SignWriting List
November 21, 2011

Hello Madsen!
Thank you for this email. Your English is very good and we can understand you. Thank you for writing in English, but if it is easier for you to write in Portuguese, you can, because we too can translate it in Google!

Actually there are specifics on SignWriting in Brazil, as we have already written about in other emails. If you have studied at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina  then I would assume that you have my textbook translated from English/ASL to Portuguese/LIBRAS by Marianne Stumpf. Go to:

SignWriting in Brazil

and download the textbook. It is number 5 on that web page, and also, I am sure you know the work of Fernando Capovilla and the big Novo Deit LIBRAS dictionary published at the University of Sao Paulo?  and the work done by Dr. Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa in Porto Alegre?

It will be wonderful if you continue to spread SignWriting in Brazil. Thank you for your work.

We never used to differentiate between the thumb close to the fist, and the thumb slightly at an angle from the fist, but now in the ISWA 2010 we have both choices. I think that is mostly what has been bothering you and why you asked the questions you did. If you prefer to have the thumb line close to the square for the fist that is fine with me. You are welcome to choose which symbols feel best to you. But I am not an expert on LIBRAS - I only developed the symbols and encouraged them to be placed in software…but I am not a linguist and do not know LIBRAS, so it is important to ask others who know LIBRAS what they think. And most likely you will get many opinions and it may be hard to decide too.

Most writing systems do not have so many choices. So we all have the hard jobs of making decisions as to what choices are best for each language and I have to leave that decision to you and others who know LIBRAS. These hand symbols, with the thumb tight or a little at an angle, may not have a different meaning in LIBRAS. If it is only a matter of style…perhaps some people have thumbs that will not close so tightly, or perhaps your printer has lumpy ink and when you print the hand symbols with the tight lines they blend together with the square for the fist and you cannot see the thumb line any more - these funny little things can influence the way people write and spell -

Here are some of the symbols you are asking about  - choose what you feel is best - they are very close and perhaps either choice will mean the same thing? Maybe it doesn't matter which ones people choose?


On Nov 16, 2011, at 2:58 PM, Madson Barreto wrote:

Hello everyone and Valerie,

Yes, I aging an email in August. At the time you asked me to forward it to the SW list, but it took me to do it because I was researching more handshapes, etc..

Thanks everyone for answers and assistance.

This week I'm short on time (I seem to be running), I will try to resend the email to theweekend.

Valerie, this second email you sent me (referring to the email in August), I realized that my question was more clear about fingerspelling [A], [Y], etc.. I'm still not fluent in English andturned to Google, friends, and I already know English. I think both of the look SignWriting, I am improving my English, Spanish, French, German, Norwegian ... laughs / smiles. Here in Brazil there are still no specifics on the materials as SignWriting. Maybe the email I sentwas a little confused. I recognize that the fingerspelling look arround world is complicated.In a few months found many hand configurations that are not yet cataloged in Libras, butthat people use. My purpose is to contribute to the expansion of SignWriting in Brazil.

Now that you said about the beginning of SignWriting and SignWriter, it became clearer tome over the fingerspelling.

I'll stay here. In brief the resend emails.

Madson Barreto 

De: Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
Para: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: Madson Barreto <[log in to unmask]>
Enviadas: Quarta-feira, 16 de Novembro de 2011 16:44
Assunto: Re: News handshapes in Brazilian Sign Language (LSB/Libras)

SignWriting List
November 16, 2011

Hello Madson and everyone -
I just found an old email message from you, dated back on August 18, 2011. And your questions were very similar to the ones below. Thank you for that message as well.

The older message in August was clear and I can study it better. For some reason, when you posted here to the List, the photos and symbols attached in an unorganized way and I had trouble figuring out which photo goes with which symbol…so now I will study your work better looking at the old message and answer more...

Regarding the fact that there are two different thumbs on the side of an A hand (a fist) - one thumb is more at an angle and the other thumb is closer to the fist - either one is fine with me - those two variations were put in the ISWA because some people needed the difference, but no one is required to use one or the other - it is the writer's choice.

Back in the old days (smile) in the 1980's and 1990's, we did not have as many choices. The SignWriter DOS program, for example, has under 90 hand symbols, and there was not a choice between two different thumb angles. One of the reasons you may see one symbol for fingerspelling, is perhaps because the old SignWriter DOS program has a fingerspelling keyboard for Brazil, which I put together at the direction of two Brazilian Sign Language users - and we may have chosen a particular symbol because there was nothing else to choose from - and over time people got used to that symbol, even though now there are more choices in the ISWA.

So if you write again, Madson, I would include just one photo and one symbol at a time, in one email - that will be easier for all of us to understand the questions...

And congratulations on your accomplishments - thanks for writing and informing us about your project -

Val ;-)


On Nov 12, 2011, at 9:50 AM, Madson Barreto wrote:

Dear Valerie Sutton and all members of list,
My name is Madson Barreto, I am translator-interpreter of Brazilian Sign Language (LSB/Libras) teen years ago. My wife is deaf, teacher of LSB. I’m student of the course “Letras Libras”, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina. This course explore the Brazilian Sign Language, linguistic and focus on translation and interpretation of LSB for Brazilian Portuguese language. We know the SignWriting two years ago and since then we have researched this wonderful system of writing.
The last year, I created a Group for the Study of SignWriting here in state of Minas Gerais at my university. This group investigates the SignWriting. Our desire is that SignWriting is known for the deaf community because the system records with precise the Sign Languages.Congratulations to you and all researchs for the excellent work and research conducted on behalf of deaf communities around the world.
Please look these pictures of handshapes. Note that for each one these we have a suggestion of writing in others handshapes.
- The picture “1” is the union of 01-01-007 (ISWA code) and 01-06-019;
- The picture “2” rememb me 01-08-018;
- The picture “4” is the union of handshapes 01-01-003 and 01-05-008. It seems with 01-01-003.
- The picture “5” is the union of 01-06-013 [ I ] and 01-10-004 [A]. The handshape “5” is very alike to the 01-06-021 [Y]. Here in Brazil usually use it but it is very seems with 01-06-021 [Y]. I see that many people use it in dactylology (spelling) 01-10-004 for [A] and 01-09-019 for [G]. The handshape 01-06-021 is a different picture of “5”.
We intent include the handshape 1,2,3,4 and 5 them in ISWA and disclose this here in Brazil for use of the 01-09-019 and 01-10-004, stop using 01-09-018 and 01-10-003 because they cause confusion in the writing of handshape “5”.
Eagerly await your reply,
Madson and Raquel Barreto

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Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
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