forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 2664  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  "Karen A. Van Hoek"
Date:  Tue Feb 1, 2000  8:10 pm
Subject:  Shorthand

Dear All

Does anyone else on the list ever use SignWriting Shorthand? For those
who don't know, it's a very fast way of writing signs, with extremely
simplified symbols -- many symbols reduced to just one or two strokes. It
can be written at the speed of actual signing, and was originally intended
to be used for taking notes e.g. at a meeting; the idea was that later the
signs would be re-transcribed in the more full notation. I've used
Shorthand a fair bit, though, and I've found that I don't need to re-write
the signs later -- even though the notation is very stripped-down, it
remains readable. I've found notes that I wrote over 10 years ago that I
can still read (so it's not just that I remember what I wrote). One of
the oddest things about Shorthand is that it seems somehow very dynamic --
it seems more flexible, more based on intuition than the regular
SignWriting (even though it has rules, too), and it feels to me as if it
really captures the dynamism of signs.

I sometimes think Shorthand would make a great everyday handwriting. It
wouldn't be good for writing down brand new sign languages for the first
time, but for people who already know a sign language, it could be a very
effective way to jot things down. (I have mostly used it that way --
someone in a lab meeting at Salk would say something interesting in ASL,
and I would jot it down, maybe with a note, "Can you also say..." and a
possible sentence in ASL that I wanted to check out. It was faster than
writing signs with English glosses. I've also written entire journal
entries in Shorthand.)

Valerie and I are talking about revising and updating the Shorthand manual
-- the old manual is written from the receptive viewpoint, and doesn't
incorporate the changes that have been made in SignWriting in the last
several years. It'd be great to get input from other people who use it,
or who are interested in trying it out.

Karen van Hoek

  Replies Author Date
2671 Re: Shorthand Valerie Sutton Wed  2/2/2000

  Message 2664  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index