AW: [sw-l] Namibia handshape construction

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Wed Jun 3 16:08:06 UTC 2009

SignWriting List
June 3, 2009

Thank you for this message, Ingvild...

Ingvild Roald wrote:

> Hi Val and all,
> 1) I am happy that we can be flexible and try out what feels  
> natural. After all, this is just the very beginning of SignWriting,  
> even if it has become a very long way since the start in 1974. I  
> also think that the different signed languages will come to slightly  
> different conclusions, depending on wheter or not they do have other  
> handshapes that can be confused with the one in question. In  
> Norwegian SL, a lot of handshapes are percieved as the same, even if  
> by analysis they are different.

Yes, that is true about handshapes in different countries. I remember  
that in Denmark they told me that they see no difference between the  
Index Finger with a tight fist, and what we call the D handshape in  
ASL...the index with a circle that created a problem when  
writing because we had two symbols and they only needed one so which  
one should they choose to write with? Those kinds of issues need to be  
researched in each sign language and then over time, we can create  
smaller symbolsets based on what that specific sign language is using...

One of the WONDERFUL features of SignPuddle (thank you, Steve!), is  
the Search by Symbol Frequency button on the left side of the screen  
in SignPuddle Dictionaries...when you click on that button, if it is a  
dictionary puddle, you will see all the symbols that have been used in  
that one dictionary to date...and that can show you the symbols needed  
for your specific sign language...It cannot find all the symbols in  
SignText yet, but it will someday...but software like that will really  
help the research process...

Regarding the issues of Freedom versus Chaos...Freedom is always the  
best bet, just as long as it doesn't get so chaotic that we cannot  
read each other's documents...

> 2) Go ahead and sell the book, and keep whatever income there may  
> be. - I would like to revise it and make it more complete, but it  
> may be sold as it is. I now of a few SignWritten typos, but that is  
> as expected

OK. Thank you, Ingvild. I doubt if there will be sales, but it is  
still good to have the title of the book out in the real world,  
because SignWriting is mostly used by small groups of people in  
different countries, which means that the general public is not aware  
that it even exists...Your book, and other books, if listed in the  
publishing world's book listings, makes it clear that there is this  
system called "SignWriting" that even has a Norwegian textbook!

Is the title of your book "Tegnskrift 2006"?  I need to list it in the  
Bowker listings (publishing profession book directory) and I cannot  
sell the book without being in Bowker with an ISBN number  
(International Standard Book Number)...

So I will write to you privately about the details of your

Thanks for writing it!

For those who would like to download Ingvild's book, it is free to  

If there are others who have written textbooks on SignWriting...or  
other publications that can be sold on the market, tell me and I will  
be happy to do the paperwork to get it up on and in the  
Bowker listings...

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at

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