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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu Aug 26, 1999  1:59 pm
Subject:  Writing Facial Expressions....

>Valerie wrote...
>So here is my question - forgetting writing (for the moment) - could
>everyone READ the facial expressions? If they could read them, even if they
>could "take them or leave them" - if they were readable that means
>something to me.

Kathy Akehurst replied....
>Yes, Valerie, they were very readable. In fact, I pointed out to one of the
>older students (the least compliant of the group when it comes to facial
>expressions!) that he was able to pick them up quite easily even though he
>didn't want to write them himself.


...and now Valerie again...

Thank you, Kathy, for this feedback. The conclusion I have received from
the above is that the SignWriting facial expressions are easily read by
people, both children and adults. So even if "unnecessary" facial
expressions are written, such as "smiling faces" that do not give
linguistic information, that does not seem to hold the reader back from
understanding everything.

I was having trouble determining "which" facial expressions were absolutely
mandatory, and which were just "a nice addition".

But based on what you said...I can continue to enjoy transcribing
videotapes of ASL, and if I feel a facial expression is valuable I can
write it without fear that the document can't be read.

The real issue, of course, is establishing rules on which facial
expressions are "mandatory" to write - and that is a linguistic question
that may have different answers depending on the signed language being

Valerie ;-)

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