New handshapes for the ISWA 2010

MARIA GALEA maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT
Wed Sep 19 14:30:16 UTC 2012

Hi Steve, Adam and Charles,

I see your point - and agree fully. If creating new symbols is a means of
empowerment and ownership of the writing system - then that over-rides all
other theoretical issues.

In fact Florian Coulmas, who has written extensively about writing
systems, has actually stressed and couldn't underline enough the
importance of a community's acceptance of a writing system - without that
its all in vain.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention - and I'm glad that is your
priority - as it makes perfect sense.

Thank you Charles for your Ethiopian example - I actually looked into a
little. The symbol frequency for the Dictionary is really interesting - as
it marks the use of symbols not used in the other Puddles I have looked
at. I also found an interesting article about the fingerspelling system of
Ethiopian sign language. Though I still have to download it and read it
eventually. Thank you for bringing this sign language to my attention.


> Hi Adam & Maria,
> There are a huge amount of handshapes in the ISWA 2010.  No doubt. I can
> agree that there's has to be something close enough.
> But if a group of writers feels that they need a new handshape for their
> language, I don't feel like I have the right to tell them no. I think it
> is a matter of respect and empowerment.
> If we add a new handshape, it should be essential with multiple examples
> of use.  A unique handshape needed for a single sign probably doesn't
> need to be added.
> I think it would be best to stay with the existing handshapes, but my
> gut keeps telling me that the writer's needs and pride in their language
> may take precedence.
> That's why I talked with Val about the possibility of new handshapes.
> We agreed that we do not have the time to do this work ourselves, but if
> a group was willing to follow the guidelines and do the work themselves,
> we could be able to accommodate them with a minimum amount of disruption.
> Regards,
> -Steve

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