Date: Wed Jul 15, 1998 6:16
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Menus In Signs
July 15, 1998
Regarding "Menus in Signs"...
This brings up very interesting linguistic and translation issues. As you
know, not all computer terminology is a part of American Sign Language yet.
Many terms are fingerspelled. Some terms, like the sign for "computer"
itself, have many equivalent signs and variations.
Of course, other countries have the same issues in their respective signed
languages. SignWriter 5.0 will be for all 15 countries later (well, 16
counting English-speaking Canada which uses ASL)...This new beta test
version is only for ASL. As soon as the program seems to be working well,
we will add the other countries.
So I am discussing the ASL version right now. We have 66 English computer
terms that have to be written in ASL to create the Menus in Signs for this
beta test version. I know that whatever signs are chosen, others may
disagree as to the choice. So...I am planning to type the 66 signs and then
show them to Deaf people and native signers to see which signs "seem to be
The truth is...once people remember where the term "copy" is located in the
menu, they memorize the "location in the menu" more than the word or sign
itself. But doing an excellent job with the choice of ASL terminology means
a lot to the history of the language, I believe, because typing ASL will
slowly become more and more important as we move into this new era of
So I take this task seriously, and I will be asking many people their
Why not start with the SignWriting List?! I know many of you are linguists
and skilled signers and I would love your feedback. I can record and save
your different suggestions and slowly go over them with many people. The
first beta test version will just be the "first attempt". We can always
make changes to the terminology later, as we learn more and more.
So...in a separate email message...I will send you the list of 66 computer
terms...I look forward to reading your discussions about this!
All the best -
Valerie Sutton :-)
Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA