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From:  "Wayne H. Smith"
Date:  Sun May 16, 1999  8:42 am
Subject:  Re: Color Coding SW Symbols

Darline Clark-Gunsauls wrote:
It is interesting to hear from you all about the color coding for
SignWriting. If you are aware of Monesstori theory how to teach children to
read English, they use big red circle represents (I forgot which one)
however for example Big red circle represents verbs, blue triangle
represents subject, it has different shapes and colors to represents each in
the sentence of English. It is helpful for children to read English easier.

Valerie Sutton wrote:
I did not realize that children are taught to read and write English
with color coding in the Montessori Schools...that is good to know. So I
agree with you, that we should continue experimenting with color in the SW
children's books. It can't hurt to try!

Wayne Smith writes:
I think I'm seeing a pattern in the responses to Valerie's question re
color coding of SignWriting. Many of us feel that it is not necessary for
adults and for those of us who either don't relate that much to color anyway
(me) or those of you who are already proficient readers of SW and for whom
it would be a distraction. However, many of us also feel that the use of
color could been a boon to children and to those people who are just
starting to learn SW, or for that matter, ASL.
I read with interest Darline's comment on the use of color coding of
sentences in English to help students identify nouns, verbs, adjectives,
etc. I note, however, that in the English examples, color coding is being
used to point out different grammatical functions of words in sentences,
whereas what has been proposed so far for SW is the coding of different
parts of the visual signal for individual signs. Might it not be a good
idea, for instructional purposes, to be able to color code entire signs in
ASL to mark them as functioning as nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.? I'm
thinking that in a Bi-Bi program this could greatly help students who are
already fluent in ASL to locate the action words in both their own language
and in English. For example, if verbs were blue, then the entire verb in
the ASL sentence:

______t_ __hn_ (t = topic marker, hn = headnod)

would be color coded blue, and the same would be done for the English

I bought that car.

and the child would easily be able to see that verbs can occur in different
locations in the sentences in the two languages.
In addition, rather than color code signs by parts of speech, the
teacher may want to code them by grammatical function, such as topic (as in
the sentence above) or time word or some other thing in order to emphasize
this or that.
This brings me to the following: I would suggest that in the next
version of the SignWriting program (5.0 is it?) that we have the option of
typing signs in one of three ways: (1) solid black (for general use), (2)
color coded according to what Valerie has proposed by different articulators
(to point out the function of the hands vs. the head, etc.), or (3) by the
whole sign (to point out different functions of signs in sentences, much as
is done in the Montessori programs). That way we all get what we want out
of SW. I would think that the color coding by sign articulators (Valerie's
idea) would have to be pre-programmed into the dictionary in order to same
typing time for those who wanted to use them. For those working in
all-black mode, they would show up all black anyway. For those working in
color mode, they would show up coded by articulators, and for those who
wished to code entire signs or parts of sentences, they could choose which
signs and which colors from a drop-down menu.
Well, that's my NT$2 worth.
Love to all,

P.S. The NT (New Taiwan) dollar is the currency of Taiwan. One "NT" is
worth about three cents.

  Replies Author Date
1300 Re: Color Coding SW Symbols Valerie Sutton Mon  5/17/1999

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