New handshapes for the ISWA 2010

Adam Frost icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM
Wed Sep 19 02:03:13 UTC 2012

I agree with Maria, you might be surprised how a specific configuration for a handshape that one makes which seems to not be in the ISWA could probably be commonly signed by others as a different handshape that is in the ISWA. It could also be that there is a symbol that represents the handshape but has been overlooked or even forgotten. I know that I have done that on numerous occasions, and I did photos for every hand symbol in to ISWA. SMILE! So if you have a photo of the handshapes you are looking for and maybe even a video of the signs you want to write, we could probably help you work something out. Two heads are better than one, but a community of SignWriters is better. :-D


On Sep 18, 2012, at 6:53 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:

> Hi Steve and Madson,
> Prior to creating new handshapes for ISWA, you might want to make sure
> such handshapes are truly required.
> In the 10 active Literature Puddles I'm analyzing - not one of these
> Puddles use all base handshapes of any given group (one of these are
> Brazil). For example there is noone who uses all Group 1 (Index) symbols,
> not one Puddle that uses all Group 2 (Index Middle) etc etc.. all the way
> down to Group 10.
> I strongly believe (and the analysis I'm carrying out points to this, and
> is based on real evidence) that sign languages have enough (and more than
> enough) symbols to represent their phonological inventories.
> It is true that there are these nuances in sign language, where for
> example a new sign entering the language uses a 'rare' handshape - however
> the question is - can another more frequently used handshape be used
> instead of this 'odd' handshape (and extremely low frequency)?  And more
> importantly if the higher frequency symbol is used instead, does the sign
> remain readable? If the answer to that is yes - than the likelihood is
> that the low frequency symbol is not truly required to represent the given
> language.
> My question to Madson is this - can you use another symbol from the ISWA
> to represent the handshape/s you have in mind? and if you write your signs
> with the ISWA handshapes (similar symbols/glyphs, but perhaps not exactly
> what you have in mind), do your signs remain readable in context? Can the
> signs be read with ISWA symbols that are already there?
> But then again, my study is about 'orthography' - the graphical
> representation of specific languages.  I understand that ISWA (2010) goes
> beyond this. ISWA (2010) can be used for phonetic transcriptions - and
> having very detailed phonetic representations of sign language is in
> itself very useful for phonetic studies.
> Maria
>> Hi Madson and list,
>> The core of the ISWA 2010 will not change, but we can add an addendum of
>> new handshapes.  This will be a compatible improvement and will not
>> change any of the existing data.
>> I have worked out most of the technical details to make this work. It
>> relies on creating complex subsets of the ISWA where the symbols can be
>> reorganized and reordered for the individual languages.  We will all
>> still use the ISWA, we'll just be able to access them according to the
>> default international order created by Val, or by a custom language
>> specific order.
>> Adding new handshapes is not a trivial matter.  Each handshape will need
>> to comply with all of Valerie's rules: written and unwritten.  Each new
>> handshape will need an addition to the font that is compatible with the
>> existing font.  So if anyone would like to propose a new handshape for
>> the ISWA 2010, we will need someone to create the font addition and
>> Valerie's approval and my verification of the technical details.
>> If anyone is interested, we can discuss how to put together a proposal
>> for a new handshape.
>> New handshapes need:
>> * real life picture of handshape
>> * symbol ID that fits within the current ISWA hierarchy
>> * English name
>> * fallback handshape if new handshape is not available.
>> * font Addition
>> ** minimum of 12 PNGs (fills 1 thru 6, and rotations 1 & 2)
>> ** eventually, 96 PNGs or 96 SVG per font.
>> Regards,
>> -Steve

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