I use both methods. If I'm transcribing someone, I prefer to write what I see. It was how I was taught. That way I mark exactly what the other person is doing, how I see it, with the right hand on the left side, and the left hand on the right side.
If one is showing a video, I would prefer to have the SignWriting if it is next to it be receptive as well, then one can lay down the SignWriting directly on the photograph and it matches, it is not mirror-image reversed front to back.
This reads right to left for a right hand signer when one is writing it. One's right hand is to the left.
When I am watching a video, I have to write it that way first and then translate it sign-for-sign. I learned ASL in the 1970s and SignWriting in the 1980s.
I understand the desire for writing what one is doing oneself, but when I see a video, it is next to impossible for me to reverse everything to write it down the first time.
Hi everyone! I'm going to be giving a paper at our annual
anthropology meetings this fall on a panel about how to best represent
visual aspects of linguistic phenomena.
I want to talk about
the shift from receptive to productive writing in SW. I'm going to
suggest that there are interesting theoretical and methodological
lessons in this shift for scholars who want to transcribe visual aspects
of communication, even if they aren't using SW per se (though I also
want to make more scholars in my field aware of how useful SW can be for
To that end, I was wondering if list members might be willing to
talk with me about their feelings about productive writing with SW. Did
you initially write receptively? If so, how did you shift? (or do you
still write receptively sometimes?). How do you feel that writing
productively affects the way you choose to write (or how you read other
I'd love to hear answers to these questions and anything else you
think is relevant about this aspect of SW, particularly as it relates to
your own ways of using the writing system (for teaching, for research,
for translation, for poetry, etc).
The conference isn't until November, but I wanted to get started on it now, before the semester kicks in!
Assistant Professor of Anthropology