SignWriting List
January 7, 2011

Hello SW List members, and thank you Stefan, for this message!

I cannot believe how time has flown during the first week of 2011....

Thank you for your good ideas below, Stefan - see my answers between your paragraphs...

On Jan 2, 2011, at 10:55 PM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:

> Hi Val and sw-list friends, 
> I thought about "some topics", 
> Years ago we had fun to look at a video-clip or photos of a signer and
> discussed the options how to transcribe this in SW. 

Yes, that is a good memory! I believe we wrote some Japanese Sign Language from a video?...that was a lot of fun....

> On several internet-platforms there are SL video-clips available. As long as
> we discuss an isolated demonstration of any given movement performed with a
> given hand shape and eventually more information (like Mundbilder - smile)
> it does not matter with which SL of the world this given sign is associated.
> We just look at the performance. What do I see - what do I want to write? We
> all can learn from that. Some of the list-members - like you Valerie - seem
> to be equipped with a camera and software that allows to post a small video
> clip without too much effort.

And you have the same equipment I do, have a Macintosh with the built in camera and if you are using the software that came with the Mac computer, namely Quicktime or Photo Booth, or other software too, then you have the equipment you need to create your own videos - I realize that your workplace installed Windows on your computer, but that means they used a Mac program called Boot Camp to do that, which means that the Mac software is still there underneath or they couldn't have installed Windows in the first place, so maybe you would enjoy starting to take your own videos of yourself directly from sitting at your computer, like I do? - I bet you do that already and it is silly to even mention this to you! You are so good with cameras...

I agree that with today's equipment and technology, there is no excuse not to use the video features to teach SignWriting here on the List - I have been thinking of ways to do that too -

When it comes to learning how to do video transcription of sign languages however, I prefer to use other videos of other signers as our model, since I am not a skilled signer of the native sign languages in the world - it is best we write videos of skilled signers -

The only time my demo on a video would be good is to show what a movement looks like, to teach a symbol, like I have done before, and Adam and others have done before, and you are welcome to do this too, Stefan, and so are other teachers on the List -

> Any performance is welcome to study the
> options of Sutton SignWriting. (just sign the sign for the colour "yellow",
> "California", "New York" or "black bird" the way you would sign it. If we
> focus on our job to transcribe any movement it is not that important how
> many other deaf or hearing would sign it the same way. So we are not
> discussing SL issues but SignWriting aspects. This is a big difference. Just
> in contrary. If someone feels motivated to perform the same term differently
> it is a very welcome opportunity to post the other video and to try another
> transcription. 

Very good point, Stefan. I agree that any movement gives us something to "chew on"

> Another opportunity would be to make up some kind of table that shows the
> same term signed in different SL of the world: "mother", "colour", "water",
> "DEAF", "14" ...

That would be wonderful - I hope you or others will do this - maybe later I can post it on our web site...

> SignWriting allows to write what we see.

SignWriting writes what we see and what we feel. It is both.

SignWriting can also be used for "standardized spellings", that are not based on what everyone sees or feels, but only one interpretation, and then it is just memorized, just as standardized spellings are in written English - English spellings are not really based on what a word sounds like - only partially - because different accents pronounce each sound slightly differently, but we still spell only one way...So SignWriting started out based on writing what we see and feel, but there are many ways to use the writing system and simplification of SignSpellings for large books is also a reality now...

> What a wonderful concept if we can
> proof to ourselves that different skilled reader would perform a given
> written sign the same way. Same is true for the spelling. Although we accept
> different options to spell a performed sign there are lots of opportunities
> to learn about the correct and not correct interpretations of the given
> 36,600 graphemes in this ISWA 2010 set. I felt so happy when Steve and Diane
> Parkhurst came to visit me. They looked at my SW- documents and explained to
> me that there are several misinterpretations of head movement graphemes and
> other problems. In the past and till today I am very much interested to look
> at the way how you Valerie would write a given performance.

Thank you, Stefan, and I am interested in how you and everyone else writes signs too - so it is agreed we need more discussions about SignSpellings - and more discussions of writing videos in SignWriting too, and more instruction using video -

If we discuss Mundbilder, which would be a joy, I hope you can provide us with a listing of all of the standardized Mundbilder symbols that we can refer to, since that would be necessary for me to learn how to write mouth movements in that standardized way - SignWriting mouth symbols in general are just that, very general, and there are several positions, several mouth symbols, a person could choose from the general list, for some positions of the mouth, so your standardization is wonderful and helpful and I look forward to learning it someday -

> OK - enough for now. 
> It is beautiful outside - still dark at almost 8.00 o`clock in the morning.
> Snow everywhere. ... but later a good chance to take a photo of a nice bird.
> I should do that. 
> Stefan ;-) 

Thank you for this message, Stefan, and your good suggestions -

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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