forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 3647  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Jun 26, 2000  3:53 pm
Subject:  Re: Lessons In Sign Language Transcription

At 4:58 PM +0900 5/22/00, Mark Penner wrote:
>I have the whole first sentence in pencil on a piece of paper in columns.....

SignWriting List
June 26, 2000

Dear SignWriting List members, and of course Mark, Joe, Stefan and Wayne -

In regards to our discussion of transcribing the Japanese Sign Language video -

I read all of your writing several times over and I was struck at how
well you all did.....I am not just saying that - I really mean it.
Your writing in pencil in columns, Mark, was close to remarkable - I
think all of you know how to use SignWriting right well as

Sometimes several of you express worry that you are not writing
correctly. Of course I understand how you feel. If this were another
subject like math, or science, I would be nervous too ;-)

But learning SignWriting is different. Although SignWriting is used
around the world, the actual invention is still under development. It
is not fully documented yet. Nor is it finished. I will continually
invent until the day I die.

So even the inventor herself is still feeling her way and learning
from every experience. There are many ways to write each sign, and
none of it is standard yet.

Will there be standardized spellings someday? Probably. I hope so.

Why haven't I forced the establishment of spellings right now?

Because I cannot establish spellings of languages I do not know. I am
hoping your work with writing your languages will lead to discussions
amongst people in your country, and that together you will establish
your own spellings.

Even our little ASL dictionary that is included in SignWriter, and
published in notebook form, was written by three Deaf native signers
who all had different opinions as to how to write each sign. Not one
could agree with each other! So when I read their work, I decided to
publish the dictionary with several possible spellings for the same
sign. I figured in time people would come to some conclusions as to
which spelling was best for their language.

So why this course in video transcription?

I want to share with you a NEW way of transcribing that I have
started recently. About two years ago, I started transcribing the
Goldilocks story in ASL, signed by native signer Darline Clark

Of course, you all know by now, that that new work produced this new course:


To transcribe that video, I experimented with a new idea, and I found
it to be useful. Then Kathy Akehurst, a teacher of our SignWriting
Literacy Project in Ontario, Canada, was kind enough to give me
feedback on the idea, and from Kathy, and since then, from several
other teachers and linguists, I have learned that this new way of
writing may be working...I even got a brief chance to discuss it with
linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, and although our conversation was brief,
I got the feeling that I might be on the right path....

So that is what I want to teach you now. I had planned to teach this
"very officially" on the web, but I have not had a chance to do the
web design. So instead I will share it with you now, with hopes
someday that I can complete it on the web.

Continued next message....

Val ;-)


Valerie Sutton


To Post A Message To The SW List:

SignWriting List Archives:

  Message 3647  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index