Mouth Patterns

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Sep 21 15:45:04 UTC 2008

SignWriting List
September 21, 2008

On Sep 21, 2008, at 6:11 AM, MARIA AZZOPARDI wrote:
> I'm trying to figure out the exact mouth patterns for the signwriting
> symbols.
> Is there by any chance a list of the signwriting mouth patterns with  
> the
> corresponding phonetic alphabet (IPA) letters that match the  
> signwriting
> symbols? Or perhaps photos/illustrations of the mouth patterns  
> produced by
> the signer with the correspoinding signwriting symbols?
> Many thanks,
> Maria


Hello Maria and Stefan!

Thank you for your message above, Maria, and I am happy to see that  
Stefan has already answered you at length...

Let me try to explain it with English terminology...

If I make any mistakes, Stefan, please tell me...It would be great to  
get good terminology in English for your developments...

A few years back, I asked Stefan to find a name for his invention and  
we decided that in English, we would call it Woehrmann's  
SpeechWriting. In German, Stefan calls it Mundbildschrift.

Did you know about Woehrmann's SpeechWriting?

Stefan took the basic SignWriting mouth symbols, and then developed  
them further, inventing a system for writing the mouth patterns of  
German speech, using an extended set of is very exciting  
because some of Stefan's students are actually learning to speak  
German words better, because of his amazing SpeechWriting development.

Stefan also differentiates between SpeechWriting, and Mouthing...the  
movements of the mouth while signing...when signers mouth the way a  
word would be said, while they are using Sign Language...I believe  
Stefan calls this Mundbilder in this correct, Stefan?

And then there is a third set of mouth movements that are connected to  
native Sign Languages of the Deaf...that are not based on any spoken "PAH" and other mouth positions we all know...based on  
the grammatical needs of sign languages...

So there are three kinds of writing the mouth:

1. SpeechWriting....or....Mundbildschrift in German

2. Mouthing.....or....Mundbilder in German

3. Sign Language mouth movements based on grammar....what is that in  

Anyway, no matter what..there are three kinds! ;-))

And number 2 and 3 above are in the ISWA...

Regarding more instruction for the ISWA symbols, including Facial  
Expressions, we have started a new place to learn the is  
still under construction, but you might want to look now...someday  
there will be photos or other illustrations to help you learn the  

ISWA 2008 Symbol Lessons

You can also access the above page from the Lessons area:

SignWriting Lessons

Val ;-)

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