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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue May 11, 1999  2:51 pm
Subject:  Color Coding SW Symbols


On Thu, 8 Apr 1999, Kathy Akehurst wrote:
>I realize it adds to your work and the expense of production, but putting
>the SW symbols in different colours as you've done in the 'Learn to Read ASL
>in SignWriting' book is a tremendous idea, primarily because they just
>'leap' out at you as you are reading through the book. I'm finding this,
>personally, very helpful as I still have trouble with the facial expressions
>(and have appreciated the discussion of late as to what/when and how much to
>include in SW). In this book, I'll think I'm concentrating on some other
>aspect of the symbol but I find that I am still picking up the appropriate
>facial expression indicated because it's in colour.

Kathy Akehurst
Private Tutor
Ontario, Canada


May 11, 1999

Thanks Kathy, for this input about color coding. Two other people have now
informed me of the same fact...that the color coding of SW symbols in the
"Learn To Read" lessons really helped them.

So I am writing to ask members of the SW List what you all think....

First to give you some background...

The color coding chart is located at the bottom of this web page:

Color Coding of SW Symbols

You will see that I chose"
body &

There is actually a logic attached to those choices. Movement is "action"
and so it is "red". Green is a warm color, and so facial expressions are
green. And the hands are "mercurial" - in mythology, Mercury was the great
"communicator" - and mercury is a "silvery blue" color, so since the hands
communicate so much in signed languages, I chose blue for the hands. And I
chose yellow for punctuation, because in the USA, road signs are yellow.
Puncutation is like a "stop sign", the punctuation symbols tell you to
stop, pause etc. And like stick figures, the body and arms are black
lines. So I tried to use colors that some people can "relate to".

You can see this color coding used on these three web pages:

Learn To Read lesson

So here are my questions to the SW List...

1. Do you feel that color coding of SignWriting symbols is a good idea?
Does it help to learn the SW symbols?

2. Were my choices of colors logical to you? Or would you have chosen
different colors?

One person suggested that we put the color coding in our dictionaries.
Another person suggested that the actual children's stories should be
written in color coding. Right now they are in one solid color, as on this

Goldilocks, Intermediate

3. So do you all feel that the stories themselves, or our dictionaries,
should be color coded?

I appreciate your time and input everyone!

Many thanks -

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton


The DAC, Deaf Action Committee for SW
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

  Replies Author Date
1243 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Wayne H. Smith Tue  5/11/1999
1246 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Valerie Sutton Tue  5/11/1999
1249 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Joe Martin Wed  5/12/1999
1247 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Wayne H. Smith Wed  5/12/1999
1255 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Ronald H Dettloff Thu  5/13/1999
1263 SW List Archives Valerie Sutton Thu  5/13/1999
1264 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Valerie Sutton Thu  5/13/1999
1256 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Lourdes Tollette Thu  5/13/1999
1280 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Joe Martin Sat  5/15/1999

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