SVG version of our IMWA symbols

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sun May 13 11:38:27 UTC 2007

Here is an example of teaching comparative grammar using both lanes and horizontal writing.  It takes up a large graphic, but for a classroom example of a classic nursery rhyme it may help to show how SW differs in production, grammar, and placement of subjects, verbs, objects, and their relation to one another.  It also shows, for me, how SEE and ASL differ. 


Stuart Thiessen <sw at> wrote: Well, this is just my 2ยข worth, but it seems to me that most horizontal writing systems lose nothing being written vertically whereas SW seems to miss more when it is written horizontally. I would suggest that when we do comparisons, we do them vertically.  Or we simply put the horizontal text before or after the vertical text.  Just my thought.


On May 12, 2007, at 10:56, Charles Butler wrote:

I hope, however, we will always have a choice in rendering SW as horizontal or vertical, precisely for use in classrooms where one is trying to compare grammar for a horizontally written language and a vertically written one.  I know we miss lanes with that, and that is an essential feature of sign language, not really sure how to point out that other than both vertical and horizontal renderings.  One does that with Chinese or Korean, where a word or meaning is compact in the Chinese or Korean and then expanded in the English or other alphabet. 

Fingerspelling compared letter for letter, sign cluster for grammatical phrase, there will always be a good reason for horizontal possibilities, even with vertical preferred.


Sandy Fleming <sandy at> wrote: 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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