forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Fernando Capovilla
Date:  Mon Dec 13, 1999  9:53 pm
Subject:  Writing Legs & Feet

Dear Valerie and Cecelia:

I was fascinated by Cecelia's description of that very curious sign. In
Brazilian Sign Language there are lots of signs that
are emitted outside the conventional signing space (i.e., that involve the
entire physical space around one's body, including
feet, legs and back of trunck and head). We are in great need of learning how
to use SW (or DW) to write down signs that
involve feet, legs, hips, backs, etc. Thus, Valerie's idea of specifying the
details of that topic is very important to us.
[Valerie: could you please write a special session of your chapter on that
topic? Thank you so much. :-) ]

The reason for my interest is this: According to the literature, as sign
languages evolve there is a tendency of signs to
concentrate on the signing space (i.e., they migrate from the physical to the
signing space). Thus, I used to think that the
apparent relatively high frequency of signs made in the physical space (rather
than in the signing space) that we find in
Brazilian Sign Language (in comparison to ASL) would indicate that BrSL would
be less sophisticated than ASL. I would like to
how how true that assumption is. In order to know that, I'd have to do some
comparison between the two lexicons (as I am
already doing with respect to hand initialization, which seems to be less
frequent in BrSL than it is in ASL). I was already
intending to do some actuarial job, counting the frequency of signs that
extrapolate the signing space in both ASL and BrSL.
Now I'm even more interested on doing that. In order to increase the validity
of the comparisons, it is necessary to start
with dictionaries that are regarded representative of their languages. I have
been using Elaine Costello's (1994) Random House
American Sign Language Dictionary (1067 pages). I am pretty happy with it (but
of course I'm not an ASL signer). Would anyone
suggest another dictionary?

Does Cecilia, or Valerie, or any coleague from our list have any idea of
whether thal sign described by Cecelia may be found
in any ASL dictionary (such as Costello's)?

By the way, which one(s), from among all ASL dictonaries, may be regarded as
most representative of the signs of ASL (in terms
of precision and completeness)?

(As you see, Cecelia, your two cents have started to yield lots of dividends!


Fernando Capovilla, Ph.D.
Psychology Professor, University of Sao Paulo

> 1. Writing Legs & Feet (2)
> 2. SignWriter 4.3...Making shorter files
> 3. SignWriter 4.3...Pasting one file inside another
> 4. SignWriter 4.3...Moving an Entire Sign
> 5. SignWriter 4.3...Pasting 1 Sign Inside Another
> 6. writing compounds (2)
> 7. new members: Eline and kristof
> 8. SignWriting in Flanders
> 9. SignWriter 4.3...Working with Dictionaries
> Assunto: Re: Writing Legs & Feet
> Data: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 12:11:35 EST
> De: Cecelia Smith
> I have to admit....I never used to think that the feet really were important
> to writing signs in ASL, however, I did interpret a seminar once, given by a
> very well educated, very fluent Deaf man.
> Towards the end of a very intensive hour, someone asked him an exceptionally
> controversial question, and he knew there was no time to get into that topic.
> As he thoughtfully stroked his chin, he made a half step forward, tapped his
> toe down, and brought it back, then moved on to the next question.
> I was flummoxed. I KNEW that he had just said something, but I had no clue
> what...I had never seen anything like that before in my life!...and had to
> have it explained to me. Luckily, 2 Deaf folks in the audience saw my
> confusion and helped me out and provided a signed English translation for me
> "That is a very controversial topic, and I really can't go into it right
> now."
> Talk about WOW! I never would have figured that one out in a million years!
> Since then, I have seen it several times, always in similar settings....and
> always meaning the same. In Seattle, WA DC, Virginia, and from Deaf people
> from Georgia, California, and Wisconsin. So...although it was a sign I was
> never taught...It is a sign. And if you can't use will never show
> up in sign writing!
> Anyway, that's my two cents.
> Cecelia
> ====================
> Make Christmas shopping easy...go to
> Put CLS in the discount code area of your first order for a 15% discount!
> Assunto: Re: Writing Legs & Feet
> Data: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 17:16:56 -0800
> De: Valerie Sutton
> December 12, 1999
> Hello Cecelia, and Everyone on the SW List....
> Thank you for the fascinating message pasted below....
> I had not heard of that sign with the feet before, but it does prove our
> point, doesn't it?!
> It reinforces the fact that the division between the SignWriting symbol set
> and the DanceWriting symbol set are increasingly becoming blurry...I think
> as researchers learn more and more about signed languages, they are
> learning that the whole body is sometimes involved in signed languages.
> Therefore I am thinking of writing a more complete textbook for the entire
> Movement Writing system, so people do not have to look in TWO separate
> books ...(one for SignWriting and one for DanceWriting)...but instead will
> have the entire Movement Writing system in one volume as a reference
> book...That way, all symbols will be there to choose from...
> Val ;-)

  Replies Author Date
2482 Re: Writing Legs & Feet Valerie Sutton Tue  12/14/1999
2483 Re: Writing Legs & Feet Valerie Sutton Tue  12/14/1999
2484 Re: Writing Legs & Feet Valerie Sutton Tue  12/14/1999

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