[Sw-l] How do you write SW as fast as script writing for spoken languages?

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sat Mar 19 18:01:23 UTC 2022

SignWriting List
March 19, 2022

Hello SignWriting List, Sutthikhun, Carlos, AnnaGrace and Adam,

Thank you for this discussion on SignWriting Shorthand and Handwriting…. let’s keep talking...

Adam, and all of you, are the next generation of handwriters… it needs to be based on the way people are writing SignWriting Printing, that is used for publishing today …so that there is a clear connection with SignWriting Printing, Handwriting and Shorthand of this era - 2022 and forward...

Meanwhile, since you mentioned the old era….from an historical perspective, we certainly did have a successful Shorthand back in the 1980s. It was based on the SignWriting Printing of that era, which was written with a full stick figure, Receptive, and written horizontally.

I will be happy to post the 1980’s books, if it would be useful. But I don’t want to confuse people either…

To explain, we took shorthand notes of complete classes at CSUN (California State University of Northridge), based on the interpreters who were signing the classes for Deaf participants, and then later the shorthand notetakers re-wrote the shorthand notes for the Deaf participants so they would have something to refer to from the class - the SW shorthand notes were written at speed while the interpreter was signing so they were oftentimes a little messy so then the new notes that were re-written, were in clearer SignWriting for the reader.

But then I learned from a linguist who worked with our DAC (Deaf Action Committee), Dr. Karen van Hoek, that Karen used the Shorthand system to write for daily use for herself and her notes and she avoided the formal SignWriting for her own personal notetaking. I was really happy about that of course -

So why are we not using the 1980’s Shorthand today? Because the DAC asked for important changes to SignWriting in the late 1980s:

some of the changes were... 

1. Receptive changed to Expressive

2. Writing horizontally changed to writing in vertical columns

3. Some hand symbols changed - and the list goes on with the changes…

So here is my question for you all -

If I post the old SignWriting Shorthand materials, will it confuse your modern development of SignWriting Handwriting and Shorthand?

It could be beneficial in some ways too - just as long as you all realize how long ago this was… and it is really meant for the history archives.

Adam, how do you feel about this? Should I post the 1980’s Shorthand book?

If we had a new Shorthand book side by side with it, that might make it clear, the differences… hmmm…. another project! ;-)

Val ;-)


> On Mar 19, 2022, at 9:26 AM, Adam Frost <icemandeaf at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> This has always been an interesting discussion for me. :-)
> I never really learned SignWriting shorthand as it was designed and used originally. I did talk about it with Valerie quite extensively, though. She had told me that the handbook you are referring to needed to be updated if it were to be used because the system has gone through a lot of changes since it has been in use. That is probably why it isn’t available for download.
> Carlos sent you a link to a presentation that I did on this topic. It is a good place to start, but even my handwriting has changed since then since it is coming up on 10 years since. Wow! I guess I should look at how I handwrite now and document it somehow. I know that there are a lot of symbol changes for faster writing, for one.
> I have also been doing a lot of dictionary sorting lately so I have been writing by SignSpellingSequence. I have often wondered if it were to become established and commonly used if inputing solely by SignSpellingSequence would be a fast way to write as well. It makes it easy for writing, but makes reading very difficult as it loses all visual aspect of SignWriting, so I am not so sure if it is a good thing to consider. Ha!
> I have also been testing out various approaches to make it so I can write fewer symbols, including the use of timing symbols in a new way, but I haven’t really gotten to a place where I am satisfied that it works well. I know that I mentioned it in the presentation I gave in 2014 and it has been picked up by others around the world, but I haven’t really used it much myself.
> Adam


>> On Mar 19, 2022, at 2:36 AM, Sutthikhun Phaengphongsai <suttikunep at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> Thank you for your answer and the link you provided, Carlos!
>> Sutthikhun


>> On Fri, 18 Mar 2022 at 23:56, Ms. AnnaGrace <msannagrace20 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> I was thinking about shorthand too! 
>> Thank you, Carlos, for the link. :-)
>> AnnaGrace


>> On Fri, Mar 18, 2022 at 12:19 PM Carlos Cristian Libras <carloscristianlibras at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I make daily use of SW in shorthand.
>> I took a part of Adam presentation from the link -
>> https://www.signwriting.org/symposium/presentation0003.html#abstract
>> Another friend from Ethiopia also made some cursive hand shapes, which I copied. Some forms I invented myself to facilitate my registration.
>> Last month I did a translation that I will record a video in ASL and before recording I wrote everything with SW shorthand, and then I recorded it. So I use it daily, and I know many others around the world use it too.

>> On Fri, Mar 18, 2022 at 10:30 AM Sutthikhun Phaengphongsai <suttikunep at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi everyone in SW List! Let me ask you something —
>> 	• Is SW shorthand still in use nowadays? I remember SW used to have a handbook for writing shorthand as well, unfortunately I can't find a link to download it.
>> 	• Do you usually apply SW shorthand in your writing? If not, how do you write as fast as script writing for spoken languages? Writing with SW, in my opinion, is a hybrid between sketching and writing, which makes it too slow to write if you want to take quick notes.
>> Thank you ;)
>> Sutthikhun



Valerie Sutton
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sutton at signwriting.org

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