All Things Linguistic: SignWriting in ASL

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Sat Mar 2 12:41:01 UTC 2013

So minimalist to the point of you have to perform minimal pairs on every element in the system. I am beginning to see that effort in LIBRAS as we see comparisons of hand shapes and orientations that come from a linguistic point of view. 

Example from Eda Amorim is that the thumb in many cases is not the differentiator for meaning, such as the flat hand, several signs that are performed with the index and middle finger where the same sign exists with the thumb articulated and not so that complete dictionaries don't easily show the relation. 

This will be a long-term effort, and right now SW is the only way to clearly and quickly show the related signs. 

Charles Butler

chazzer3332000 at


Clear writing moves business forward.

--- On Fri, 3/1/13, Adam Frost <icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM> wrote:

From: Adam Frost <icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: All Things Linguistic: SignWriting in ASL
Date: Friday, March 1, 2013, 2:49 PM

That's the same impression I got from Robert Arnold when I talked with him about si5s a few years back.
On Mar 1, 2013, at 11:22 AM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
I have the book for si5s and have discussed some with Adrean Clark who wrote the book. Since I am interested in writing sign languages in general, I figured I might as well find out more about their system.
One major difference between si5s and SignWriting is that si5s is not interested in being able to record all the details of the signing. Where SignWriting can be used to be as detailed or as simple as you want, si5s is intended to be as minimal as possible (or so I understand). In some cases, you may not be able to be as specific with si5s as you can with SignWriting. That's an intentional design decision. New symbols are added only if it is absolutely necessary to be readable. At least, that is how I understand the approach.
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