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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Oct 18, 1999  12:32 pm
Subject:  Re: hand shapes

October 18, 1999

Hello Everyone!
I am having a tiny problem with the LISTSERVE software that runs the SW
List right now - for some reason several messages have not been posted and
quite a number are not appearing in the SW List Archive. So I am sending
this message again, which I sent yesterday - If you get another message
similar to this one, please excuse the confusion!


>Then there's another handshape: like an ASL FOUR, but all the fingers are
>bent at the base joint-- the little finger bent most, the ring finger less
>, middle bent less yet, and the index finger bent least of all. (like
>when drumming your fingers on the table)
>How would you write this in SignWriting? (the ASL signs FEW and SMOOTH do
>it, but the dictionary doesn't indicate the fingers are bent.

>Joe Martin, Plain Old Ordinary Student

Joe....To try to explain ...those signs for FEW and SMOOTH in ASL in our
dictionary are not perfectly written - that was the way we wrote those
signs in 1995, and over the years we all realize that the writing had to be
improved. Then Fernando's group asked me about "sequential-finger-closing",
and then Steve and Dianne Parkhurst came to visit me last January, and we
discussed this issue at that time too. The Parkhursts are writing those
movements without detailing every finger going down - just the beginning or
possibly the ending position, and a movement symbol in-between that means
"sequential-finger closing". There is a new chapter I would like to post,
which will explain the various ways of writing this...

Meanwhile, the handshape itself, we can certainly write, and it will
definitely be placed in the Generic Symbol Set that I am preparing for our
Unicode work, but actually I personally have never used it when writing
sequential-finger closing, because the positions before or after and the
movement symbols in-between, should be enough without showing the

But if a signed language uses that hand position "all by itself", as an
important unit in a sign, and not just a position that you are "passing
through", then of course they will need that symbol in their symbol set.
And they will find it too, with the Generic set of symbols.

Hope this has helped a little - I am writing a grant right now, for
continued support for our computer programmer, and when that is done, I
will try to get to at least posting those specific symbols for you...

Thanks so much for writing!

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton

SignWritingSite...Lessons Online

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Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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