SignWriting List
December 6, 2012

Hi Honza -
I notice your illustration is taken from animation? Can you use your animation to show a picture of each facial expression in SignWriting? I would love to use that animation program to create the still photo for each facial expression in SignWriting. How does one get access to that animation, and is it free to use?

We have tried photos in the past and they were never good enough because the human face differs so much. You see, a lot of writing of facial expressions comes from how it "feels" to the signer - not just how it looks to the observer - and so "dreamy eyebrows" is oftentimes used when a person is telling a story - they are imagining a fairy tale or whatever - like "once upon a time, long long ago" and their eyebrows get that "dreamy" look…but it is really a "dreamy feeling on the face" that the signer "feels"…

So we had some frustrations with showing facial expressions through photos, but meanwhile there are definite facial expressions used in storytelling and so forth, in sign languages, and they differ from language to language too…so these do need to be defined and illustrated no doubt - it has never been done yet though - people use the Facial Expression symbols differently around the world - I am delighted they are so useful and have really helped in writing the different sign languages, documented or not… and I am delighted that they have provided Stefan Woehrmann the foundation for his development of SpeechWriting too...

A good research project would be to illustrate and document the usage of the SignWriting Facial Expression symbols around the world - they are used frequently and are very important symbols -

Thank you for bringing this topic up...

Val ;-)


On Dec 5, 2012, at 3:01 AM, Honza wrote:

Hi Valerie and Stefan,

Stefan - I use your "Mundbilder" (but only for part of words). We are not sure if it is necessary or not to write whole words, so we write just few letters of each word.

Thank you Val, yes I know there are many explanations, but it is not exact.
Best are pictures. I found some in Cross-linguistic Guide, but there are only some - especially there are only 3-4 eyebrow patters.



Hi Valerie and friends,
In addition to that we discussed again and again my “Mundbilder” system – smile
You find it in my “Handbuch zur GebärdenSchrift”
It is helpful to describe/write down that part of information coming from the lips of a signer if it is not meant as “mouth gesture” but associated with given words in the spoken language of that country. ...
From: SignWriting List
Date: Monday, August 18, 2003 22:34:20
To: SW-L@...
Subject: Mouthings- question for Stefan
All best


SignWriting List
December 4, 2012

Find information on Facial Expression symbols in SignWriting….Go to the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010 Reference web page:

ISWA 2010 HTML Reference Guide

scroll down and click on:

Category 4: Head & Faces

scroll down and click on:

SymbolGroup 22: Head

SymbolGroup 23: Brow Eyes Eyegaze

SymbolGroup 24: Cheeks Ears Nose Breath

SymbolGroup 25: Mouth Lips

SymbolGroup 26: Tongue Teeth Chin Neck

Every symbol is listed with names in English beside each symbol.

These symbols are used in several software programs, including SignPuddle (  and SignWriter Studio (

Val ;-)


SignWriting List
December 4, 2012


There is also this directory on the web:

….and if you search with our Search Button on our web sites:

... you will find over 10 pages of Google Listings based on our web sites, about Facial Expressions:

Go to:
SEARCH SignWriting Sites


On Dec 4, 2012, at 10:12 AM, Valerie Sutton wrote:

SignWriting List
December 4, 2012

FACIAL EXPRESSIONS Descriptions on the Web:


That is pages 144-154 - ten web pages that describe Facial Expressions…

and…these web pages are really just a snapshot of the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook, that includes all these pages plus more descriptions, so please download the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook.

The Lessons in SignWriting Textbook can be downloaded on this web page:

It is number 2 on that page -

Val ;-)


On Nov 30, 2012, at 3:52 AM, Honza wrote:

Hello Val and all in the list from Brno,

this autumn I started to teach SignWriting at university, and I haven't found anywhere on the web, nor in Stefan's book photos of facial expressions.
Some expressions are not easy to imagine. There are some pictures in Cross-linguistic guide but mostly pictures of mouth pattern but not eyebrows.
Are there exact picture of meaning all symbols of eyebrows in SignWriting?

Thank you
Honza, CZ