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From:  Charles Butler
Date:  Sun Oct 4, 1998  2:24 pm
Subject:  Re: SW

Erin, this is from Charles Butler, one of the old timers.

When ASL was first written in Sign Writing it included full body
movement, arms, legs, and torso. The system still includes it, it just
has not been as strongly emphasized in the current handwriting system.
When one is telling a story, one becomes several people, all the parts
of the story, so one's shoulders often move to take on different people.

Example, the spiritual "Set Down Servant" goes.

Set down servant, I can't sit down, Set down servant, I can't set down
My heart is so happy that I can't set down.

An interpreter must take that simple sequence in sections, with the
master looking superior and looking down, and then shifting to show the
servant looking up and rather defiant, back and forth. Without body
movement, the transcription would not be accurate, but would look as if
the interpreter simply looked straight forward and signed, which is NOT
the beauty of sign language, nor grammatically correct.

One has to add at minimum a shoulder line and neck line to show the
shift in characters between the master and the servant. That shoulder
and neck line is on the keyboard now, so one could at least get a rough
draft of it. Full Mime Writing is a bit more complex, but this may give
you a start.

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