Recently approved MA Thesis on SignWriting

Marie Alexander marie.alexander at UM.EDU.MT
Wed May 11 07:23:12 UTC 2011

That will be the work for your Ph.D. I hope.   Well done Stuart!

Marie Alexander (from Malta)

On 5/10/2011 5:40 PM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> 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 thread.
> 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.
> Thanks,
> Stuart
> On Mon, May 9, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Bill Reese <wreese01 at 
> <mailto: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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