SW Handwriting

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Apr 2 16:50:56 UTC 2012

SignWriting List
April 2, 2012

Hello Adam, Kim and everyone -
What a great posting. Thank you, Adam and Kim, for sharing your handwritten photos and notes with us…

I just posted Kim's handwriting photo on my Facebook page:

Val on Facebook

and with your permission, Adam, may I post your example as well? With your description in this message?

Adam's SW handwriting is a blend of the old Shorthand symbols, and the way we write today. I have seen Adam writing it fluently by hand very fast, and it is quite readable now, for me, because I know the old Shorthand symbols so it makes sense to me.

Back in the 1980's we differentiated strongly between Shorthand and Handwriting. The terminology was something like this:

SignWriting Hand Printing (writing as perfectly as you can by hand so that it looks like printed SignWriting- like block letters)

SignWriting Handwriting (sloppier version that you and others can read that really looks like the official SignWriting but has some shortcuts

SignWriting Shorthand (very abbreviated and only can be understood if you re-transcribe it into official SignWriting soon after)

So Adam very intelligently has captured some of the good points of Shorthand, but improved it because we can read it later - ha!!

We have two whiteboards in my home office, where Adam and I write notes to each other - well - I should say it is mostly Adam writing notes to me, in SW Handwriting, and I still am reading his notes from last summer and enjoying them!

So send us more everyone - examples of your Handwriting notes are very useful.

Future plans are to write a book about SignWriting Handwriting and Shorthand - Adam - do you have more examples? We can make a compilation of them later...

Val ;-)


On Apr 2, 2012, at 9:09 AM, Adam Frost wrote:

> Because of the mention of handwriting, I felt that I should mention how I handwrite. This how I handwrite.
> The photo is the beginning of The Cat in the Hat. I have shown Valerie my style of handwriting before. It is kind of a cross between handwriting and shorthand along with my own little spin on things, but there is no information lost or "assumed" as in shorthand. The non-dominate hand (in this case, the left hand) is not written. The timing symbols are used to tell how that hand moves with relations to the dominate hand. True shorthand symbols are used to write "static" non-dominate hands like in the sign CAN'T on the top of the left column.
> The non-dominate side of the face is also not written. If the eyebrows are different, than both are written. The mouth is always written in full. 
> I can't think of anything else that might be good to explain about how I handwrite, but if anyone has questions I am more than willing to answer. 
> Adam
> On Mar 29, 2012, at 10:25 AM, "Valerie Sutton" <sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG> wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> March 29, 2012
>> THANK YOU, Kim, for the great photo of your SW Handwriting - Writing by hand is flourishing, as I said…I was able to retrieve the photo - it is great! Here it is attached…Can you all see it now? Val ;-)
>> <SignWriting_Handwriting_Kim_Shaw_2012.jpg>
>> ---
>> On Mar 29, 2012, at 7:13 AM, Kimberley Shaw wrote:
>>> #%$^*
>>> Sorry list. My lovely picture turned into a string of code that nobody
>>> needs to see.
>>> Take Two, I'm trying it as an attachment now.
>>> - Kim from Boston
>>> On Thu, Mar 29, 2012 at 10:10 AM, Kimberley Shaw <skifoot at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Sure! I'm glad to volunteer an example of real-world handwriting.
>>>> I have a whole folder full of songs which are translated from English or
>>>> Yiddish into ASL. They are written while my ASL-consultant creates an
>>>> on-the-fly interpretation of the song's printed words. I never can write
>>>> quite fast enough to capture "real-time" signing -- wish I could! As is,
>>>> there are a certain amount of against-the-rules shortcuts that I use, which
>>>> are faster to write than the standard version, and make sense to me. (So
>>>> that when the director decides to use a song I and my consultant translated
>>>> 5 years ago, I can still read and understand notes from 5 years ago...)
>>>> There is a constant tension between writing nicely, neatly and properly, and
>>>> writing quickly and more streamlined!
>>>> It is true that standard Signwriting doesn't always flow easily from pen or
>>>> paper. It feels very much like writing in Hebrew when you have to use all
>>>> the diacritics and vowels, versus just writing cursive consonants, as fluent
>>>> Israelis (and Yiddish speakers) do.
>>>> So here's a picture of one song, unedited, unimproved, warts and all.
>>>> Straight from my cellphone. I hope it gets from here to there OK.
>>>> Best,
>>>> Kim from Boston

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