Encyclopedia in American Sign Language

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Sun Mar 11 18:43:40 UTC 2007

Hi Val!

> I am glad you developed the software design you designed years ago  
> Sandy. Obviously you didn't feel impeded years ago to do that and I  
> am only sorry there was no one to give you financial support in the  
> effort to continue it at that time...have you continued developing  
> your software? If so, you are free to do so!!

Well, as others have done I used my common sense and decided that
someone who devises a new writing system probably doesn't want to
inhibit its development. Not everyone who reads your pages has common
sense, though, some people need to be told things!

> I am very grateful to work with Steve Slevinski and I am honored he  
> is devoting so much time to developing SignPuddle and SignText...I  
> consider our collaboration golden in the history of SignWriting  
> development...they are brilliant programs...thank you, Steve!

These programs are amazing, and you don't even have to install them on
your machine! It's one thing to write demonstration and proof of concept
programs like I've done so far, quite another to actually put in the
time and dedication to make them fully usable like SignText is.

Yes, I'm still working on writing software for SignWriting but it's been
an adventure! Part of my problem is that I'm only learning BSL, but of
course this has improved a lot since a couple of years ago and as I get
more confident at BSL I write more, and I'm now beginning to understand
enough about the structure of signs to be able to think about how to
help the users by not asking them to do things that the software can do
for them. One thing I learned from the prototype program I wrote two
years ago was that people found the keyboard difficult to learn, even
though I thought I'd made it as easy as possible! I've put a lot of
though into how to make it even easier, and I think I'm almost there!

So, that's the talk, maybe this year we'll see about the walk  :)

In thinking about SignWriting structure I've devised some interesting
ways of writing it, including linearly! The BSL example in the
attachment says, "Hello, Val! This writing, think what? Read easy,
difficult, which? Sandy FLeming."

I don't think you'll find it difficult to read, you just need to know
that the vertical bars, like "||" are extra bits of arrow shaft to add
to the previous arrow to lengthen it (in your head!), and when an arrow
is placed before the head in a sign, it shows a body shift (as in the
signs for "easy" and "difficult". Oops, I should have written those as
general arrows, not right-hand arrows. One day I'll get it right  :)

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