differences in fist tensions from signer to signer

K.J. Boal kjoanne403 at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue May 8 19:59:10 UTC 2007

I can't speak to ASL, but as for English, I was watching a documentary 
called, "The Adventure of English" the other day.  They were talking about 
when English was first written and who created the standardized spellings 
(it happened to be the official record-keepers for the government).  As it 
turns out, they decided to spell some words in ways that nobody pronounced 
(I forget, right now, the reasons for that)!  So English spelling has been 
confused from the beginning... I think we can do better with ASL, and will. 

>From: "Adam Frost" <adam at frostvillage.com>
>Reply-To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
>To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
>Subject: Re: [sw-l] differences in fist tensions from signer to signer
>Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 22:50:14 -0700
>I agree, but you have to be careful to not dismiss something as an informal
>variation of a sign that is really just a "signonym". This (and the whole
>production variation and production meaning issue) is a lot of the reason
>that standardization will be very hard to come by. (In fact, English gets
>argued that it should be "better standardized" as well. So I doubt that
>hundreds of years will even be the answer to it. HA!)
>On 5/7/07, K.J. Boal <kjoanne403 at hotmail.com> wrote:
>>Agreed... I believe the "phonemic" symbol is already in the IMWA... the
>>question is, should it be considered a fist base, a D base, a baby-D base,
>>or a closed-D base?  I think the answer is the most formal sign.  The more
>>carefully you sign it, the closer it gets to what you think you're signing
>>(same for speech).  So, which base does the formal sign use?  My guess is,
>>the D hand.
>> >From: "Adam Frost" <adam at frostvillage.com>
>> >Reply-To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
>> >To: sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu
>> >Subject: Re: [sw-l] differences in fist tensions from signer to signer
>> >Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 14:26:15 -0700
>> >
>> >I don't really see a reason to complicate the symbols more that is 
>> >right now. Maybe later if(!) they are really needed, they can be added.
>> >However, I think that it would only be for detailed writing like 
>> >and IPA-like writing.
>> >
>> >Adam
>> >
>> >On 5/6/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at mac.com> wrote:
>> >>
>> >>SignWriting List
>> >>May 6, 2007
>> >>
>> >>Hello Everyone!
>> >>
>> >>And I hope Ingvild will help me explain this from the Norwegian Sign
>> >>Language perspective...
>> >>
>> >>The detail of writing the differences in fist tensions from signer to
>> >>signer...
>> >>
>> >>In Denmark, and some other signed languages too, they do not seem to
>> >>differentiate between a Tight Fist or an Open Fist (Circle base for O
>> >>hand in ASL)...
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>In other words, in ASL there is a linguistic meaning difference
>> >>between a tight fist with the Index finger up, and a D-hand...see below
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>
>> >>But my memory is, that in Danish Sign Language, they do not care
>> >>whether it is tight or open...it all is the same to them...
>> >>
>> >>How do we handle this issue? Which symbol should be used when writing
>> >>Danish Sign Language, if they don't differentiate?
>> >>
>> >>I bring this up also because Kelly Jo mentioned earlier that there
>> >>are details of fist relaxation if we were to write a native ASL
>> >>signer in their exact way of signing...which means we do not have
>> >>enough symbols to cover all the possible variations of relaxed fists
>> >>in the current symbolset...so that is the other extreme...that would
>> >>me we would have to include more symbols to show every variation of
>> >>relaxation...which would then give the Danish signers a choice
>> >>somewhere in the middle between the square and the circle...these
>> >>detailed fist relaxation symbols can be placed in the ISWA, but it
>> >>would cause a lot more symbols to be added to the symbolset...
>> >>
>> >>So I was going to propose that we keep what we have, and just decide
>> >>on a choice of one or the other to mean a different thing, for the
>> >>Danish signers...for example, they could use the basic square base,
>> >>and define it as not a Tight Fist, but the basic fist that is natural
>> >>to their language...
>> >>
>> >>just like the letter A is pronounced differently in other
>> >>countries...we still write A the same and define its pronunciation
>> >>differently from country to country...that would cut back on the
>> >>number of symbols needed...
>> >>
>> >>These are the issues of standardization versus a phonetic writing
>> >>system...both are needed of course...
>> >>
>> >>Interesting topic!
>> >>
>> >>What are all your thoughts?
>> >>
>> >>Val ;-)
>> >>
>> >>
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