Date: Sun May 7, 2000 11:54
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: SW in Databases
----- Original Message -----
From: Charles Butler
Sent: Saturday, May 06, 2000 6:33 AM
Subject: Re: SW in Databases
> Is the full ASL dictionary as you have compiled it in the past ten years
> available on line for browsing? How could one get a print out of it?
> it as a published volume in both English-ASL order and ASL-English order
> would be extremely helpful to show people the facility of Sign Writing who
> remain unconvinced.
I donīt think that it is worth to spend much time to try to "convince "
people who made up their mind that SW isnīt worth to think about.
My experience is allways the same. People visit our class. They canīt
believe what is going on. These little children - still unable to read many
words in German - are able to understand what they read in SW.
My visitors are very very impressed. They start to participate . They start
to ask for principles (doublestem, point of view, palm hollow - back of the
hand "black", punctuation,....) Within the first hour of their visit they
start to learn the very first things - which makes them feel good.
The point is - that you have to be fluent in SignLanguage in order to
understand what is written down. That means that you have to learn another
LANGUAGE which is not so easy.
The hearing visitors get very quickly the idea that SW might support them
very much in this process though. Instead of writing volumes of
movement-descriptions in German (just the way I started some years ago) they
can now use the SW- dictionary. They can use the signs for handshapes,
movements, contact symbols and so forth.
In my point of few it is a pitty that we an use the dictionary only one
way - from spoken language word -to SL
So - if any databank would be able to browse through the list - just the
other way round - that would be great.
For my pupils I try to prepare very short lists of words which could be used
eather way- but that isnīt the solution at all. I have got no idea - how an
expert could manage to organize hundred of SW -signs in a specific order so
that you would be able to find the word /meaning of a SW-symbol in a spoken
Your ideas below are very interesting!
> Since the change over to Sign Writing being organized into the 1-10 motif,
> has there been a concerted effort to come up with an agreed on order to
> handshapes? That is, does a closed fist come before an open one, does a
> crooked finger come before or after a straight finger, example, is the
> "S", "O", "1", "X", "2", "quote" or some other order? ... and where do the
> contact symbols come into the order. If one were to have the signs in a
> Lotus 1-2-3 file, for example, and hit "sort" on a column, how would the
> signs, as signs, be ordered? Since the coding on a keyboard is entirely
> convenient of the typer, the underlying computer code would not be a good
> indication of "sign-symbol-sequence", but must be structured from outside.
> Has this been done--recently?
> With all the research that is being done and the thousands of pages of
> signwriting, the dictionary would surpass in size most of the ASL
> dictionaries now available.
Wouldnīt it be great to have a look at different SL - just to find out how
the other SL express the meaning for lion, hammock or basic course in SW
All the best