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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Jun 19, 2000  3:58 am
Subject:  different ways of writing....

At 5:15 PM +0200 6/18/00, Stefan Woehrmann wrote:
>Sometimes SW is used in a different way. Sometimes you donīt write the
>movement as it should be performed but you just inform the "informed" reader
>what kind of "sign" you have in your mind. Would be interesting to find out
>if there are other areas than poetry written for a special audience where in
>order to write "nice signs" we can neglect "accuracy" .

SignWriting List
June 18, 2000

Hello Stefan and Everyone!
Thanks for the long messages. I always enjoy discussing these issues.

Your English is so outstanding, Stefan. I know that it must be
exhausting for you to have to continually deal with a second language
(English), when discussing these technical issues on the SW List. You
do a great great job!

The main thing to realize about SignWriting is that it is not "one
thing". It is a multi-faceted writing system with many applications,
seen from many viewpoints. And each person applies it differently.

Accuracy can be important in some situations. But sometimes personal
expression is more important. I am sure you already know this well
with your students. They did not get upset when the spelling of a
sign changed, because accuracy was not the point ;-)

So your statement is correct above. It is not a rigid writing system.
Some people use it one way, and others use it another way....and all
of it is useful to people for different purposes.

That is why I placed six courses on the web. Each course serves a
different purpose....

SW Lessons Directory

Courses 1 and 2 teach the generic writing system, not based on any
one language.

Courses 3 and 4 teach grammar and reading of one signed language: ASL.
(I hope someday other courses for other languages will be posted too ;-)

Course 5 teaches how to write by hand.

Course 6 teaches how to transcribe videos of languages you do not know.

The reason I use the word "scribe" in course 6 is because "scribe" to
me means a person who does not know the language they are writing -
they are jotting down what people say without interpreting it for
meaning...a little like a machine - So I thought the term "scribe"
might explain what i was trying to teach.

But I never expected ALL SignWriting users to be scribes.....

In fact, most people do not want to transcribe from video - that is
dull and picky!

When a Deaf person, or an interpreter like Charles, expresses poetry
in their own signed language, they are not being scribes...they are
not "viewing a video" or writing down what someone else signed - They
are not interested in accuracy or spellings. They are writing their
feelings expressed directly in signs they already know, and the
spellings of the signs are not nearly as important as what they are

And in cases like that, I do not correct their spellings...That would
defeat the purpose of the writing....

So if there are signs you cannot read sometimes, it is not you who is
at have not made mistakes, because there are no mistakes
to make....

First, if it is written in a foreign Sign Language, you will not be
able to understand it for meaning. That is only natural.

Second, none of us knows what we are doing in regards to
spellings...we literally are making history as we go, and none of us
are sure what is "right" or "wrong"....

So I will try my best not to become too picky about writing details!!

A new week is beginning, and there is much to tell you all about ...

And I am grateful for the chance to know all of you and to share with
all of you -

Many blessings for a good week ahead -

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton


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