Date: Sun Nov 12, 2000 4:28
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Changes in SignWriting Textbooks
On 11/9/00, Charles Butler wrote:
>I guess, for me, for the rest of the sign, that I prefer to write
>minimally, so I tend to use hands-on-edge rather than
>hands-from-above with a "surface symbol". It's an interesting
>adjustment. Charles <<<
November 12, 2000
Dear SW List, and Charles -
Actually Charles, you wrote the sign the way we used to write it in
1981. Because you learned SignWriting back in the early 1980's...it
is an adjustment for you, to view the signs from the overhead view,
which did not exist back in the early 1980's..By the way, you were
not wrong, since that way of writing still holds true - I hope to
write down those differences so everyone can grasp them later. It has
to do with different planes in space and how we view the hands - from
the overhead or from the front....
Did you all know that we have had many different textbooks over the years?
The reason that SignWriting and DanceWriting are working systems, is
not because it was a perfect system from the beginning - not at all!!
The system is working because we work together, and also because I
have chosen to be flexible. When others who use the system find
something that really works for them...I then incorporate those
changes or styles of writing into the next textbook....just as long
as the changes fit with the entire system as a whole, and just as
long as the changes seem to be working for more than just a handful
Our first textbook on DanceWriting was published in late 1973. I used
that book to teach the Royal Danish Ballet in 1974. What an
experience! Just from teaching that one, very intensive course, the
writing system changed forever. It became clear what was easy for
people, and what was hard...so the writing system improved from the
All the textbooks printed in 1973 had to be thrown out - we lost
thousands of dollars, because the writing system needed to evolve
with use. It took another five years before I wrote three more
The first SignWriting text was in 1977-1978. It is totally useless now - ha!
Then the book "SignWriting For Everyday Use" was published in 1981.
That was the book that was used through the 1980's, and the one
Charles used back then....
Then "Lessons In SignWriting, First Edition" was published in 1990.
Then "Lessons In SignWriting Second Edition" in 1995....
And I hope that "Lessons In SignWriting, Third Edition" will be
published in time, incorporating all the changes that have occurred
in the past five years - there are A LOT of them!
So Charles - we are getting older....but wiser through the experience :-))
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