[Sw-l] Nonverbal communication: Two-hand gestures

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sun Mar 27 22:50:09 UTC 2022

SignWriting List
March 27, 2022

Hello SW List,
Thank you for this really thoughtful message, Sutthikhun (Ae).

And thank you for the Sign written and explained graphic with signs written for many different uses…The attached graphic is amazing and interesting to read...

I appreciate your interest in Movement Writing which has been used for gesture-writing for rare projects and still is today, recently in animation projects, but it is also used when writing the mime-like performances of sign language artists (something I look forward to writing more of in the future) - a combination of dance and sign languages and mime.

Here are three projects that applied Movement Writing to writing gesture:

Denmark, 1975
Examples of Notation of a South Pacific Sign Language
This booklet recorded mime-like gestures and home signs of one lone Deaf man, based on research by Danish researcher Rolf Kuschel, which I wrote in Movement Writing and SignWriting from film (video of the time). It included pictures with SignWriting illustrations of communications of a Deaf man who had been isolated with no other Deaf people on the entire island all his life. He acted out gestures to communicate with hearing people living on the island. No longer in print. (but maybe I can find a copy…)

Denmark, 1978
Hørende Danskeres Gestus-Repertoire
(Hearing Danes' Gesture-Repertoire)
Dissertation by Jan Enggaard. This published research used SignWriting to record hearing person's gestures, comparing them to Danish Sign Language gestures used by Danish Deaf people. The hearing people were chatting in Danish while sitting on a couch, and they made small gestures with hands and body and face while talking to each other. Those gestures were written in Movement Writiing and then compared to DSL.The research was conducted at the Audiologopædisk Forskningsgruppe, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Denmark, 1975 (?)
Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.
There was also a project writing the facial expressions of a mother and child, while I was in Denmark - around 1975 - I need to find those papers…I worked with a psychologist to write the mother-child interactions and gestures - also wrote the movements of an austistic child compared with the movements of his “normal” brother - can’t remember when that was! I will have to look it up...

Norway, 2006
Research Project
by Dr. Harald Bentz Høgseth, Norway
Writing Gesture For Scientific Studies

about this project:
Message to the SignWriting List in Oct 21, 2005

And then Dr. Ingvild Roald, also from Norway, conducted important research on writing Physics Terms in Norwegian Sign Language, and this kind of writing accesses symbols from the general Movement Writing system to be able to write signs that describe planets in the sky and so forth… so Movement Writing slowly was, and is being now, incorporated into SignWriting…through these pioneering projects - Recently Invild posted some of her documents on Academia.edu and I hope to read them soon…

Here is the title of one of Invild’s papers:

"What are the Earth and the heavenly bodies like? A study of objectual conceptions among Norwegian deaf and hearing pupils” …by Dr. Ingvild Roald


So in a way Movement Writing is in use today - just hidden under the name SignWriting… and animation and so forth...

Best to everyone -

Val ;-)


> On Mar 27, 2022, at 2:03 PM, Sutthikhun Phaengphongsai <suttikunep at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Hello SW List members!
> Other than sign languages, I'm not sure whether anyone has adopted MovementWriting for gestures in recent years. I was inspired by gesture notation in the book 'Sutton Movement Shorthand: Notation Supplement', and realized that even non-verbal communication such as human gestures are worth taking notes as well.
> {{Some argue that sign languages should be classified as non-verbal just because signers don't use speech, however the majority of what I've found leans to sign languages being truly verbal because they contain vocabulary that are equivalent to those of spoken languages, while gestures are non-verbal because they don't contain words.}}
> Although gestures are essential in communication of both deaf and hearing-person communities, they are rarely mentioned or written about. That's why I'd like to transcribe the gestures in our daily lives and want you to take notes of your own cultural gestures too! ;)
> 	• Air quotes, used to express satire, sarcasm, irony or euphemism, among others
> 	• Awkward turtle, used to mark a moment as awkward
> 	• Batsu, used to indicate that something is "wrong" or "no good"
> 	• Che vuoi?, used when something is unclear, such as "what do you want?", "what are you saying?"
> 	• Hand heart, a recent pop culture symbol meaning love
> 	• Jazz hands, used in dance or other performances
> 	• Kohanic, used (especially by those of Kohanic or priestly descent) when reciting the Priestly Blessing
> 	• Kung fu salute, a formal demonstration of respect between kung fu practitioners
> 	• Merkel-Raute, the signature gesture of Angela Merkel has become a political symbol used by both her supporters and opponents
> 	• Namaste, a sign of respect in India and among yoga practitioners
> 	• Praying hands, used in most major religions during prayer
> 	• Shame, universally (at least in the U.S.) understood to be a "shame on you"
> 	• TT (crying), used to indicate that the user is upset or crying
> 	• Victory clasp, used to exclaim victory
> 	• Whatever, used to signal that something is not worth the time and energy
> 	• Zoltan, a sign of faith
> Sutthikhun



Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
sutton at signwriting.org

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