# Definition of 'base symbol'

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

```Hi Maria,

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

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: http://signbank.org/iswa/cat_1.html

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
normalization."

Regards,
-Steve
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/sw-l/attachments/20120730/b57fbd5d/attachment.htm>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: cfhgjdfd.png
Type: image/png
Size: 5580 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/sw-l/attachments/20120730/b57fbd5d/attachment.png>
```