AW: [sw-l] ISWA 2008 Final & the PersonalPuddle

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GEBAERDENSCHRIFT.DE
Wed Oct 22 07:58:11 UTC 2008

Hello Valerie, Steve, sw-list members

I read this message several times. Wow - what an accomplishment. 

It is difficult for me to express my feelings of respect, gratitude and
pride. You change the world. You offer brilliant tools to bridge the worlds
of the hearing and Deaf. You offer new options to study and to compare all
SL of the world. I understand that providing a tool that allows writing down
SL for every day use as well as for detailed scientific studies will support
all of us who believe in bilingual education. I am using your invention with
various software - Programs almost for 10 years now. 

Reading your message I remembered your letter to the list back in 1997. (see
attached message) Isn't it amazing that it took only almost 10 years to make
these dreams and visions come true? 

There have been so many inspiring people participated in the long run. From
my point of view it is your way to accept anybody coming to the SW-community
just as he/she is. You invite us to share our ideas, questions, doubts and
you never looked down on anybody if the same question has been asked again
and again. 

Thinking about this I ask myself how many professional and personal skills
are needed to get such an idea from the ground. Still today there are
probably more then 20 (smile) SL- linguists who do not understand what a
major change has happened. I am convinced that further scientific
investigations will proof that your contribution became a landmark in the
history of modern SL research that your invention will be known as the
Copernican Revolution in this field.

Keep up your brilliant work. Keep up your generosity and friendship to share
with us, what you have developed. All I can say is thank you for everything
you donate to us. 

Most of us are not able to understand anything that is behind this
complicated programming. So thanks to Richard Gleaves and Steve Slevinski
and other brilliant software experts we are able to share, to write, to
preserve what is to be expressed in SL directly in SignWriting. 

Hopefully in ten years from now I should be able to write all this in ASL --

And Steve I would like to include you: “Let's all congratulate Valerie and
Steve on their amazing work.  This is a historic day and I'm glad I was a
contemporary witness.

Have a wonderful day and take care - we need you!
All good wishes -
Stefan ;-)

>>From the Desk of
Valerie Sutton
November 21, 1997

Hello Ronice!

Thanks for the excellent comment above :-)

In the future we hope to add a "SignWriting Chat Room" to our SignWriting
Web Site. Hopefully the Chat Room will be available in 1998, as soon as we
complete the new version of the SignWriter Computer Program, version 5.0.
There is no question that it will happen in time, I am just not sure exactly

At present, this is how I envision the Chat Room working...

Participants will first need to download the new SignWriter Shareware so
that SignWriting can be typed on their computers. Then, on our SignWriting
Web Site, they would go to the SignWriting Forum, and enter "the Chat Room".

But .....this Chat Room will be very different than other chat rooms. Try to
imagine typing to each other in the visual nature of signed languages -
truly "thinking in a signed language" as facial expressions, handshapes, and
movement symbols are typed down the screen in vertical columns. Participants
will be able to share signs from different countries. The software will be
flexible. Conversations can switch back and forth between signed and spoken
languages, alternating between three typing modes: signs, fingerspelling and
the Roman alphabet.

Perhaps we should have separate chat rooms for the different signed
languages? For example, we could have an ASL Chat Room, and a DSL Chat Room
and a BSL Chat Room etc - and people could switch languages and enter
another Chat Room when they wish. What do you think?

All of this is in the design stage, so if you have good ideas please tell

All good wishes -


-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: sw-l-bounces at
[mailto:sw-l-bounces at] Im Auftrag von Valerie Sutton
Gesendet: Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2008 18:13
An: SignWriting List
Betreff: Re: [sw-l] ISWA 2008 Final & the PersonalPuddle

SignWriting List
October 21, 2008

Hello SignWriting List!

And thank you Steve, for your message below. Thank you for the kind  
words. And thank you for collaborating with me, to make this historic  
moment possible.

There are two big announcements today.

FIRST...The International SignWriting Alphabet (ISWA 2008) is official!

The ISWA became the official symbolset for SignWriting around the  
world, yesterday, October 20, 2008!

The ISWA is now installed in all SignPuddle software products. I will  
be reviewing all the SignPuddle products here on the SignWriting List  
over the next few days...

The free online version of SignPuddle is used daily by hundreds of  
sign language users.

When you use SignPuddle Online, you are using the ISWA 2008 symbols:

SignPuddle Online

Most of you may not realize that you are using the ISWA, but you are.  
Whenever you use SignPuddle Online, it is there for you, in SignMaker  
and SignText.

The ISWA is the culmination of my 35 years developing SignWriting. As  
you know, the first SignWriting document ever written was in 1974 at  
the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. SignWriting became my life's  
work from that moment on, and will be for the rest of my life.

Without all of the wonderful SignWriting users around the world, of  
course SignWriting could not be what it is THANK YOU to  
all of you, for your feedback and your use of the writing  
system...Your input has made the ISWA 2008 possible too.

I hope my gift of the ISWA to the world will be useful for generations  
to come...

I will announce the second announcement next is new  
software for your desktop, called the PersonalPuddle.

Thank you once again, Steve, for your remarkable software that made  
the ISWA 2008 official!

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at


On Oct 21, 2008, at 8:33 AM, Steve Slevinski wrote:

> Hi list,
> The review period for the ISWA 2008 ended successfully yesterday.   
> Valerie will be announcing that the ISWA is final, as in finally  
> done and finished.  There has been a lot of work on this latest  
> symbol set.  I'm proud of the work that we've done together.
> This could be the final symbol set for SignWriting.  If not forever,  
> then at least the next few years.  With the new character encoding  
> model, this may be the symbol set that will be used with Unicode,  
> but that's a different story.
> SignPuddle Online already uses the ISWA 2008.  Just last week I  
> finished a new desktop version of the PocketPuddle called the  
> PersonalPuddle for Windows and Mac.  The installation has been  
> greatly simplified: just unzip and start the application.  It works  
> the same as SignPuddle Online, except it doesn't require an Internet  
> connection.  With the new SignPuddle export function, it is possible  
> to get a local copy of any of the online puddles to use offline at  
> any time.
> The PersonalPuddle is available for $100, the same price as the  
> PocketPuddle.  Except for the rest of this month, the price has been  
> cut in half to $50 to celebrate the release of the ISWA 2008 Final.
> For the PocketPuddle users, they will be offered the PersonalPuddle  
> at not cost.  They can contact me directly if they would like help  
> converting their existing IMWA data over to the ISWA.
> I am finishing the IMWA Conversion document and code.  It will be  
> ready in the next couple of days.
> Let's all congratulate Valerie on her amazing work.  This is a  
> historic day and I'm glad I was a part.
> Regards,
> -Steve


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