forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  "Wayne H. Smith"
Date:  Tue May 25, 1999  9:13 pm
Subject:  Re: New SignWriter Features?

Valerie wrote:
>Any other features you would like? I bet there are a lot, and I think >this
>is the time to tell me!

Well, I guess if I'm going to have any input, I'd better do it now.
I've been working with the 4.3 program for the past few weeks and generally
find it flexible enough to write Taiwan Sign Language. I've built up a
dictionary of about 200 signs already, with another 2000 or so waiting to be
Some of the following may be features that already exist within SW 4.3
but that I haven't found yet. Let me know if so. In no particular order:

1. It would be nice if we're typing largely from the dictionary that we
could remain in dictionary mode until we no longer want it. As it is, I'm
constantly typing Alt-D before every sign, and I wish it would just stay
2. I've found about 7-8 handshapes in TSL which I don't see among the
preset handshapes. I've been able to create about 4-5 of them by playing
around with preexisting handshapes and adding fingers using the little marks
on the - key. I'll send those later, with photographs of each one.
3. TSL has a frequently used movement which SW lacks a symbol for: a
sequential closing of the fingers over the thumb from the knuckle, beginning
with the index finger.
4. TSL also has lots of "character signs" which are either wholly or
partially based on the shape of a particular Chinese character. Is there a
way to show which of several movement segments goes first, which comes next,
5. I mentioned earlier about having the option of printing the signs in
color according to Valerie's delineation by part of the sign, by whole
signs, or in black and white, each used for different purposes: teaching
children, emphasis, etc.
6. Is there an option for creating new handshapes as they are
discovered in a particular sign language, and then storing them in the
program somewhere for immediate recall and automatic shading and "breaking"
(I forgot the official term for the the space between fingers and palm when
parallel to the floor)? Or would you, Valerie, prefer that all new
handshapes be run past you so as to retain a standard notation for
handshapes worldwide?
7. Might it be possible for columns to print from right to left instead
of left to right? This might seem strange to many, but it's the natural way
of writing Chinese characters when "in column mode" (as it were). When
Chinese people look at things written in columns, their eyes naturally start
reading at the top right side, and SW starts on the on the other ("the
wrong") side.
8. Obviously a major need for SW here in Taiwan would be the necessity
of giving signs name in Chinese characters. If the people who designed
Swing have already dealt with Japanese characters, then they'll understand
what I mean when I say that Taiwan would require "traditional characters in
Big-5." Also, it would be great if, in addition to being able to sort by
handshapes, head positions, etc. that we also be able to sort by the
traditional sorting for Chinese characters, i.e. first by the number of
strokes in the character, then by the traditional dictionary order of
"radicals" or components of Chinese characters. It might prove easier in
the long run if SW were published in two editions: a western language
edition, and an Asian language edition.
9. Oh, yes, I almost forgot. I'm hoping that in the 5.0 version it
will be easier to transfer text files (.sgn files) into other applications,
and not have to go through a paint program to change white-on-black to
black-on-white, etc. (For that matter, could we have black-on-white in the
first place? WYSIWYG) I'm planning, as long as the program permits, on
putting the SW symbols for each TSL sign into a database program, such as
Access and having the symbols print out alongside the Chinese characters,
for example a list of all the verbs signs that are included in Lesson 7 of
our teaching materials.
I may yet think of some more things, and will pass them on as they
occur to me. Let me know if any of these features might already exist
within 4.3.
Love to all,
- Wayne

  Replies Author Date
1342 Re: New SignWriter Features? Don & Theresa G Tue  5/25/1999
1344 Re: New SignWriter Features? Angus B. Grieve-Smith Tue  5/25/1999
1370 Re: New SignWriter Features? Valerie Sutton Tue  6/1/1999
1369 Re: New SignWriter Features? Valerie Sutton Tue  6/1/1999
1343 Re: New SignWriter Features? Wayne H. Smith Tue  5/25/1999
1461 Typing Puffed Cheeks :-) Valerie Sutton Mon  6/14/1999
1463 writing "the back of the head" Valerie Sutton Mon  6/14/1999
1345 Re: New SignWriter Features? xxx Tue  5/25/1999
1346 Re: New SignWriter Features? Wayne H. Smith Tue  5/25/1999

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