AW: [sw-l] Vertical Mundbildschrift (?)

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Sat May 12 21:14:51 UTC 2007

Hi Adam, Valerie and friends - 

- hm - what makes things so difficult is the fact that we are dealing with
completely different writing systems - 

Mundbildschrift is a system on its own! It describes what you hear!!!! while
a person is speaking!

So Mundbildschrift is a system that is not appropriate for any Signlanguage


At best you may want to compare Mundbildschrift with the IPA - the
difference is that I defined the Mundbilder hat go along with a given sound
of a Spoken Language. 

What you are thinking of - is what I call Mundbilder in GebaerdenSchrift. 

I was told that true deaf story telling style would be performed at its best
without any loans from the spoken language. But SignWriting as a special
branch of movement writing taught me something different. Obviously there
are quite a number of SL in the world where some kind of loudless/voiceless
mouthing happens ... 

What I did was to accept this! Next step has been to make up standards: So I
startet to take some of the facial expressions for mouth movements that had
been created by Valerie for different purposes - 
For the German branch of SignWriting I can tell that the high amount of
Mundbilder makes the difference to GebaerdenSchrift. 

Now again I defined some mouth movements - going along with possible options
for speaking -but without any sound! And this leads to all the problems that
are to be kept in mind with lipreading. 

Just imagine to take a series of fotos while somebody is speaking. What do
you get? - You get a series of fotos with stills of different lip, mouth or
tongue representations. No imagine you try to guess and write down all
different possible and meaningfull options ... 

So it would no make sense to define a closed mouth as anything else but "M"
in the first place but perhaps "P" or "B" as well - 

and so forth 
It is as Valerie already said - as a teacher of deaf children I am looking
for any tool that allows them to become smart ... smile ... and definitely
SignWriting or Gebaerdenschrift with the many Mundbilder is a "must" ... 

.. And no - I do not prefer vertical writing in my documents - so writing
the Mundbilder in vertical would not be my problem ... 

.... and .. we did some experiments with writing Mundbilder without facial
circles -- it did not work. The best way for us is to allow the facial
circels overlap a little bit to indicate that the flow of mouth, lip and
tonguemovents is just represented in a sequence of artificial created
stills. All what matters is to allow a very quick and meaningfull reading of
the documents or single signs ... 

Hope this helps? 
Stefan ;-)  

-----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-sw-l at
[mailto:owner-sw-l at] Im Auftrag von Adam Frost
Gesendet: Samstag, 12. Mai 2007 18:12
An: sw-l at
Betreff: [sw-l] Vertical Mundbildschrift (?)

I am guessing that Mundbildschrift means something like mouth movements. If
I am right, then this is something on my list to get aquired knowledged of.
ASL also have very important adverbs that are on the mouth. 



-----Original Message-----
From: "Sandy Fleming" <sandy at>
Date: Sat, 12 May 2007 16:38:19 
To:sw-l at
Subject: Re: [sw-l] SVG version of our IMWA symbols

On Sun, 2007-05-06 at 08:21 -0700, Charles Butler wrote:
> Sandy, Valerie, and others.

> The only drawback I see is the Gaebardenschrift methodology for
> full-mouth articulation as a multiple overlapping head would not
> easily be possible using this method. 

Charles, Val, Stefan,

As you all know, SignWriting was originally written horizontally, but
vertical SignWriting is now preferred. Fingerspelling seems to be going
the same way, with a recent suggestion of vertical fingerspelling on the
list finding approval. After all, once you decide to write vertically,
anything that's written horizontally within the column is "going against
the grain" and it should come as no surprise that writing it vertically
is an improvement.

I would suggest that Mundbildschrift could also better be written
vertically within vertical SignWriting (see attached diagram and excuse
the badly-drawn mouths!).

As I've said before, I prefer faces to be opaque so that any background
doesn't render the expression difficult to read. This seems to work very
well with vertical Mundbildschrift, as the head circle doesn't interfere
with any other part of the facial expression and, after the intial
expression which might contain eyes and nose, only the mouthings are

I understand that horizontal Mundbildschrift my be preferred in
educational texts aimed at helping Deaf children who are learning to
write in an oral language, but for normal SignWriting texts for everyday
readers, this seems to me to be a very clear, natural and compact way to
write Mundbildshrift, and no problems with it going against the grain
and right out of the column!

To me, MUndbildschrift isn't just an education concern, it's also
important for everyday SignWriting to show "native" sign language lip
patterns (such as the "po", "vee", "lum" &c of BSL).

Any thoughts?


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