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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Nov 7, 1998  4:45 am
Subject:  Re: Inbetween Contact & Surface Symbols

Valerie, these are neat surfaces. I can see using them immediately for
mime-like storytelling, when one is describing a narrow corridor which
suddenly opens up. I would tend to sign this with parallel hands with
left surface and right surface signs paralleling the two hands moving
forward, with tension markers above the movement to show that it is a
slow and tense sign, suddenly releasing to the open space. Very neat,
I never saw these signs in 20 years of study.

Charles Butler

November 6, 1998

Hi Charles - Gosh, that is good to know. Actually this goes back to what
Ulrike Zeshan asked about phonetic and phonemic...

The Surface Symbols are older than SignWriting...they were in my first
textbook on writing Modern & Jazz Dance in Sutton Dance Writing, which is
still the textbook used when learning DanceWriting.

When it came time to try to write signs, in my very first attempts, I used
these Surface Symbols - that was back in 1974 and the time I used
them to show one finger crossing over the surface of another - like in the
"R" handshape in ASL.

Well, through experience I realized that the Surface Symbols were not
necessary...we could see the crossed fingers without the Surface
Symbols...and like Ulrike being concerned about writing too much detail...I
became concerned that I was writing too much I took the
Surface Symbols out of the list of SignWriting symbols.

So that is why you never saw those symbols - they have been in DanceWriting
all this time...

I have come to the conclusion they are necessary in more advanced
SignWriting, but I do think that all of us should avoid them unless we
absolutely have to write them. I am using them with certain classifiers, as
in the advanced Goldilocks, which you will see later this year. And the
Nicaraguans are using them in other ways - for showing movements passing
over or under surfaces. You never know...maybe they will become
important...but at the moment I consider them at the advanced levels.

I have been concerned of late that I need to record a lot of this - the
different sections of Movement Writing function well enough by
themselves...but the "interblending" of the different sections of the
system needs to be better documented...just as long as my strength holds time I hope to do this through the silent videos I mentioned
before. That will help the writing of mime and gesture too.

All the best -

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at the DAC
Deaf Action Committee for SW


Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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