SignWriting List
February 16, 2012

Hi Charles -
Thank you for this message. Yes, of course constructing symbols is not a perfect solution, as you mention in your message. I agree with you. I like the idea of freezing a constructed symbol, so it can be rotated and remembered and later classified in some way so it can be found and used again. I should think that could be programmed within software. And that would provide information for adding new symbols to any new symbol set in the future… shall we say the ISWA 2020? (big smile ;-)

Thanks for the good comment, Charles!

Val ;-)


On Feb 16, 2012, at 6:19 AM, Charles Butler wrote:

Valerie, et al,
The only problem I have with "constructing" symbols is that it defeats the purpose of actually having an ordered system. If one is hunting for a particular sign, such as a newly constructed Ethiopian handshape that is built off, say, an R, in group 2, how can that be ordered using a dictionary program. It will fall out of the dictionary because it has no separate grouping. One cannot isolate those signs that use it, and it alone, they will come up as R variants.
Ditto, this construction of pauses out of lines that are normally used for arms. If they are arms, they aren't pauses, they are arms, and if you look for an arm at an angle, these will come up. Either they are arms, and ordered in the system lookup as arms, not pieces that fall apart into a long line, which may or may not be an upper arm, or a short length, which may or may not be the lower arm, or a given finger in all of its bendings, which could be any of the four fingers, and I suppose, the thumb.
What I truly think, in the long term, is the possibility of constructing a handshape and freezing it as a group so that it can be rotated as a whole, with a naming convention of where it fits in the ISWA, IMWA or whatever the current name is. I know how long it takes you, Valerie, and others to construct a handshape with its 96 rotations, so at some point, there must be a mathematical solution that can relieve one of that labor intensive work.
Charles Butler
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Clear writing moves business forward.
From: Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 12:15 PM
Subject: Re: Symbols quotation marks and long pause

SignWriting List
February 15, 2012

I posted this message to the List, but I am not sure it made it to the List - Please excuse if this is a double posting - 

Keep asking questions!

Val ;-)


On Feb 15, 2012, at 8:39 AM, Valerie Sutton wrote:

SignWriting List
February 15, 2012

Hello Madson and everyone -

Thank you for posting this question to the SignWriting List, Madson...

The quotation marks are used sometimes. It depends on the writer, and the style of your document. For example, the quotation marks are easier to read when writing signs horizontally. They are symbols that were designed for horizontal SignWriting and were used years ago in the SignWriter DOS program.

Quoting what another person signs, inside a document, can be written without the Quotation Marks…some writers write the actual sign for "quote" at the beginning of the quoted phrase, and then place a Pause symbol (Comma) at the end of the quoted phrase - If you are writing the way one signs a quoted phrase, that would be the most accurate way to write a quote. In that case, the Quotation Marks are not necessary.

So to answer your question…yes…the Quotation Marks can be used, but are rarely used. That is why I took them out of the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010, but, you can construct them if you want to use them, by finding some diagonal lines in the ISWA and building them yourself…They are still good symbols that can be used.

The Long Pause can also be constructed and can be as long as you want to make it. Make the space between the two lines larger or smaller depending on the length of the pause. The Long Pause is usually used when writing sign language theatre or sign language songs, when pausing can be different lengths related to the timing in music.

Meanwhile, the standard Comma or Pause symbol in SignWriting, with a small amount of space between the two lines, which is pre-constructed for you, is the symbol most people use for writing sentences…

Attached is a screen capture of building a Long Pause in SignPuddle Online, using SignMaker …see attached…

Val ;-)


On Feb 15, 2012, at 1:35 AM, Madson Barreto wrote:


In older textbooks written signs found two symbols that are not in SignPuddle:

- quotation marks
- Long pause

They have not yet used in SignWriting?


Madson Barreto


Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
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