Date: Thu Feb 3, 2000 11:33
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Shorthand
I would like to learn shorthand but it seem to read hard than computer
software. Is it? I notice that shorthand and computer software are not the
same. I am not sure! Lourdes
From: Valerie Sutton [SMTP:]
Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2000 10:17 AM
To: SignWriting List
Subject: Re: 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
February 2, 2000
Hello Everyone, and a special thank you to Karen for sharing the
information about SignWriting Shorthand...I really appreciate it that
you informed us that you can still read your notes from a long time
ago - that is amazing!
For those who are new to the SignWriting List, Karen was our Deaf
Action Committee's resident linguist from around 1985 until the day
Karen completed her Ph.d and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan....I
remember Karen telling us stories about how she used the Shorthand to
take notes during meetings at Salk Institute...at least that is my
memory of it...and considering that the Shorthand was not designed
for details, it is good news that these old notes are still readable.
Every writing system that really succeeds has several "forms". We
type English, but we also write it by hand. Plus there is a Pittman
and Gregg Shorthand for English stenography...so English has a
Printing, a Handwriting and a Shorthand.
And so does SignWriting....it always has, but on computers we type
SignWriting Printing, just as in English we type English Printing
People write SignWriting Handwriting all over the world now, and the
Shorthand was successful as a stenography system in the mid-1980's.
And just as we do not write English with Pittman Shorthand, so I
always assumed that there was not enough detail in our SignWriting
Shorthand for daily use either...we leave out all palm facing, for
example, when writing Shorthand...but of course if you know the
signed language you are writing...maybe that is why you can read your
And Karen, you are right that the old Shorthand was receptive...that
is one of the reasons why the book has to be re-written...the
Shorthand was designed to write at speed while looking at someone
else signing...so to switch it into expressive does change things...
However - take a look at the new Shorthand from the expressive
viewpoint, written vertically...I have one sample on the web:
The SW Printing on this web page...
is then re-written in SW Shorthand on this page:
Of course there are new symbols in that example, Karen, because it
writes facial expressions and head moving forward etc...but I know
you could learn those new symbols quickly and be writing at speed
I am swamped with mail and orders, and I feel guilty towards the kids
in South Africa and France, who are waiting for me to print the books
and ship them to them! So I will try to answer all the other messages
soon...and meanwhile, Karen....can you scan a page of your Shorthand
notes and send it as a .GIF to the SignWriting List?
Do you have a scanner? ;-))
No matter what, I am excited that you are back on the List and I look
forward to your help with getting the new Shorthand book completed
Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA