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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Fri Mar 9, 2001  4:22 pm
Subject:  Re: SignNet's Question: Which Viewpoint To Choose?

On 3/8/01, Cristina Pereira wrote:
>>> But what I mean is that 'how can we, for example, begin writing
>>>in a determinate point of view and then change it, is there any
>>>clue to the reader ?' As I've said, our deaf students (adult ones)
>>>discuss it many times, strange, that here, hearing people accept
>>>it easier. And it's for our deaf students that we're trying to
>>>have a better answer. Sometimes it gets hard to do not worry.

SignWriting List
March 9, 2001

Yes....Cristina...I do understand your concern. And I have heard your
question...and I plan to answer it too! I am juggling several jobs
here simultaneously, so I answer email inbetween writing grants,
fulfilling orders and designing web pages...complicated life...but
wonderful too!

First, let me summarize...I believe you have two this correct?

If a sign is written from the FRONT VIEW, and then in the middle of
the sign, the viewpoint changes to the TOP VIEW, how will the reader
know that the viewpoint has changed?

How does the writer know which viewpoint to choose?

Assuming those are your two questions, here are some of my thoughts:

1. Only in the EXPRESSIVE view do we switch back and forth, from the
TOP to the FRONT views.

2. Since most Deaf people prefer EXPRESSIVE, and since it is the
world standard for publishing SignWriting, it is important to
understand the reason for the switching.

3. EXPRESSIVE means that you are writing you own hands while you are
signing yourself....It is hard to see yourself.

4. When you look down on hands that are close to your body, you are
using the TOP VIEW to see your own hands. But when the hands move
away...far away...from your could choose to see the hands
parallel with the wall from the Front View.

5. All Hand Symbols and Movement Symbols have clues built into the
symbols, marking "parallel with the floor", or "parallel with the
wall". The Hands have a space representing the horizon, when they are
parallel with the floor. The Movement Symbols use a single stem-line
to mark "parallel with the floor".

6. The clue is learning "planes". The concept of "planes" is very
hard for a native signer, because seeing your own language "relating
to space" is an abstract concept....Once it is learned it becomes
quite easy...the question is how to get students to that level of
fluency in reading the switching of planes....

So either plane is correct...and feel free to switch them at will.
Obviously, if you can write each sign keeping to one plane, and not
switching them within one sign, that might be better for the
reader...but you can switch does depend on the
situation..sometimes one viewpoint is easier to read than the other.

The subject of teaching planes better, and the switching of
one of the topics I am hoping to expand upon in new lessons in the

More soon -

Val ;->


Valerie Sutton


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