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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Thu Feb 10, 2000  7:33 am
Subject:  Re: one gap - two gaps

At 10:12 AM -0800 2/9/00, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:
>Here is my next question for today. We discussed this issue at
>school this morning. I promised Irina to ask the experts!

SignWriting List
February 9, 2000

Hello Everyone -
In regards to spelling...remember that just a few months ago, there
were no signs being written in SignWriting in Germany, at least as
far as I know. So if there are spelling changes to be made in the
future...just keep in mind what a short time it has been. It took
centuries to establish spelling rules for other spoken languages,
including English and German. Your dictionary will go through many
changes for years to come, and that is normal for dictionary

A classic example are the symbols attached in my .GIF. They are very
rarely used symbols. Here in the USA, people bend the index finger at
the knuckle joint when they are doing the sign for "here", but we
don't bother to write that detail, because if we write just a
straight index finger without a bend in the knuckle joint...people
still can read the sign in SignWriting....There are no confusions
with other since it cannot be mis-read, why add the detail
of the knuckle joint bending?

So only add that detail if you really think the sign can be
misunderstood...a straight index finger is much easier to read for a detail like knuckle joint bending is more for
research I would guess...

Now, the symbol has two variations as you can see in the attached
..GIF. The first one shows the bend half way, and the second one all
the way. The reason there is a gap or space on the square for the
fist, and not at the finger area like we do in the straight index
finger, is because the second variation would be harder to read
without some finger line connecting it to the square for the fist...

Meanwhile little Irina, who is a native signing child, who is quite
young...found that inconsistency ...that just shows you how little
you have to worry about her knowledge! She is doing very very well!

So you are welcome to explain to her that there are two variations of
that symbol, and because one of them is harder to read if the gap is
at the finger and not in the square - that is why both have the gap
in the square -

But what I REALLY suggest is that you discuss with your students
about writing too much detail...ask them if they can think of another
sign that could be confused, if they wrote a simple straight index
finger? See what they tell you...I will be interested!

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