forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Jun 1, 1999  1:36 pm
Subject:  Re: New SignWriter Features?

>This is not necessarily a problem. I'm hardly a fluent reader of Hebrew,
>but my training from Hebrew school has rubbed off enough that when I do
>attempt to decipher Hebrew, I automatically start on the right side, even
>though I'm a native (and extremely fluent) reader of English, where I always
>start on the left side. I suspect that Chinese SW readers, once taught that
>they have to switch scanning to the "wrong" side, will start automatically
>doing so and it will become second nature for them. They might think it
>"weird" at first (like I did with Hebrew) but later they will think nothing
>of it for this particular writing system.
>--Donald Grushkin

June 1, 1999

Hi Don -
I agree with you, that we all can adjust to new languages quickly. The
format or direction of reading and writing can be learned quickly.

The only problem we have is that I am too flexible sometimes. And
SignWriting is evolving and developing before our eyes, where other writing
systems are already established, and in the case of Chinese, established
for centuries.

It is hard to find a balance between flexibility and structure. But I am

The design I handed our computer programmer, Rich Johnston, yesterday is
set up so that all text is entered one way, down in one long continuing
column. All symbols will be able to be typed, including the brackets used
in Spain. Then once it is typed, the typist can go under a Menu list called
"Page", and they can view and print the document in one of these formats:

1. Down, columns left to right
2. Down, columns right to left
3. Across, left to right
4. Across, right to left
5. Poetic Patterns

The default is number 1 above, since that is the standard way we have been
publishing, and since it was requested by Deaf signers skilled in

I hope this finds a middle ground. It is important that I chose to enter
all signs down in a vertical column, since writing down gives SignWriting
certain added benefits that typing across can never give us. And those
benefits will be there, no matter which Page format is chosen later. I
worked this out with our programmer, and I think my design should work
internally in the computer code too - we will see!!

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

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