AW: [sw-l] TrueType Font for Mundbildschrift?

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Thu May 10 22:23:22 UTC 2007

Hi Stuart, Valerie and friends, - 

well I am afraid that it is not easy to explain, what Mundbildschrift is
about. Valerie do you remember our many emails about the difference between
"Mundbildschrift" a sound-oriented symbolsystem on one side and the
"Mundbilder in der GebaerdenSchrift" a visual oriented symbol-system  on the
other side. Perhaps you may want to add some lines .... 

What I am doing with my Mundbilder in GebaerdenSchrift is exactly what you
describe: Looking at the Mundbilder in GebaerdenSchrift people understand
the "guessing game" of lipreading since there is no 1 to 1 relationship
between "sounds while speaking words" and symbols of the "Mundbilder" Just
in contrary you are faced with the problem that a given Mundbild might lead
up to three completely different sounds - some sounds -produced in the back
of your mouth are not even mentioned - 
So people understand much much better that it does not make sense to leave
young deaf students alone with lipreading (in order to force them to pay
more attention to lipmovement which should lead to a high level of spoken
language competence) while well educated and smart adult DEAF people will
allowed to rely on interpreters- 
In fact this is a big problem to me: the better the Deaf person is already
introduced to vocabulary and grammar of the spoken language the easier it
becomes for her and him to ask for support by an interpreter in order to be
sure to understand the part of the hearing speaker exactly. 
Contrary the less words a deaf child knows, the less it is familiar with
grammar and register of spoken language teacher and parents want him to
depend on lipreading! 

Well - my development of Mundbildschrift has almost nothing to do with
SignWriting. Mundbildschrift is a tool to support deaf children in their
difficult task to improve articulation and to learn vocabulary of the spoken
language. In fact in the long run hearing children with a weaknes in
spelling will take much advantage out of that ... 

The "Mundbilder in der GebaerdenSchrift" as you can find them in my
GebaerdenSchrift documents is a whole different story. Just as you mentioned
- whenever you look at German SignLanguage performance you may become aware
of the fact that the voiceless movements of the lips are part of the
message. In fact this is so tremendously important (from my point of view)
that without this information there is another guessing game. Perhaps you
know that we do not use the fingerspelling as much as you do in ASL. 

It is an interesting fact that these lipmovements are difficult to
understand if there is no signing with the hands and that the signing of the
hands is sometimes difficult to understand if there are no lipmovements - so
the combination of both parts of the message is the clue to a very quick and
easy understanding. 

Ha - and even in Germany there has been ( or still is??) a severe discussion
about signing with or without lipmovements. 

But I am a teacher and working where I am living Deaf people perform in this
combination. So as a person who works so hard to support my deaf students in
developing knowledge in the different subjects at school I have to take this
aspect of German Sign Language into account. And I do so and this leads to a
special style of writing GebaerdenSchrift with these many faces to give an
idea of what the signer is doing with his mouth. 

Of course besides this kind of mouthing we can see lots of mimic and mouth
gestures that are not related to any voiceless articulation ... and
especially in transcriptions of poems and storytelling I try to cover that
as well. 

Thank you very much for your comment - and from time to time we will discuss
Mundbilder again - ha - even though it seems to be a political question on
what is allowd or what seems to be accepted from the Deaf cultural point of

Have a great day

Stefan ;-) 

-----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Stuart Thiessen
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 10. Mai 2007 22:19
An: sw-l at
Betreff: Re: [sw-l] TrueType Font for Mundbildschrift?

I understand that many European sign languages do depend on mouthings  
to distinguish different signs so I think Stefan's development of the  
Mundbildschrift is great for that.

One caution though (as a Deaf person who has/does use lipreading) ...  
in English, it is my understanding that we only get about 30% of the  
information from lipreading. 70% comes from context and guessing.  
Examples of common misunderstandings are "maybe" vs. "baby", "olive  
juice" vs. "I love you", "fifteen" vs. "fifty", etc. It is difficult  
to catch the visual difference between them. Often the problems come  
when trying to visually distinguish voiced and unvoiced consonants  
where there could be a misunderstanding, or sounds which may not have  
a clear visual expression (an example possibly in German might be the  
'ch' sound which I understand to have 2 different pronunciations).  
Cognitively, it may be possible to process that there is a  
difference, but I myself feel uncertain that it would necessarily  
transfer to easier lipreading. I guess that's a study for someone  
interested in that topic! :) So this will certainly help to match  
sounds to the visual expression of them. I wouldn't want hearing  
people (who are not aware of these issues) to assume that this could  
enhance lipreading to the point of eliminating the need for sign  
language or an interpreter. I am sure that neither you nor Stefan  
would think that, but I am just saying this as we think of a hearing  
audience that may include people who are not aware of these things.



On May 10, 2007, at 13:25, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> SignWriting List
> May 10, 2007
> Stefan -
> Do you have a TrueType font for Mundbildschrift?
> I am sure you probably thought of this long ago!!
> The typist could type German words, or English words, and get the  
> symbols for the Mundbildschrift instead?
> Does Mundbildschrift have a one-to-one correspondence with each  
> letter on the keyboard?
> A little like typing fingerspelling with our TrueType  
> could type a spoken language and the fingerspelling symbols appear...
> Fingerspelling Fonts
> If you have a Mundbildschrift TrueType font, could we receive  
> permission in some way, to allow people to use it? Whatever you  
> want...
> I told people about Mundbildschrift yesterday at my presentation  
> and there was interest in it...
> I think a way to type Mundbildschrift, by typing spoken language on  
> a normal keyboard, could spread the idea that lip reading can be  
> read visually on paper now..
> Val ;-)
> Mundbildschrift

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