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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Oct 18, 1999  3:59 am
Subject:  Re: hand shapes

>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

October 17, 1999

Hi Joe - To answer the second half of your message....

I know exactly what you are talking about. This is related to the new
"Finger Movement" chapter I have been wanting to write - and back in the
Spring I promised Fernando Capovilla and his dictionary crew that I would
post this "new chapter" on the web.

I am sorry to say I have not done that yet. I am sure you are pretty sick
of hearing such things from me!! But hey - it WILL happen!!

Meanwhile, to try to explain a little right now...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". And this new
chapter I would like to post, 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 - none of this is hard - it is just getting
to everything. It is just as Susanne said: "so much time, so little to do"
as willy wonka says"... or isn't that the opposite? Ha! :-)).

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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