Date: Tue Oct 24, 2000 10:14
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: SignWriting Handshape Sequence 1999
October 24, 2000
Dear SignWriting List!
I have been working on SignWriting symbol databases. Why? Because
programmers in different countries are developing their own
SignWriting software, and they need to know how to convert old SW4.3
files into more modern formats.
This is no small job, since a visual writing system like SignWriting
has a great number of symbols. The symbols are easy to read for
children. Ironically, that very visual nature, which makes
SignWriting so "user-friendly" to signers, is harder to program in
computers. But it certainly can be done....just a matter of attention
to detail. And the burden does fit squarely on my shoulders.
Although I am not a programmer, I work with programmers, providing
them the details of the writing system. For example, we have a Symbol
Editor program that I use. I enter all the thousands of symbols dot
by dot into the Symbol Editor. Then programmers "connect" the symbols
in the Symbol Editor to the programs they are creating.
In the Symbol Editor, each symbol has ID numbers. Each hand symbol
usually has 8 rotations, plus palm facing, and other details. Each
detail has its own unique numbering system, so the program can read
the details and place them on your screen when you type in SignWriter.
Those ID numbers are called the "Sign-Symbol-Sequence" (SSS) . We
have three Sequences: SSS-1995, SSS-1999 and SSS-2001.
The SSS-1995 is the symbol set for SignWriter 4.3 or earlier
versions. It is a limited symbol set, because computers did not have
that much memory "in the old days" ;-))
The SSS-1999 is the symbol set for SignWriter 4.5-5.0. Don't ask me
about SignWriter 4.5 (grin)...can't discuss that until it is ready
To assist programmers in converting old files from SSS-1995 to
SSS-1999, I have started a web page called SymbolBank. It is on the
SignBank web site:
You will see that there is a page for:
On the SSS-1999 page, you can download a listing of all hand symbols:
SignWriting Handshapes 1999
The complete list of all handshapes in the entire writing system will
not be completed until next year. That symbol set is called the
For some of you interested in handshapes, the 1999 listing may be of interest.
Visit the SignWritingSite: