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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Mon Jan 4, 1999  10:12 pm
Subject:  Small Book Teaching SW

January 4, 1999

QUESTION: Is there a way you (or anyone else who is familiar with the
written form) to put all the symbols and their written equivalent on one or
more page(s)? That way, when we study a printed form, we can quickly see a
corresponding written symbol and not get "freaked" out by some of the
(perhaps rare)
complicated symbols. I didn't know if this might be a helpful shortcut for
some. Then your
lessons as you are doing them can be the detailed version. Just a thought
to do with as you see fit. If I were further along in this learning
process, I would be more than happy to do that, but I'm not there yet.

ANSWER: That would be great and I hope people will develop new materials
teaching SignWriting. As you can see, my Lessons In SignWriting Textbook
was never meant to be a "quick-easy-listing of symbols". The textbook is
the reference book for writing all the symbols in SignWriting, and the book
is getting thicker and thicker as we add more signed languages.

People who know American Sign Language are the fortunate least
the diagrams are showing American signs. But the textbook is even harder
for people using it in other countries, because there are no examples in
their signed language. That is why some groups are now translating the
textbook into their own signed and spoken languages. This has been done in
Denmark, Norway, and Nicaragua and groups in Spain and Brazil are also
working on translations. Sometimes they improve the book, or add sections
unique to their language, which is great too. And I am continually adding
new chapters, such as the new lesson on Diagonal Plane arrows that I just
posted on the web.

So, of course simpler books specific to one signed language are always
needed. Certainly small thin books can definitely be developed. And when
you or others feel ready, contact me and I will try to give you the tech
support needed to complete the task.

One last point on this subject...sometimes reading lots of sign documents,
without analyzing too much, may help. The purpose of the Lessons In
SignWriting Textbook is to be picky, because such a reference book is
needed for researchers and teachers. But students can oftentimes get too
hung up on the details, and reading may automatically provide the answers,
through experience.

So our real weakness is that we lack a large library of literature for
people to read. I hope between the two SignWriting web sites, we can
present more literature on the web in 1999.

I am starting an Independent SWriter's Forum on our web site...and I just
received our first submission, typed with the SignWriter Computer Program.
When I post the new literature, I will announce it to the list. I am not
sure if Caroline Readman plans to have literature on her site or not, but
in time we need a whole library to access.

So thanks for the good question - and good luck learning SignWriting!

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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