forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sun Jun 14, 1998  6:59 am
Subject:  Re: Sinister SignWriters!

On Sun, 7 Jun 1998, Neil Bauman wrote:
>You are not alone, Sinister Harry. I'm left-handed too. When I was learning
>fingerspelling in a HOH class everyone was told to use their right hand. So
>I began to learn that way. Then a few years later, a deaf friend tested me
>and told me that my brain only thinks "left-handed" and if I ever wanted to
>be a fast signer, I should switch to "left handed signing"--which I did.
>And Valerie, I was going to say, who cares about left-handed sign writing.
>Why not just have one way like we do in English. Perhaps you don't know
>this, but when I was learning to write--before I went to school, I always
>scribbled from right to left--the natural way for us lefties to write. But
>there is no provision for us to write like this in English--so why make an
>exception for Sign Writing? At the same time, I sure appreciate the
>thought that someone cares enough about the 10% of us who are leftys to
>design keyboards to write "south-paw". I really appreciate your
>thoughtfulness Valerie.
>As you said in another post, with experience, it is easy to read both
>dextrous and sinister signers.
>Neil Bauman
>Box 1233
>Three Hills, Alberta CANADA T0M 2A0

Good Morning Everyone - and thank you Neil for the message above :-)
I am a right-handed person myself, but I have definitely heard from
left-handed people that they were "forced" by the school systems to write
from left to right on the page, and that was difficult for them. Of course
it is!! It is not easy being in the 10% minority as you mention above. I
had no idea it was only 10% - that is a small group. regards to SignWriting...we are writing vertically - so that does
not effect left or right handed people either way. That issue goes away
with SignWriting.

Actually, Neil, I haven't designed special keyboards for left-handed
people. We are attempting, and I personally believe we have found, a
"balance" between "standard keyboards" and "flexible keyboards".

The "standard keyboards" are the Fingerspelling Keyboards. They are always
"right-handed fingerspelling" and always Expressive.

The "flexible keyboard" is the Sign Keyboard, which gives access to every
symbol in SignWriting. It is organized by the Sign-Symbol-Sequence, and can
type any signed language. This means that it can also type left-handed or
right-handed fingerspelling. It is up to the typist.

The Fingerspelling Keyboards require "no new typing skills". If you can
type English or another spoken language, then you can type with the
Fingerspelling Keyboards - when you type"A" you get the symbol for "A" in
fingerspelling etc. - it is easy to type.

To type with the Sign Keyboard, you "need to learn new typing skills",
because the symbols flop, rotate, change palm facing etc and you have to
learn how to type those details. But a skilled SignWriting typist can type
quickly - it is simply a new skill to be learned.

Therefore, for those researchers who are studying left-handed signers, they
can type "left-handed" with the Sign Keyboard. It just may be "slower
typing" than the standard Fingerspelling Keyboards.

I hope this information is useful :-)

All the best -

Valerie Sutton :-)

Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
(619)456-0098 voice
(619)456-0010 tty
(619)456-0020 fax

  Replies Author Date
212 Re: Sinister SignWriters and mixed up keyboards Neil Bauman Tue  6/16/1998
213 SW Keyboard Design Valerie Sutton Wed  6/17/1998
215 Re: SW Keyboard Design Neil Bauman Fri  6/19/1998

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