AW: Vertical or Horizontal?

Stefan Wöhrmann stefanwoehrmann at GOOGLEMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 3 12:30:26 UTC 2012

Hi friends of SW, 


well with the good old DOS program we could write vertical thanks to the
Column-Maker – but it has been a little bit tricky and obviously there are
not that many experts who can work with the Dos-Program and SignWriter
Python and Dos-Box ... 


So usually documents at that time had been written horizontal.


Thanks to the new Program DELEGS we are on the way to produce wonderful
bilingual documents – right now writing horizontal for the reason to match
spoken language with signed German – later to type translation of DGS ...
In the future the DELEGS-Editor will allow to decide between horizontal or
vertical writing. 


>From my point of view it is no problem to switch between reading horizontal
or vertical ..---  in order to support deaf students to improve literacy of
spoken language – there is no better way than to write the horizontal way.
To write all these Mundbilder vertical would look weird ... ;-))  


Most of my documents are signed German and even DGS document are easy read
if written horizontal as we do almost ever – except for SignPuddle –emails 



The coming week Erika will visit our class and we will discuss this as well
– big smile. 


All the best 






Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages
[mailto:SW-L at LISTSERV.VALENCIACOLLEGE.EDU] Im Auftrag von Adam Frost
Gesendet: Samstag, 2. Juni 2012 01:58
Betreff: Re: Vertical or Horizontal?


I think there are two reasons why you will find documents that are written
horizontally. The first is that before SignPuddle, there was no way to write
vertically. This is the case with the Brazil document that you were
referring to which was written with an older program, SignWriter DOS. The
second reason is the one that Steve talked about in the interview with
Gerard on his blog. Here is the part where he mentions this:

In the latest SignPuddle, you can write from right to left. What is the
advantage of this?

Horizontal SignWriting is primarily for writing translations between spoken
and signed languages.

When SignWriting is used in schools, in bilingual education, writing
horizontally is useful for translating spoken language texts into written
sign languages, helping the Deaf student learn both languages. Since western
spoken languages are written from left to right, placing the SignWriting
text above the written spoken language sentences is a tool for bilingual
reading and comparison. Although some grammar details are lost in Horizontal
Writing, it offers other benefits as a bridge between languages.

Now with SignPuddle 2, writers can choose vertical and horizontal writing
depending on their needs.

So basically the second reason is that people wanted to have written signs
with spoken words to show both languages. Having said that, I think in most
cases people prefer to write vertically when writing only in the various
sign languages because it is best in showing the full grammatical usage that
are used with sign languages. I hope that helped. ;-)




On Jun 1, 2012, at 4:20 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:

Thank you Adam, Kim and Val!
I'm asking mainly because it is unclear to me who uses vertical and
horizontal. I can see that in Brazil they use horizontal ? Or maybe the
bible excerpts are old?

also Spanish sign language - there are stories in vertical writing here.

thanks everyone...look forward to more answers..

SignWriting List

June 1, 2012


Hello Maria and everyone -

Perhaps you would be interested in reading Steve Slevinski's interview,

which mentions the different reasons for writing vertically and

horizontally. I can post excerpts about the differences in a later



Towards a Wikipedia for signed languages



Meanwhile, here is my survey:


1. American Sign Language (the best I can anyway) (or any other sign

language transcribed from video)

2. vertical


Thank you for this survey, Maria!



Val ;-)





On Jun 1, 2012, at 1:01 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:


Dear friends all over the globe,

Would really appreciate if you could reply to these two questions -


1. your sign language?


2. preference vertical or horizontal writing?


Just to lead the way, my ans would be

1. maltese sign language (LSM)

2. vertical












Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton

SignWriting List moderator

sutton at


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