An alphabet for a specific sign language from the ISWA 2010
maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT
Sun Jul 29 21:10:13 UTC 2012
Once again thank you Charles and Val for your feedback!
I understand that the symbol frequency is a good way to find out symbols
used to write a specific language - and it can be done - it's a wonderful
tool in Puddle (thank you Steve!) and I have used it very recently to
analyze the Maltese Sign Language alphabet. However it's not the intention
of the work to figure out other languages alphabets etc. What I need to
know is whether this work has been carried out by other researchers or
I am fully aware (as i have taught SignWriting this way in the past also)
that the ISWA 2010 can be used as it is to write any sign language - and
so it's natural that the process of identifying the alphabet of a language
may be bypassed. That is, you can still teach the writing of a specific
language WITHOUT having yet discovered the alphabet, because ALL symbols
of any alphabet are there and ready in the ISWA 2010.
However just to summarize one small finding from my work - for Maltese
Sign Language, 268 base symbols are used from the ISWA's 652. On further
analysis the number may be reduced to 248 symbol.
So Maltese Sign Language has an alphabet of 248 symbols - now once this
work is completed - future manuals for the writing of Maltese sign
language need not cover the 403 base symbols that are NOT used, are NOT
part of this specific language. See the point I'm after? There may be
benefits from having the alphabet set.
This is one very thin slice of the work, there is a long way to go...
> SignWriting List
> July 28, 2012
> Hi Maria and Charles -
> Yes, Charles is correct. Using the Symbol Frequency feature in SignPuddle
> Online is an excellent way to find all of the symbols used to write the
> signs in that specific database. For example, imagine you are searching
> for all of the handshapes used in American Sign Language.
> 1. Go to the ASL SignPuddle dictionary:
> ASL SignPuddle Dictionary
> 2. Click on Symbol Frequency.
> 3. Click on the Hands category.
> 4. Click on the SymbolGroup you want.
> 5. Notice in that group, which symbols have numbers under them, and which
> ones are grey?
> 6. The grey symbols are symbols not used in writing ASL signs in the ASL
> dictionary puddle.
> 7. The numbers under the symbols shows how many times that symbol was used
> to write signs in this database�
> See attached -
> On Jul 27, 2012, at 10:38 PM, Charles Butler wrote:
>> The fastest way to do that is to look at "symbol frequency" in any of
>> the SignPuddles. This would give you the current research on the minimal
>> pairs of a language. For example, one of the earlier publications of
>> LIBRAS had determined a certain number of handshapes (around 96), then
>> people began putting in the variants from Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and
>> Rio Grande de Sul and the number expanded. Each day we've gotten a few
>> more handshapes. When I was there in 2000, there were two handshapes,
>> for example, using the ring finger and the thumb in contact, "droga" and
>> "noiva", which depend on where the thumb is placed.
>> Charles Butler
>> chazzer3332000 at yahoo.com
>> Clear writing moves business forward.
>> From: MARIA GALEA <maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT>
>> To: SW-L at LISTSERV.VALENCIACOLLEGE.EDU
>> Sent: Friday, July 27, 2012 11:34 PM
>> Subject: An alphabet for a specific sign language from the ISWA 2010
>> Dear all,
>> Me again with one more question..
>> Has anyone out there studied the alphabet of his/her sign language- that
>> is has anyone derived a smaller amount of symbols from the ISWA 2010,
>> the significant symbols (an alphabet) for writing a specific language
>> ASL, BSL, Norwegian Sign Language, German sign language etc?
>> If you know of any such work could you direct me to it please.
>> If you have carried it out would love to include and refer to your work
>> my dissertation.
>> Once again I truly appreciate ANY feedback whatsoever,
> Val ;-)
> Valerie Sutton
> SignWriting List moderator
> sutton at signwriting.org
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