>> I noticed the Unit Lines that you wrote Adam, and actually was
>> planning to bring that up later ;-))
>> Of course it is great you bring the subject up...
>> Unit Lines are used for research documents that are trying to show
>> the influence of one symbol on another...and I did use them myself in
>> slightly different ways over the years...they actually stem from
>> DanceWriting that uses music...and because of that, they do not
>> really look like the rest of SignWriting for everyday use...
>> When we try to bring the writing system from the research lab, into
>> the everyday reading library for signers, I think the Unit Line does
>> not look like a writing system, but instead a notation system...and I
>> choose not to use it.
>> So for detailed work, of course the Unit Lines can continue to be
>> used, but I personally vote to not use them for Deaf children in the
>> Cat in the Hat...
>> So of course that leaves the question...then how do we write role
>> shifting without them?...
>> I believe there are ways already developed to do it, although it will
>> start one more big conversation here on the List, and I am not sure
>> my health can handle too much stress right now...but if we can take
>> it slowly...I am happy to engage...
>> Val ;-)
>> On Jul 10, 2007, at 10:51 AM, Adam Frost wrote:
>>> This is just a quick note on your question, Cherie, about writing
>>> role shifts. I had written it with in my writing of Cat in the Hat
>>> on SignPuddle. I don't know if I used the unit line correctly
>>> because I couldn't connect it. I hope it is clear. Maybe that will
>>> give you some ideas.
>>> Adam
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: cwren at
>>> Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 08:27:04
>>> To:sw-l at, sutton at
>>> Subject: [sw-l] Cat in the Hat 13
>>> "Now look what you did!"
>>> Said the fish to the cat.
>>> "Now look at this house!
>>> Look at this! Look at that!
>>> You sank our toy ship,
>>> sank it deep in the cake.
>>> You shook up our house
>>> And you bent our new rake.
>>> You SHOULD NOT be here
>>> When our mother is not.
>>> You get out of this house!"
>>> Said the fish in the pot.
>>> I've got some serious doubt popping up about roleshifting, and how
>>> I'm showing it... Do I need to show the eye gaze and shoulder shift
>>> with each sign? I have been putting more eye gaze in here thean I
>>> did before... Also when I am shifted to one sign, and signing right
>>> like in this passage for example, I have been writing the signs off
>>> to the right... which makes some signs more difficult to write.
>>> Should I be keeping them centered on the face, as if my shoulders
>>> were square, but putting in the shoulder lines?
>>> cherie

More information about the Sw-l mailing list