forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu May 27, 1999  3:10 am
Subject:  Re: New SignWriter Features?

Wayne Smith wrote:
> 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?

Yes. They must be added by me, not only because there are certain rules
that govern how symbols are constructed, and we need to continue a world
standard, but also because the programming of the palm facing is complex.
The computer program will have a "find and replace" mode of symbols and
each new symbol has to be added with a special editor in my office. Then, I
hope to post the new symbol set on the web for users to download. So
everyone will then benefit from the additional symbols.

> 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.

There is no problem giving people choices. Deaf Americans who suggested and
support the idea of writing in vertical columns chose to place the columns
from left to right, so it is not a question of "right or wrong" but simply

Today, while interveiwing our programmer, I told him that I would like to
make typing in vertical columns from left to right the default way of
typing, but that all other options will also be available in the
Preferences box. So these typing modes will be available, and you will be
able to "set-up" your program to work the way you want it:

1. Vertical typing down, columns placed left to right (default)
2. Vertical typing down, columns placed right to left
3. Horizontal typing, left to right
4. Horizontal typing, right to left
5. Other patterns that can be defined by the user, such as diagonals and
circles, for poetry etc.

Our programmer thought that could be done...just a matter of thinking all
the ramifications through. And believe it or not, I do not think it is that
hard to know where to start reading. If you know how to read signs, you can
usually see where the beginning of the sentence is, and then you just
follow the signs. So I suspect these typing modes will become comfortable
for readers no matter what.

In regards to the publications coming from my office, I will generally
stick to the default #1 above, since that is what our Deaf consultants
requested, and also, I like the benefits it bestows on writing spatial

I would also like to add the brackets symbol used in Spain for horizontal
typing. And I want to add some movement symbols used in Nicaragua - and
there are others. So there are lots of details to think of....

I guess this is it for tonight!

Many blessings everyone -

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
1354 Re: New SignWriter Features? Ingvild Kristine Roald Thu  5/27/1999
1380 SignWriting in Australia Valerie Sutton Wed  6/2/1999
1382 Re: SignWriting in Australia Val Forbes Wed  6/2/1999
1509 In-Between Palm Facings Valerie Sutton Wed  6/23/1999
1510 ordering Joe Martin Thu  6/24/1999
1526 Re: Deaf Missions Valerie Sutton Sat  6/26/1999
1527 Re: ordering Valerie Sutton Sat  6/26/1999

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