Role shifting

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Tue Jul 10 21:31:47 UTC 2007

Hi Adam and Stuart!
You all made good points too...let me also think about it a little,  
just as you said, and get back to you...I will try to write a little  
SignWriting on my own, to see how I could make them work better for  
vertical columns, and then we can all share together and make a  
decision ;-))

These Unit Lines stemmed from Movement Writing and lines you see in written musical scores...and  
that was why we started to move over to Punctuation Symbols more for  
SignWriting, so the Punctuation Symbols would act more like  
punctuation in other written languages...Question marks in Spanish  
are so compact and don't have to extend over columns!

Great working with all of you!!

Val ;-)


On Jul 10, 2007, at 2:22 PM, Adam Frost wrote:

> Interesting points. So would my not connecting the unit lines in  
> SignPuddle make it more like the marks for spoken languages? And if  
> so, how would one show the starting of one overlapping another?
> Adam
> -----Original Message-----
> From: "Valerie Sutton" <signwriting at MAC.COM>
> Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 14:11:21
> To:sw-l at
> Subject: Re: [sw-l] Role shifting
> Hello Stuart!
> I figured you would say this, Stuart, so it is no surprise, and of
> course no offense...
> The Unit Lines have been used since 1974, so obviously I liked them
> once...
> In fact, they are used in the National Technical Institute for the
> Deaf's technical signs manuals still today for SignWriting, combined
> with a large Smooth Line, that came from they are
> definitely used today...
> And I know you use them too...
> I am just expressing a problem I have when reading them.... when I am
> reading large documents in SignWriting, they do not feel like
> Quotation Marks to me, because there are lines that then get broken
> up from column to column...Quotation Marks are tiny little symbols,
> and so are the question marks that go upside down in
> they are not lines extending over columns and columns...that get
> broken and one forgets what they related to...
> I think the Unit Lines did better when we wrote horizontally, like
> the Parkhurst's novel. The Unit Lines in the vertical columns don't
> seem to work as well for me for some reason...
> Val ;-)
> ------------------
> On Jul 10, 2007, at 1:49 PM, 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

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