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SignWriting List
March 1, 2011

HOW TO CONSTRUCT NEW HAND SYMBOLS
In The International SignWriting Alphabet (ISWA)
by Valerie Sutton, March 1st, 2011


Part 2: AN EXAMPLE OF CONSTRUCTING A HAND SYMBOL

Let us imagine we wish to write this handshape. It is part of a sign describing a hoop or circle and is a 
very slightly bent L shape, or a wide wide curve for only the Index and Thumb, with the other fingers in a fist:





What to do?

1. Go to SignPuddle Online:

SignPuddle Online:
http://www.signbank.org/signpuddle/

and open a file, such as the ASL Dictionary puddle:

ASL Dictionary puddle
http://www.signbank.org/SignPuddle1.5/index.php?ui=1&sgn=4



2. Open SignMaker, by clicking on the SignMaker icon on the left of the screen:





3. In SignMaker, search first to see if the symbol already exists. Since the Action Fingers are Index and Thumb, you know to search in Hand Group 9:







4. In Group 9, there are three hand symbols that are similar, but none of them are quite what you need:






Now you know you need to construct the hand symbol. How do you do that?


5. First, what is the Rootshape? It is a Fist, because the lowest finger in the Rootshape is touching the palm of the hand.

So first, you must place the Rootshape of the new hand symbol in SignMaker, so you can construct the hand symbol.

Where is the Fist symbol? It is located in Group 10. Click on Group 10:





6. Drag the Fist symbol over to the SignBox in SignMaker:








7. Now, the next job is to click on the Limbs Group…It is near the Shoulders and has two arms crossed:






8. Next, click on the Finger Pieces, used for constructing hand symbols:




9. Drag the symbol pieces you need to the Fist symbol in the SignBox: