MALAYSIA: Icon created meaning

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Thu Jul 8 16:51:05 UTC 2010

SignWriting List
July 7, 2010

Hello Ahmad Nazri!

Welcome to the SignWriting List...Thank you for posting this question below.

It is very nice to have members from Malaysia. Perhaps you have already seen our small web area about SignWriting in Malaysia?:

SignWriting in Malaysia

SignPuddle Dictionary for Malaysia

The dictionary only has two entries. They are two different variations of the sign for MALAYSIA written in Malaysian Sign Language in SignWriting. See attached...

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To answer your question, yes...SignWriting writes body movement, and the signers in Malaysia who wrote the two signs, were writing the way the body looks, when signing those two signs...SignWriting does not change signs - it is a spatial alphabet that is used to write any sign language in the world, just as it looks and feels, when Deaf people sign the language. So we are not changing sign language...just writing it the way it is signed in each country. So yes, we are following the standard sign language which normally is used by deaf people. SignWriting can also be used for research, to write more detail, or it can be used in a simpler form, to write only what is needed to understand the written signs.

SignWriting is a spatial alphabet used by writers who know their sign if the writer in Malaysia knows a sign language that is far away from the capital city and maybe that writer only knows a dialect of Malaysian Sign Language that is not the same as in the capital city...then the writer can only write what he or she knows to be correct...SignWriting is just a way to write down body movement, so it really depends on the knowledge of the writer...

I suspect that there are several dialects of Malaysian Sign Language, because there are usually different dialects of sign languages in every country - It depends on what schools the deaf children attend, and also it depends on how many services deaf people have in each country. If there are many services and interpreters available, then the sign languages of the country usually become more standardized around the country because there is more communication between the areas of the country...

But whether there is one sign language or many sign languages in Malaysia, SignWriting is not changing any of those languages. It is a script that can write any sign language.

We would love to help Malyasian signers learn how to write SignWriting, and we have the dictionary waiting for someone to start adding more signs...Would you like to learn how to use SignPuddle yourself? Tell us about your work and the needs of the Malaysian signers - are you skilled in Malaysian Sign Language?

Thank you again, Ahmad, for writing and for asking questions - We look forward to hearing from you -

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
Sutton at


On Jul 7, 2010, at 5:07 PM, Ahmad Nazri wrote:

> Dear Valerie Sutton and members
> I had go through all the information in the sign writing homepage. Since I am really new with the sign writing., just want to know,
> it is the sign writing follows all the standard sign language which normally used by deaf people?
> Is it the icon created in sign writing meaning to that particular standard sign language?
> Thank you very much
> Regards
> Ahmad Nazri
> University Science Malaysia
> Malaysia.

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