Hello Maria
- SW in Italian Sign Language (LIS)
- Vertical (at first, we tried horizontal writing, but deaf users decide that vertical is better to mantain deictic and anaphoric links between signs; now we only use vertical)
If I remember well, also SW in French Sign Language (LSF) is vertical
(PS: in Toulouse - France - a group of deaf person are developping thein own way to write LSF... even if they have never worked with SW, they decide to write down their system verticaly... on my point of view, this is quite interesting :-) )

2012/6/2 Adam Frost <[log in to unmask]>
I think there are two reasons why you will find documents that are written horizontally. The first is that before SignPuddle, there was no way to write vertically. This is the case with the Brazil document that you were referring to which was written with an older program, SignWriter DOS. The second reason is the one that Steve talked about in the interview with Gerard on his blog. Here is the part where he mentions this:

In the latest SignPuddle, you can write from right to left. What is the advantage of this?

Horizontal SignWriting is primarily for writing translations between spoken and signed languages.

When SignWriting is used in schools, in bilingual education, writing horizontally is useful for translating spoken language texts into written sign languages, helping the Deaf student learn both languages. Since western spoken languages are written from left to right, placing the SignWriting text above the written spoken language sentences is a tool for bilingual reading and comparison. Although some grammar details are lost in Horizontal Writing, it offers other benefits as a bridge between languages.

Now with SignPuddle 2, writers can choose vertical and horizontal writing depending on their needs.

So basically the second reason is that people wanted to have written signs with spoken words to show both languages. Having said that, I think in most cases people prefer to write vertically when writing only in the various sign languages because it is best in showing the full grammatical usage that are used with sign languages. I hope that helped. ;-)


On Jun 1, 2012, at 4:20 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:

Thank you Adam, Kim and Val!
I'm asking mainly because it is unclear to me who uses vertical and
horizontal. I can see that in Brazil they use horizontal ? Or maybe the
bible excerpts are old?


also Spanish sign language - there are stories in vertical writing here.


thanks everyone...look forward to more answers..
SignWriting List
June 1, 2012

Hello Maria and everyone -
Perhaps you would be interested in reading Steve Slevinski's interview,
which mentions the different reasons for writing vertically and
horizontally. I can post excerpts about the differences in a later

Towards a Wikipedia for signed languages

Meanwhile, here is my survey:

1. American Sign Language (the best I can anyway) (or any other sign
language transcribed from video)
2. vertical

Thank you for this survey, Maria!

Val ;-)


On Jun 1, 2012, at 1:01 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:

Dear friends all over the globe,
Would really appreciate if you could reply to these two questions -

1. your sign language?

2. preference vertical or horizontal writing?

Just to lead the way, my ans would be
1. maltese sign language (LSM)
2. vertical



Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
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