'A' letteral incorrect in US Dictionary?

Adam Frost icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 22 13:33:15 UTC 2011

For ASL, both handshapes are seen as basically the same. While there is a technical difference as you have pointed out, if I were to spell my name with one or the other, most people would not notice the difference. For this reason, the DAC (Deaf Action Committee) had decided to write both with the "thumb side diagonal" rather than the "thumb side unit". Also, I believe that the "thumb side diagonal" is an older symbol that was used first while the "thumb side unit" was actually created because there was a later need to make a distinction either in another sign language or for research. So there is no error in SignPuddle with regards to that particular entry. ;-)

As far as how conflict resolution, the US SignPuddle is online and open. It really needs to be monitored, but it would be a full time job for a team of people to do so. As of right now, the common practice is to put in your version of the entry if you feel that something needs to be entered. If you feel that there is something that is very wrong, Val and I can take a look at it and change it if needed.

So should you ignore what the dictionary says and use your own interpretation? You are more than welcome to do so, as is everyone else. But that entry is the common practice for most ASL SignWriters in the US for writing the fingerspelled letter A. ;-)


On Sep 22, 2011, at 1:36 AM, Alan Post wrote:

> Here is the entry for the A letteral in the US SignPuddle
> dictionary:
>  http://signbank.org/signpuddle1.6/searchword.php?ui=1&sgn=4&sid=5476&search=a&type=exact
> Using the hint Steve provided me, I find the handshape for that
> symbol on this page, showing "thumb side diagonal":
>  http://www.signbank.org/iswa/1f7/1f7_bs.html
> I've been taught that the A letteral is actually this BaseSymbol,
> the "thumb side unit":
>  http://www.signbank.org/iswa/1f8/1f8_bs.html
> I'm *inclined* to think that this is a data-entry error in
> SignPuddle, and a subtly different symbol was entered for the A
> letteral than what it actually is.  (An easy mistake to make without
> the hand shape photos as a reference.)
> But is it that I'm seeing acceptable variation in how the A letteral
> is signed?
> What is the conflict resolution mechanism when this occurs in
> SignPuddle?  Should I enter what I believe to be the A letteral as a
> separate entry?  Should the existing entry be fixed?  Should I ignore
> what the dictionary says and use my own interpretation in my own
> documents?
> Will someone give me some guidance here on either my assumptions
> about this being an error or what, if anything, I should do?
> -Alan
> -- 
> .i ma'a lo bradi cu penmi gi'e du

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