5 fingers handshape

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jul 2 02:49:02 UTC 2010

I would agree with the Spanish.  Where is the thumb.  That's where I'd write it. 
 I'd be very confused if a thumb does not switch to tell me where to write it.

Charles Butler

From: Adam Frost <icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thu, July 1, 2010 10:32:18 PM
Subject: Re: 5 fingers handshape

Hello Dali,

Actually that is a very good question. One that confuses many beginners for very 
valid reasons. Basically it is a difference in how people view how to write the 
5 handshape that you were referring to, which is more specifically the hinge 

When you have you hand facing yourself and the fingers hinged towards you, do 
the look like they go to the left or the right, in or out? In reality, it is 
neither, but the problem comes when you are writing it on a flat paper, so it 
could be either. So how do we solve this? This is where the two different ideas 
come along and thus confusing new writers like yourself. 

As you noticed, the Spanish have it so that the white hands goes out while the 
black hands go inward. This is because the symbols have the thumbs on the side 
of the palm that you would expect in real life; outward when the palm faces you, 
and inward when it doesn't. 

Then you noticed that the "crazy" Americans (I can say that because I am one and 
I am being a little humorous here. Wink.) have it so that the hinge is drawn in 
one direction whether it is black or white. This is because of the general 
philosophy that held by many Deaf individuals that have worked with Val over the 
years (including myself) and have influenced her also to subscribe to it. This 
philosophy is that all signs have a center and the hands are written flowing to 
its center. So it makes it so that the hinge handshapes always turn inward 

I hope that this helps you understand why there is a difference that you notice. 
So it is really that both are readable to the reader that understands this. My 
suggestion is that you pick one that you feel is most comfortable and most 
common with those that you write with. 


PS If you really don't know which to go with, go with always having the hinges 
going inward because that is how the ISWA is set up and it is easier to 
remember, but that is my biased opinion. ;-)

On Jul 1, 2010, at 6:59 PM, "Dali balti" <livingtabernacle at YAHOO.FR> wrote:

> Hello every one!
> I have a small question which might be easy for all of you but it is so 
>embarrassing for me!!!
> when dealing with five fingers, and specially when the palm of the hand is 
>facing me, I discovered that many people use different shapes which make me 
> for instance, when I used the Spanish manual which was translated into English 
>for SignWriting teachings, in the list of the symbols, when dealing with 5 
>fingers (white - not black and not half-half), and when the thumb is touching 
>the other fingers: the handshape direction of the fingers is opposite to the 
>other black handshapes, the Spanish manual do teach so, you can see the 
>handshapes (example to give). But in other french and american dictionaries, the 
>5 fingers are having the same directions whether black or white!
> I do not know if I have well explained my point of view!
> I have listed an example : 
> the fingers here, should be turned to the left as it is written, or to the 
>right since the thumb is not in the right direction????? or is it up to the 
>signer to choose??????
> please help me I am so confused?
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