Recently approved MA Thesis on SignWriting

Stuart Thiessen thiessenstuart.lists at GMAIL.COM
Tue May 10 15:40:48 UTC 2011

Thanks for the questions. I have been travelling for work so I haven't had a
chance to check responses to my email until now. :) I arrive home tonight. I
will reply with answers to your questions and other questions in this

Let me say this much and then I'll respond more specifically later. My goal
for the thesis was to provide an analysis of the symbols based on the
symbols themselves and then look for predictable rules that can help us
develop rules that a computer can use to predict placement. Where possible,
predicted placement can help us have more predictable spellings and less
variations. I did want to talk more in detail about placement issues, but I
did not have time because I needed to describe each symbol category in depth
first. My last 2 chapters deal with placement questions. The research I was
able to do gives me some ideas on how placement could be handled, but I
would need more time to develop that.



On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Bill Reese <wreese01 at> wrote:

>  Great!  I'm glad they're working together on it.  I hope great things come
> out of the collaboration.
> I know I brought this up before but I'm wondering, Stuart, if a concept of
> relative coordinate systems was discussed in your thesis?   I did a quick
> scan so I'm not sure if it was.  What I mean by "relative" is a coordinate
> system that's related to a previous symbol in a sign according to that
> sign's signspelling sequence.
> The coordinate for the first symbol would be in absolute coordinates
> according to the signbox, then the second symbol would relate to the first
> symbol according to a coordinate system using a point of the first symbol as
> the origin.
> Doing it that way may allow establishing matrices of symbol pairing in a
> sign.   I would imagine this to be similar to "kerning" and possibly define
> distances according to the pairs rotation of not only themselves but to each
> other.  Similar to what you were saying about establishing minimum
> distances.
> About the overlap of symbols that you mention.  I was wondering if it
> couldn't also be solved by a matrix of symbol pairing so that a particular
> matrix value would indicate overlap - say, a value of -1.   On the other
> hand, do you think it would be possible to create totally different symbols
> that are overlaps of two symbols?  I ask this as that's what's done in other
> languages when there's an overlap.  For instance, "æ" which looks like "a"
> and "e" overlapped but is it's own symbol.  I would hazard a guess that
> separate symbols are only possible when there's only a few.
> Bill
> On 5/9/2011 1:06 PM, Valerie Sutton wrote:
> SignWriting List
> May 9, 2011
>  Hello Bill -
> Just want you to know that we have a group of Unicode-knowledgeable people
> working together on our SignWriting proposals that will be presented to the
> Unicode-related meetings over a period of years, and Steve and Stuart are
> both in the group, along with others as well - so we are all working
> together...The proposals have been separated into proposing the encoding of
> the symbols, or characters, first, (of the International SignWriting
> Alphabet 2010) and then once the symbols have been encoded, we will present
> a second proposal related to layout and symbol placement issues - so that
> second area is where different theories will be discussed until we can come
> up with a final decision for a second proposal - so we are taking this one
> step at at a time...
>  An exciting time for all of us - smile -
>  Val ;-)
>  ----------
>  On May 9, 2011, at 8:56 AM, Bill Reese wrote:
>  Stuart,
> Wow, that was a lot of work!  I do have one question.  How would the most
> recent work in Unicode and, more particularly, what Steve Slevinski has
> written to the list affect the portion where you talk about what may be
> needed for successful Unicode acceptance?   From what it appears, it's well
> on it's way to acceptance with what Steve and Michael Everson have done.
> Bill
> On 5/8/2011 1:02 AM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> Hello, all! I know it's been a long time, no see. I wanted to let you know
> that I have completed my MA thesis on SignWriting. For those of you
> interested in reading it, you can download a PDF from the University
> website. Just so you know, the PDF itself is about 22MB.
>  **
>  If you have any questions about it, just let me know.
>  Thanks,
>  Stuart
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