Definition of 'base symbol'

Steve Slevinski slevin at SIGNPUDDLE.NET
Mon Jul 30 14:15:55 UTC 2012

Hi Maria,

It looks like your questions were answered.  Please repeat any questions 
that were not.

Regarding the base symbols, here are my thoughts...

On 7/27/12 10:26 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:
> How would you define the base symbol of ISWA 2010?
I believe Stuart Thiessen used the term "exemplar" in his MA thesis 
instead of base symbol.

I use the term BaseSymbol and identify each by ID. 
(cat-group-base-variation)  The first BaseSymbol is 01-01-001-01. 
Section 5 of of "Modern SignWriting" describes the ISWA 2010 symbol set 
as a "mathematical alphabet".

> does it represent NO rotation and orientation? (because actually it is
> marked for rotation and orientation).

Based on the visual appearance, the base symbol does appear to have 
orientation and rotation.  However, the visual appearance of the base 
symbol is secondary.  The primary purpose of the base symbol is to 
organize up to 96 symbols.  Each symbol has an ID that includes 2 
additional numbers, a 5th (fill or orientation) and a 6th (rotation).

The base symbol ID does not include the 5th or 6th numbers of the full 
symbol ID.  The base symbol is before rotations and orientations.  The 
base symbol organizes the symbols according to rotation and orientation.

The choice of visual appearance for base symbols is heuristic and 
pragmatic.  In the past, the hand base symbols all used the first 
orientation ( fill 1 ) as a white palms.  When a symbol group was viewed 
as a collection of base symbols, the details of the hand shapes were 
difficult to distinguish.  Except for the 10 hand symbol groups, the 
visual appearance for all base symbols was switched to the second 
orientation ( fill 2 ).

The 10 hand symbol groups:

Inside of hand symbol groups, you can see the first base symbol uses the 
first orientation ( fill 1 ) and all of the rest use the second 
orientation ( fill 2 ).  The choice is for readability.

If we understand the ISWA 2010 as an organized mathematical alphabet, we 
can change certain aspects of the ISWA 2010 for easily configured 
sub-sets or for more complex custom sub-sets.

Easy subsets will be available shortly.  You will be able to remove 
entire symbol groups or base symbols.  For any base symbol you will be 
able to remove entire orientations or rotations.  The organization will 
stay the same, but the choices will be more limited.

More complex custom sub-sets are possible.  In theory, you can choose a 
small number of hand shapes.  You can order them according to your 
preference rather than relying on the International Standard.  This will 
allow for customized sorting and will influence keyboarding.  I have a 
few ideas, but I haven't put anything into code yet.

In section 12.D ( Symbol Subsets ) of the Modern SignWriting specification:

"The ISWA is a huge set of symbols. There is no language that will use 
every symbol. As with reflected spelling statistics, a body of writing 
can be analyzed for the symbols that have been used. Reflected symbol 
statistics can provide a guide to the norms within a community. If the 
writer is offered a symbol subset rather than the entire ISWA, the 
symbol subset can become self reinforcing and aid in spelling 

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