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

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Oct 22 18:23:58 UTC 2008

SignWriting List
October 22, 2008

Hello Stefan!

THANK YOU for this really wonderful message!

Your support and positive, creative ideas have meant much all these  
years, so you are very much a part of the overall accomplishment...

So all of you, here on the List, who have asked to discuss writing  
signs, and who use our software, can say that the accomplishment is  
really "OURS" a team ;-))

Think of all the important discussions we have had on the SignWriting  
List since 1996! Every message had influence, helping us realize what  
needed to be done has taken a long time but well worth the  

And there are new developments I haven't shared with you yet too!

Plus there are new projects starting to teach the ISWA 2008 properly.  
I will be updating the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook, making a Third  
Edition, and then there are new instruction tools being developed,  
like the animated gifs by Adam Frost and so forth...and in time I want  
to share with all of you new symbols in the ISWA...I hope you like  

My message continues below, between your paragraphs...

Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:
> 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.

I know! You are soooo skilled with SignWriter DOS, Stefan! One of the  
best in the world. And the television program in Germany was so  
terrific, showing how you use SignWriter DOS with your Deaf  
students...we must try to get permission to show people that wonderful  

So you have been using SignWriting for 10 years? A whole decade!

THANK YOU for your large contributions...

> 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?

Ha! It is all a matter of our perspective. We live in a society that  
wants to have "instant gratification". We assume that a whole writing  
system can be developed and completed and accepted in a decade...but  
actually historically it usually takes centuries for writing systems  
to get used on a broad scale like actually, if you compare  
it to centuries, then 10 years or 35 years is really not that long a

But that is fun you found that old message from 1997! I enjoyed  
reading it below!

Actually, from a technology point of view, we still do not have a  
SignWriting Chat Room that is "live" yet...but we can write to each  
other in SignWriting through the technology part of this  
is not really the same as the writing system itself...the ISWA is the  
writing system's symbols...and Steve has created the online and  
offline software: SignPuddle...which is absolutely terrific...that is  
where we have SignMail...but not a Chat Room yet...which was described  
in 1997

I prefer the PersonalPuddle myself anyway...I don't think we need a  
Chat Room. But we have needed a way to use SignPuddle on our computer  
desktop, and that is what the PocketPuddle and the PersonalPuddle give  


> 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.

Thanks for saying this. are correct that it is because of  
our conversations through the SignWriting List, and discussing these  
issues, that we have learned together...It is true that I am open to  
everyone's ideas and suggestions...and thank you everyone for your  

> 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.

This is a great honor, Stefan. Thank you for this.

I know that most of the world does not realize yet...that is true. But  
it probably took the Copernican Revolution some time before it got  
established too...

So I plan to live to 120 years old ;-))

That means that I am barely half way through with my life (big grin ;-)

And I assume you and everyone who uses SignWriting will live strong  
and good lives

So now that we have the ISWA 2008 established, and we have Steve's  
wonderful software, now we can move forward to publish a whole bunch  
of SignWriting Literature and teaching materials in different sign  
languages. In time there will be a Wikipedia, I hope, in ASL  
Steve is still working on that technical development software, called  
the SignWriting  MediaWiki Plugin. Thank you, Steve!

> 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.

You are very welcome. My greatest pleasure indeed!

> 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.

Yes. I agree. Many thanks for the software developers around the world!

And your PocketPuddle can be updated to the new ISWA symbols by the  

Thank you, Steve, for making this possible -

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

You already write beautifully...

But I do hope that in another decade there are real German Sign  
Language and American Sign Language published books written in  
SignWriting...real literature on the library shelves...of world  
literature etc...written in SignWriting...we need lots of reading  
material now...lots of published literature that classrooms will have  
plenty of reading material to learn SignWriting quickly...that is the  
only way it will spread in the schools...if the teachers can have lots  
of literature immediately...

> 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 ;-)

Thank you once again, Stefan!!

Val ;-)


>> 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
> when.
> 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
> me!!
> All good wishes -
> Valerie
> -----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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