differences in fist tensions from signer to signer

Sandy Fleming sandy at SCOTSTEXT.ORG
Wed May 9 20:52:19 UTC 2007


If you think of the writing in old illuminated documents, the vertical
strokes of m, n, u and v tend to be pretty much identical (also in the
old German typeface that you see German printed in up until about the

So it was difficult to read little words where these letters came
together, and (so it's said, but I really don't know what the evidence
is) words that might be logically written "luv" and "cum" were written
"love" and "come" to give them more shape.

But in the case of "ie" versus "ei" I think the big influence was Samuel
Johnson's dictionary, where he would make spelling decisions based on
word inflections, not just on how they sounded, with the result that
some words ended up being spelled in ways that don't make sense to
people who don't write dictionaries!

It all just makes you wonder what SignWriting will look like once it's
widespread enough for committees and budding Johnsons to get their teeth
into it!


On Tue, 2007-05-08 at 13:59 -0600, K.J. Boal wrote:
> 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. 
> :-)
> KJ

More information about the Sw-l mailing list