The word for "liberty" in many signed languages

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jul 6 20:30:10 UTC 2010

In the case of a musical score, I would think you would want to defer to Dance 
Writing which fixes a movement to each note of the staff, and thus SignWriting 
would be signing per the notes of the staff.  When one is using ASL as the 
medium for music, then this actually helps you to put the ASL into the rhythm of 
the piece.  It gets difficult when one sign flows into another, and I'm sure 
that all of us will work out our own methodology.  Japanese sheet music for 
their instruments is actually up and down the page with the lines going 
vertically to mark the the notes, and if you think of Western sheet music, one 
is marking vertically what is performed horizontally, so this is certainly a 


From: Kimberley Shaw <skifoot at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Tue, July 6, 2010 3:45:24 PM
Subject: Re: The word for "liberty" in many signed languages

PS: sorry the picture is sideways ... grr. New computer. Am still
learning how to properly do things on it.

On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 3:44 PM, Kimberley Shaw <skifoot at> wrote:
> Hello everyone:
> here is followup to my query seeking the signed equivalent of
> "liberty" in Spanish, Russian, South African, and International Sign.
> I didn't get all the languages I was seeking, but the performance went
> magnificently all the same!
> Let me back up here.
> My chorus has just returned from performing at a choral festival in
> the U.S. called Sister Singers Network. Several of the participating
> choruses -- like mine -- routinely have their performances interpreted
> into ASL. During the last night of this festival, a huge 200-voice
> chorus of festival attendees was to perform a brand-new piece of music
> which was written for the occasion by Jenni Brandon, entitled "A
> Universal Dream". During the last section of this piece, sopranos
> sing, "libertad, liberte, Freiheit, svoboda, inkululeko, liberta,
> chofesh, eleftheria" ... all of these words having the same meaning:
> "liberty". Whew, that's a lot of countries to research! At at the same
> time, altos are asking several times, "what is it the radicals seek?"
> before themselves chiming in with "Freiheit, inkululeko" ... etc.
> Signwriting to the rescue! It was a delight to find Spanish and German
> equivalents on Puddle already, and to then use Signwriting to record
> signs from other sources (such as a Russian-signing Deaf acquaintance
> and an old Gestuno dictionary.)
> One of the other chorus' interpreters (who herself is also
> hard-of-hearing like me, ha!) liked my idea of performing this piece
> as a team, and was very interested in my Signwritten "road map" of the
> piece of music. So, now she wants to know how long it takes to learn
> to read/write SW. So, if you encounter Shiner Antiorio among the
> Signwriters, you'll know that I sent her!
> Best of all, I met the composer of the piece herself, and asked if she
> would mind if I weren't able to sign *all* of the languages in the
> piece and substituted, say Gestuno for the Italian, etc. We had a very
> interesting discussion about performance, translation, and
> interpretation, then I went to rehearse and prepare for the
> performance. After the performance, she came up to me, and said that
> she would now like to add a link to to her own
> webpage, for the sake of other signed-language interpreters who would
> interpret this piece. Wow!
> We had fun at the performance itself. One wonderful thing about it was
> that we had an audience of 400 people, most of whom are familiar with
> the concept of ASL-interpreted choral concerts ... but many of whom
> had never seen two (or more) signers together jointly sign a piece.
> Brand-new concept to them, although Deaf people have done so for ages.
> It was an honor to get to be the one to introduce them to the concept!
> And so, here is a jpeg from that "road map" to show off, with the
> equivalents of "liberte", "Freiheit", "svoboda" (yes, it looks just
> like the ASL "freedom"! learned from Arkady Belezovsky), "chofesh" (a
> rabbi from Florida taught me this Israeli sign), and finally, the
> Gestuno. Yes, I ordinarily write vertically, not horizontally, but I
> find that sometimes writing horizontally makes it easier to integrate
> SW into a musical score. Am still figuring out the best way to do
> that.
> Hope all the US signwriters had a very happy 4th of July! Mine obviously was.
> Best,
> Kim from Boston
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From:  <6176997406 at>
> Date: Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 2:54 PM
> Subject:
> To: skifoot at
> liberte, freiheit ...
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