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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Jun 8, 1999  3:08 pm
Subject:  Re: Need Your Advice on SignWriter Menus

Angus wrote:
> I'm very concerned about making too strong a connection between
>the dominant spoken language of a country and the dominant signed
>language, which it seems to me that you're doing by having one set of
>"signs" and one set of "words" for each country. By doing this, you're
>unintentionally showing disrespect for minority languages.


Hi Angus -

Actually I am not connecting only one spoken language and one signed
language "per country". I guess I didn't explain myself properly. It
probably sounded that way, in the way I explained it, but that was my fault
for not describing it properly.

We are in complete agreement, Angus. I lived in Europe too long, to not
realize that there are many languages within one country. Obviously
Switzerland is a classic example of three languages in one country, and
Canada is another good example of two languages in one country.

No one is required to do anything in the SignWriter Computer Program! The
Menus are like a piece of clay that they can mold to THEIR language. Or
they can choose no language at all in the Menus, and just use international

And SignWriter is much more flexible than Microsoft Word. When you purchase
Microsoft Word in the USA, can you change all your Menus to Danish, so the
word "File" becomes "Archive" automatically? Maybe in Denmark you can
purchase the Danish version, but here in the USA those choices are not
automatically handed to you - so I am providing more flexibility in
SignWriter 5.0 than most programs worldwide.

SignWriter is so flexible that we will recognize that the keyboard used to
type English in the USA and English-speaking Canada, is designed
differently than the keyboard used to type English in the UK. There are
different typing methods for entering English around the world. And there
are different ways to type German. In Switzerland, they type German
differently than they type German in Germany. So those differences will all
be accounted for.

Right now, the Swiss-German researchers are translating our "Lessons In
SignWriting Textbook" into the Swiss German spoken language, and
Swiss-German Sign Language. Because "Swiss-German" is like a little country
in its own right, it will be represented in the SignWriter computer
program. But of course Swiss-French and Swiss-Italian are two totally
different cultures and are not included under the "Swiss-German" heading.
They will have their separate headings, if they someday want to use

And yes...they can "mix and match" languages if they wish - although they
need to realize that German in Switzerland is not the same as German in

And how a person chooses to read their Menus has no connection with typing
in other languages. They can type 15 different signed languages, 15
different fingerspelling keyboards and 9 different spoken languages while
having their Menus in only one of those languages. And they can switch back
and forth at will. So it is a "mix and match" program.

When I have finalized the way the Menus are designed, I hope to post a
picture of the way it will look on the web. Then you can give me your
feedback - and I would love that!

It means a lot to develop a good interface that everyone finds useful....

For now, I will get back to work on the design and then inform you when
something is posted -

Best -

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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