|SignWriting List Forum|
Richar Tennant |
Date: Tue Feb 2, 1999 1:39 pm
Subject: Re: About Sign Dic...
In a message dated 1/31/99 9:53:41 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< On Sun, 31 Jan 1999 "Chip" McGruder wrote:
> I mention this to you because, after seeing that incredibly
>effort's screenshot of the SignDic recently posted, I think maybe ordering
>Signs by patterns might be reasonable.
> As a first suggestion, perhaps dividing the Signs into
> 1) Static/Fluid
> 2) Either Hand/Left Hand/Right Hand/Both Hands
> 3) Other Body Parts
> 4) Speed of Sign
> 5) I can't think of any others but I'm sure the rest of y'all can.
>William J. "Chip" McGruder
Thanks Chip, for this great information. By the way, for those who want to
study the entire message and missed it, you can always go to the
SignWriting List Archive to read previously posted messages:
SignWriting List Archives
Anyway, Chip, you have touched upon something that is "right down my alley"
so to speak :-)
A few days ago I was asked how I invent the SignWriting symbols...and you
may remember that I explained that I blur my eyes and write what I see
without looking at my hands as a part of the process. We have a very fast
and accurate shorthand system, where we write at the speed of movement.
Working with visual patterns was a part of how the system was developed.
Along that same philosophy...I have been working on our
Sign-Symbol-Sequence in the same way. I experiment with different sequences
by "blurring my eyes" and "seeing" the signs shift or flow from one
category to the next, as I look down the list of signs in the dictionary.
This is not based on a knowledge of any one signed language, but is based
on visual sequences or patterns that seem to flow naturally, based on how
the body is made. We have a real writing system, and when we look up signs
by Sign-Symbol-Sequence we are looking at hundreds of signs at a time very
quickly, and I am convinced that the only way we will have children around
the world looking up and finding signs quickly is to do it by "visual
patterns". So I agree this is the final conclusion...but how we get there
is the question!
Daniela in Brazil, I am sure, will want to tell us how she is planning to
categorize the signs. I have told her briefly about our
Sign-Symbol-Sequence, but she and I have not had time yet to share our
ideas together. So I am looking forward to working with Daniela and perhaps
we can experiment a little together. No matter what, I think Sign Dic will
be a big step forward for Deaf Education.
I will keep your message, Chip. Thanks so much for the excellent input!
Please forgive me if I am displaying my ignorance, but I find it puzzling and
a bit amazing to read the volume of suggestions and wealth of discussion on
this list concerning a Sign Writing to English dictionary. It seems to me that
I have already accomplished such a reference in the ASL Handshape Dictionary
recently published by Gallaudet Press, with only slight modification for SW
This reference orders over 1600 illustrations of signs, in one hand and two
hand sections, by handshape, position and movement: giving the associated
English glosses with each illustration. If one were to substitute the Sign
Writing symbol for each illustration , it would seem to produce the reference
under discussion. After all, these are the basic elements of signing no
matter what symbols are used to define them.
My knowledge of Sign Writing is admittedly skimpy, so I am probably missing
something here and I would very much appreciate a clarification of exactly
what is the purpose of the proposed reference and why the dictionary described
above differs from that which you are seeking to construct.