forum SignWriting List Forum
  Message 3663  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index
From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Jun 27, 2000  4:08 pm
Subject:  Re: Lessons In Sign Language Transcription

SignWriting List
June 27, 2000

Hello Everyone, and Joe, Stefan, Wayne and Mark!

Regarding the first sign on the video (see attachment below)....

In a previous message, Joe wrote :
>> 1st sign:
>> I guess it's just me, but I looked and looked and looked at this--it
>> looked like he touched his jaw with his index finger. I couldn't decide
>> whether to write it that way, or with the second contact on the shoulder,
>> or non second contact at all. Did anyone else have that problem?
>> I liked Stephan's change of orientation, which seems to capture the
>> movement quite well. Mark's was *very clear--but I agree, maybe better
>> not to shift perspectives unless we have to.

Then Stefan Woehrmann wrote:
>This is the typical "critical" decision we have to make - as long as I donīt
>know the other language - I donīt know wether a specific sign changes its
>meaning in case I change the orientation of the hand -
>So I felt more confident with this. It didnīt came to my mind until now that
>the first part of my "L -Hand sign " is written from the front -perspective
>while the end is top-down ? My pupils accept this without hesitation.
>Would it be better to write both parts of this sign from top - down ?

Excellent analysis, Joe and Stefan!

And you all did an excellent job in writing the different aspects of the sign.

So now I will add my comments too ;-)

I agree that it is best not to mix viewpoints within one sentence, if possible.

There will always be exceptions, where mixing viewpoints is necessary
...but in general I would suggest not mixing viewpoints if possible.

So, yes, Stefan, I think your students are accepting it because they
are not really reading the space for the hand parallel with the
floor. I can see that you wrote the second hand position pointing
towards the wall, parallel with the floor. I hadn't seen that palm
facing, but perhaps I am wrong and I will look at the videotape again.

In regards to Mark's overhead view of the head and shoulders...that
symbol was invented because we were having problems showing depth.
For example, the overhead view gave us an opportunity to record how
close, or how far the hands are from the body. It helped in accuracy
with verb conjugations, for example.

But in this case, although an interesting choice, it is best to view
the writing from the front consistently I believe.

Isn't it interesting that Wayne and Joe wrote the sign exactly the
same? That is great!

Stefan added a Facial Circle without any facial expression. That is
very interesting too, because that is what they are doing in Denmark
now. Perhaps it is because you are teaching Deaf children, Stefan? I
bet your students like to see a stick is easier for
children, I believe.

Which now comes to my writing - In the old days, I would have written
the sign exactly as Joe and Wayne did. Just the handshape, contact
and shoulder line. I would not have noticed the facial expression
because it isn't exaggerated...and like most people, back in 1974, I
figured the handshapes were more important than the facial

But not today. I start writing all signs now with the Facial Circle.
I establish that as the center of the sign. I decided the signer
started the sentence with a topic marker - the eyebrows up.

Then I looked at the hands to see how they were relating to the face.
I realized he was mouthing a word, but I chose to ignore the
word-mouthing. It could be written by the way, but I chose not to,
for now.

So by placing the hands and movement symbols under the Facial Circle,
I did not need a Shoulder Line. When the Facial Circle is the center
of each sign, location does not have to be marked by the Shoulder
Line. Instead, the Facial Circle becomes the location marker:

Type: image/gif
Size: 3k

  Message 3663  |  Previous | Next  [ Up Thread ] Message Index