Date: Thu Jan 21, 1999 2:05
SignWriting List Forum
Subject: Re: Typing SW in a Japanese Program
On Wed, 20 Jan, Joe Martin wrote:
>I can answer this one; the characters are mostly the same--the Japanese
>borrowed existing Chinese ones in order to writetheir language. Evidently
>they weren't as ambitious as you -LOL- didn't want to invent their own
>All the characters are built up out of seven basic strokes--straight line
>horizontal & straight line verticle, hook, dot,.....etc. By adding these
>together in combinations you can make all the characters; some have over
>twenty strokes in them. (but then, they don't `rotate' like SW symbols)
January 21, 1999
Hello Joe and thanks for this great explanation about Chinese and Japanese.
I have really enjoyed all the information we have received about writing
other languages from you and other linguists on our SW List. Your comment
about the fact that typing Chinese or Japanese does not require "rotation
of symbols" is an excellent point. Our SignWriter Computer Program in
MS-DOS is sophisticated, because hundreds of symbols are hidden from the
user, but the user has access to all those symbols with just a tap of a
finger. That is why SignWriter is superior to fonts. Fonts are simply one
symbol per key, and in the case of SignWriting, that would mean a lot of
fonts. So we developed a program where the typist can rotate, mirror, and
change the variation of symbols with a simple tap of the finger on one key.
While Steve and Dianne Parkhurst were here visiting with me from Spain,
earlier this month, I showed them the old SignWriting fonts I developed on
the Macintosh in the mid-1980's. I used Fontographer on the Macintosh,
which I am sure you know about. It is a wonderful program that makes it
possible to create your own fonts. I even had printed keyboard cards for
all these fonts, and there were a lot of them!
To use the fonts, you would have to open a paint program, and then type one
symbol, and then rotate the symbol in the paint program itself. And you
would "piece" a sign together. It was so slow, that finally I just decided
that using our SignWriter Computer Program on the Mac, with another program
called SoftPC, was a better solution.
I think, Joe, making individual fonts for Chinese or Japanese could be
equally as difficult, and equally as slow to piece together.
In regards to the program Mark Penner mentioned - Microsoft Word in
Japanese - there may be another solution in that case. A dictionary of
completed signs could be stored, and the signs could be pasted into the
Microsoft documents at will. I will be looking into this in time.
Thanks again for your very interesting input -
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