Definition of 'base symbol'

MARIA GALEA maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT
Tue Jul 31 21:41:22 UTC 2012

Thank you Steve,
this is a wonderful explanation - can i ask what you mean by a
'mathematical alphabet'? does this mean that the same number of variations
apply to all symbols - or something like that?

wow - it is wonderful to hear about configuring the ISWA 2010 for easy
sub-sets or for more complex custom sub-sets! So in theory each language
could have his own symbol-set in Puddle?

If you would ever like to use the LSM Puddle with results from this small
section of my work about base symbols as a dummy experiment..please just
ask, i hope to complete this section soon.

Thank you for the last quote - spot-on!

> 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
> normalization."
> Regards,
> -Steve

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