Egyptian SignPuddle, Question Handshape

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat May 5 02:52:09 UTC 2012

Looking at the two handshapes, they might, in that dialect be a minimal pair. One looks distinctly like an ASL R, the other looks like one of the Ethiopian signs, and considering that Egypt borders on Ethiopia, it is conceivable there is crossover. 

I see them as two distinct handshapes, but it is up to the Egyptians to decide whether both exist in their language. 
Charles Butler
chazzer3332000 at
Clear writing moves business forward.

 From: Valerie Sutton <sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG>
Sent: Thursday, May 3, 2012 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: Egyptian SignPuddle, Question Handshape
SignWriting List
May 3, 2012

On May 3, 2012, at 1:19 PM, Ryan Fan wrote:

> Thanks for the advice, Val!  I was perhaps being too much of a perfectionist looking for a hand symbol where the middle finger didn't completely wrap around the index, but I'm going to suppose the partial crossover and full crossover are two manifestations of the same underlying phoneme for Egyptian Sign until proven otherwise.  I'll leave a note on this sign entry.  Thanks again!  
> -Ryan


Hello Ryan  -

I think your decision is a wise one. This brings up an interesting topic...

How much detail to write and what is necessary?

Beginning writers tend to write more detail, and over time, they learn through experience what is necessary and not necessary within their sign language.

Think of the letter "A" in western spoken languages - The letter "A" is pronounced differently in London, Paris, Rome, Hamburg, New York and Massachusetts. In fact, in Massachusetts, there are two well-known dialects that pronounce the letter A differently - let alone California where I come from - smile -

But all of these dialects and languages still write the same symbol "A" and either the reader knows the dialect and understands that it is pronounced differently, or they don't care about the exact pronunciation, just as long as they understand the meaning of the word - and so writing the details are not always necessary -

Regarding your two photos, for me, they look like two different handshapes - one has the finger more bent than the other - But I would still write them with the same symbol unless someone feels that it can be confused with another distinctly different hand symbol…

Val ;-)
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