Hi Charles, Valerie, Adam and friends, 


well – this has been a     v e r y   intense discussion in the past.  From
time to time it became an emotional discussion. 


Now looking at your wonderful book about hand shapes and their matching
symbols, I felt pretty much disappointed and confused to find some symbols
with this kind of interpretation, violating my intuitive understanding of
the “thumb-rule”

I do not agree with your idea of how the hand looks like.  I do not follow
your point of view.

Why ? Well  Charles explained the point of view I understand best. And if
you would look at the good old “Lessons in SignWriting” second edition page
36 you will understand – that at least some of us “old scribes”  prefer the
thumb to be seen where it belongs ... right thumb right side of the symbol. 


The whole confusion is connected to the fact that originally there have been
more but three basic orientations. I discussed it several times and have had
a hard time to explain my doubts and ideas about different interpretations. 


This discussion came up several times in the past. It is a pity that people
feel frustrated to accept  the use of symbols if it does not go along with
their understanding.  But I can understand the feeling of irritation.
Personally I follow Valeries advice to write my documents the way I think it
feels best to my understanding. And of course – I do no teach these symbols
in question the way they are shown in this list because my brain refuses to
accept the logic you try to explain.  I simply do not see, what you would
like me to see. I can’t – no matter how intense I try.


I agree that sometimes the fingers or the thumb on the right side touching
the nose or the ear  are somehow funny – but at least this kind of
representation does not hurt the general concept: write what you see. 


Personally I would not write the sign for clown with this “left hand” –
smile  (I understand that you – Adam and Valerie  can see this hand as a
“right hand” – but I cannot. 


Same problem with some other symbols for hand shapes  ;-(   and this
“direction of fingers is important”- idea – I do not agree with that either.



When I started to “learn” the meaning of SW-symbols 11 years ago, I followed
the Parkhurst interpretation. It made absolute sense to me and everything
seemed to be consistent. 


So now we can restart to understand that there are at least two different
“schools” to use some symbols differently. It might be worth to just have a
table showing a given symbol from the two points of view – this would not
blame anybody but give a chance to accept what is going on – We do not
follow the same way of thinking. 






Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Adam Frost
Gesendet: Montag, 12. September 2011 18:30
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Re: NEW: Clown correction


I'm assuming the sign you are referring to is:



While I personally don't do it with this down movement, we aren't talking
about that at the moment. ;-)


Technically speaking, the hand symbol is the correct one for what the symbol
was intended to mean. If you look at the book that Val and I just wrote, the
image of my hand and the symbol match.



 I know that the thumb seems to be on the wrong side; so do the fingers.
There is a reason for that. This isn't official because I need to test it,
but from personal observation I have found that when a handshape has the
thumb interacting with the other fingers (ie as if it can hold a physical
object), the symbol construction points the fingers to the center of the
body and is static and does not rotate like most of the other symbols. So
this hand symbol falls in that category. 


Now, my understanding is that there are some who say that these hand symbols
should rotate just like the other symbols. That means this writing of clown
should be:



The problem is that since the hand is on the left side of the face, many
readers feel that is for the left hand as opposed to the right hand. That is
the reason all those symbols were made static and not rotate like the rest.


I hope this helps clarify why the hand symbol used is actually not wrong.




On Sep 12, 2011, at 9:00 AM, Charles Butler wrote:

Please look at "CLOWN" on the ASL Sign Puddle.


The fingers point to the right and the hand is white, therefore it is the
left hand, yet the arrows indicate the right hand. if you turn it at a
slight angle then the thumb is clearly on the wrong side, pointing up the
axle on the left side of the square. This, to me, is the easiest test. 


If I were to see this sign in an ASL SW exam I would mark it wrong. This is
not a matter of "variant" this is simply wrong. 


If I cannot mark a test unambiguously then there is something wrong. The
hand is not "pinching the nose" from the side it is "facing the nose".


As I can't edit it, I can't fix it.


Charles Butler