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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Feb 8, 2000  3:45 pm
Subject:  Re: Question on Handshapes

SignWriting List
February 8, 2000

SignWriting is not based on computer programs. It developed as a true
handwriting before any computer programs were developed.

SignWriter 4.3 in MS-DOS has limited memory. It therefore cannot
incorporate all of the handshapes that can be written in SignWriting,
because of a lack of space in the computer program itself.

SignWriter 5.0 will have unlimited space for symbols, so that issue
will slowly go away as more software is developed.

This has nothing to do with SignWriting itself, which can be written
by hand anytime.

How do we construct new handshapes we didn't expect? There are rules
for constructing new handshapes. They are:

1. If fingertips touch the palm of the hand, that is a Closed Fist.
2. If fingertips touch each other, that is an Open Fist.
3. When creating a base for the handshape, the lower fingers
rule...which means that if there are fingers touching the palm of the
hand, then the handshape starts with a square for the Closed Fist as
its base.
4. If the lowest fingers are touching each other, then the base of
the hand starts with the Open Fist.

Look at the handshapes in the attached .GIF.

As you can see, handshapes can be combined. Number 3 starts with the
base of a square, because there are some fingers touching the palm of
the hand, but it also has some fingers touching each other, so the
two shapes are present in one handshape symbol.

Number 6 is a combination of Number 4 and 5. It starts with the base
of the fingers touching the palm of the hand (a square), but it also
has two fingers touching each other in the curlicue configuration:

Type: image/gif
Size: 3k

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