forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Charles Butler
Date:  Thu May 21, 1998  4:48 am
Subject:  Intro and comments


My name is Charles Butler. I have been a free-lance interpreter for the
deaf off and on for about 20 years. Unfortunately, I am no longer
immersed in the Deaf community as I was 15 years ago so my skills have
fallen off.

I ran across Sign Writing when it was still a hand-printed, presstype
newspaper in a library in DC about 20 years ago. I was hooked
immediately. I started working with a friend to help Valerie make a
computer-designed Sign Writer program on the old Apple IIe. With that
beginning Steve Heyl and I dickered and struggled with cross-country
correspondence with Valerie as she worked with her own programmer in La
Jolla to produce both the Apple IIe and the MacIntosh versions. I was
able to present this early version at a movement writing workshop in New
York City. The rest of the presenters were presenting various dance
notation systems, I was the only one with sign language, and everyone
was duly impressed at the ease of use of the program at that time. With
one swipe of the mouse, I could change the English to fingerspelling,
begin to manipulate some of the fingerspelled words into signs and back
again. So, you see folks, Sign Writing has been struggling now for 20
years for acceptance and now we are fortunate for it hit BOOM time. Now
if only I could get it to be as easy as touch-typing (sigh).

I have taught classes in ASL using sign writing, even by mail, and
gotten good results. I hope we can come up with some way of posting our
Sign-Writing attempts to the list as I am no programmer.

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