SVG version of our IMWA symbols

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Mon May 14 04:02:44 UTC 2007

Actually, I prefer vertical writing than horizontal for SignWriting.  
It is so much easier to read than horizontal writing. I have become  
less a fan of horizontal SW since I have used vertical SW. I almost  
never use horizontal SW anymore. I think it is more logical to write  
vertically because we are writing the body in space as it moves. The  
body position moved back and forth across the lanes makes a great  
deal of sense. I also believe that as reading proficiency increases,  
size will be less of an issue because I will not be reading the  
individual symbols but the whole sign. Just like I am right now as I  
type in English, I am not really looking at the individual letters. I  
am seeing whole words and then when the visual shape of the word is  
out of the ordinary, I realize I have misspelled it. I think the same  
will become true of SignWriting as people become more fluent. WIth  
greater fluency, we can reduce the symbols much smaller but still be  

I also think that printing landscape may be the best orientation for  
printing SW in vertical lanes. That may also work well to keep things  
tidy too.

As I mentioned before, horizontal scripts mixed into our writing can  
be made to fit our vertical orientation. I don't see why we should  
feel forced to adopt a horizontal orientation just because it is  
convenient or better accepted for spoken languages. ;-)

Just my thoughts.



On May 13, 2007, at 12:30, Sandy Fleming wrote:

> On Sat, 2007-05-12 at 08:56 -0700, 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.
> Of course an actual SignWriting text as stored in a file should never
> have any information about how it's to be rendered, whether  
> horizontal,
> vertical or in ever-decreasing circles  :)
> How to display the text would be the user's choice, as long as the
> software is mature enough to provide the sort of rendering he wants.
> I don't know why we bother with the idea of "lanes" to represent body
> shift in SignWriting, and I think the only reason we can't do it in
> horizontal writing is because it hasn't been thought through properly.
> To me, body shift simply feels like sideways shoulder movement when I
> sign and I don't see why it can't be represented in SignWriting in  
> just
> this way. The shoulders could be drawn and an arrow, short or long,
> could be used to indicate the shoulder movement to the left or right.
> This way the body shift can be shown in the same way in both  
> horizontal
> and vertical writing, nothing is lost, and the technique uses  
> resources
> that are already available in the SignWriting system. There's no  
> need to
> introduce anything new to show body shift.
> In vertical writing I suppose you could also actually move the sign to
> the left or right if you wanted that sort of layout -though it  
> makes for
> wider columns and fatter books  :)
> Sandy

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