Dear Valerie,
Thank you for the lessons.
However, I am not sure we can understand precisely in the absence of at least one example following each rule (especially if we have to explain them to deaf signspellers at a distance).
Should you have the time to add an example (i.e., a signspelling) of each rule at the end of that rule, that would guarantee we would fully assimilate the rule and thus correctly edit each and every case in which it applies. We deal with deaf signspellers, and as you may know quite well given all your long experience, they thrive when examples are provided.
Thank you very much.

2011/1/28 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
January 27, 2011

Editing SignWriting Documents Around the World
SignSpelling Guidelines for 7 Common Spelling Issues

The 7 SignSpelling issues that I look for, when editing documents, are:

SignSpelling Guideline 1:
Write the Position of Contact, with as few SINGLE Touch Contact Stars as possible.

I ask myself these questions:

Are the contacting hands written close to each other, so they look as they do in real life as much as possible? Do we need that single Touch star? Can we understand the sign without it? If yes, I delete the single Touch Contact Star.

SignSpelling Guideline 2:
Every Sign Has a Center. The beginning hands usually create the center of the sign, and from there, the Movement Arrows and other symbols relate to that center.

I ask myself these questions:

Are the stem lines of the arrows positioned properly in one of 8 placements around the center of the sign? Are the arrows then pulling the center in one of 8 directions properly? If there is a finishing hand position, is it placed properly at the tip or end of the arrowhead?

SignSpelling Guideline 3:
The General Arrowhead Means An Overlapping Path. It does NOT mean two hands moving at the same time far apart from each other. It can mean "both hands moving while they contact each other"...but only if the movement for the two hands "overlap each other", or "write on top of each other". Contact is not required, since movement can overlap without contact.

I ask myself these questions:

Will the Right Arrowhead overlap or "write on top of" the Left Arrowhead? If yes, that takes a General Arrowhead. If no, then the sign needs both a Right and Left Arrow.

SignSpelling Guideline 4:
Finger Movement Symbols are used mostly for double or multiple finger movements, and usually written on the finishing handshape that is the result of the end of the finger movement.

I ask myself these questions:

Is this a single Finger Movement? If so, can I write it with a beginning and ending handshape and get rid of the Finger Movement symbol? This usually makes it clearer for the reader. If it is a double or multiple Finger Movement, are the Finger Movement Symbols over the ending hand position?

SignSpelling Guideline 5:
Surface Symbols are not needed in daily writing. Get rid of all Surface Symbols in your writing, and instead improve writing the Position of Contact the best you can.

I ask myself these questions:

Why did the writer feel the need for a Surface Symbol? They were most likely concerned that others could not read the position. Throw out the Surface Symbol, and move the hands in an improved Position of Contact. Readers will read the signs better without Surface Symbols. Sometimes it is a matter of using Palm Facing in a different way to improve understanding. Each sign has to be looked at individually.

SignSpelling Guideline 6:
Head Movement Arrows with double stem lines mean the direction of your nose. If the double stemmed Head Movement Arrow points to the side, it means the head (nose) turns and looks to the side, while the shoulders remain facing straight front. If the double stemmed arrows point up, it means the head and nose looks up. Arrows up and down, mean "nodding yes".

I ask myself these questions:

Does the writer understand these Head Movement Arrows? Can't hurt to discuss it just in case ;-)

SignSpelling Guideline 7:
Rotation Symbols and Wrist Flexes. Does the movement travel? Then do not use Rotation Symbols alone, because Rotation Symbols are for movement that stays in one place. Axial movement can be complicated and each sign needs to be looked at individually.

I ask myself these questions:

Is this movement staying in one place, or traveling? Is this movement revolving around an axis (the forearm)? Or is this movement like a seesaw, moving up or down from the wrist without a rotation?

In tomorrow's lesson in this thread, I will start posting signs that need editing.

I will show you how I apply the 7 SignSpelling Guidelines...

I will also create a web page documenting this process.

Thank you for editing with me!

Val ;-)


On Jan 27, 2011, at 8:03 AM, Valerie Sutton wrote:

SignWriting List
January 27, 2011

Dear SW List Members:

Today I am starting a new thread:

Editing SignWriting Documents Around the World
SignSpelling Guidelines for Seven Common Spelling Issues

The signs I will use for these lessons will be from published SignWriting documents with permission from the authors, who have requested feedback on their SignSpellings...

When signs are hard to read, there usually is a reason ;-)

There are literally thousands who use SignWriting around the world, and some of the documents need  editing, so I will teach while I edit, on the SignWriting List - but only from documents where I have permission from the authors...there is no need for me to mention the documents unless I have permission to do so, but the individual signs are what we will be discussing.

I have permission to mention the name of one of the projects I will be editing...It is from Arizona, in ASL, by Natasha Escalada-Westland. I will explain Natasha's project in a future message. Natasha requested feedback on her writing...

When I post a sign, and discuss the SignSpelling, I will also post the question and answer in the SignWriting eLessons section on the web:

SignWriting eLessons

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
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