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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sun May 28, 2000  3:56 pm
Subject:  Japanese Fingerspelling Keyboard

SignWriting List
May 28, 2000

Dear SignWriting List:

Back in March 1999, I communicated with Mark Penner, from Japan,
about developing a Japanese Fingerspelling Keyboard in SignWriting.

Although Japanese Sign Language does not have fingerspelling like we
have in the west, they do have a series of handshapes and movements
associated with certain sounds in the Japanese spoken language.
Interesting, isn't it? ;-)

So naturally I was fascinated by this, and I offered back in March
1999 to experiment with Mark.... trying to develop a typing keyboard
for Japanese Fingerspelling.

Time went by and I assumed that project was forgotten. Last week I
received two long email messages from Mark about this idea, and lo
and behold, I received a videotape yesterday from Japan demonstrating
Japanese Fingerspelling. A Deaf Japanese man slowly goes through each
handshape or movement on the video, and a hearing person in the
background makes the sounds that are associated with the hand
movements. It is a wonderful videotape, Mark, thank you!

So I will save the video and Mark's detailed written notes for the
day when we can approach a new design for a new Japanese
Fingerspelling keyboard.

Although SignWriter 4.3 is one way to type fingerspelling, it is
limited to only the lower case keyboard. We cannot access the Shift
key in SignWriter 4.3.

But we can access the Shift Key in True Type. In fact, I believe we
can even access other keys such as the Alt key in Windows, or the
Option key in the Macintosh.

So True Type might lend itself well to the Japanese fingerspelling,
since there are a larger number of keys available in True Type. So I
will speak with Michael Everson about this. Michael is the
typographer and designer of the Sutton True Type fonts.

So thank you, Mark, for all your hard work! And please thank your
Deaf team. Tell them how impressed I am with the video :-)

To finish the Japanese Fingerspelling Keyboard, it may take me as
much time as it took all of you to develop the video.... But sooner
or later it will get done!

Best -

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton


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