SignWriting List
September 21, 2013

Hello Stefan, Jonathan, Adam and everyone…
So many messages, there are times I get confused as to how to answer so many different areas of interest…because they really are different issues being discussed in the same thread…so I will separate out the issues into two threads…

1. Software Searching for Heel of Hand & Top View 
2. Writing Heel of Hand or Top View?

So I will use those Subjects above from now on

SignPuddle has searching features, and so does Jonathan's new software, SignWriter Studio, and some of the searching techniques in SignWriter Studio are different kinds of searches, so both programs are providing us gifts for researching symbols usage. Therefore I need to make sure that Jonathan really understands how we are using these unusual symbols.

So when I show Jonathan how we are using the Heel of Hand symbols to write ASL, I am not saying that anyone else needs to use these symbols - The International SignWriting Alphabet (the ISWA 2010) is large, and is really equivalent to the International Phonetic Alphabet (the IPA) for spoken languages. Since most people who write spoken languages do not know the symbols of the IPA at all, but instead use a simpler set of alphabetic characters to write their daily languages, I assume that writers in different sign languages will want to write simply too. I am glad to know, Stefan, that you are able to write as you choose, using the ISWA 2010, and if you do not choose to use the Heel of Hand, that is fine!

And it seems in your case, you are managing and using the ISWA 2010 well to do your work, and your Delegs software is using SignPuddle as a basis for the dictionary, so clearly you are managing with the current symbol set and I am glad to know that!

Yes, of course SignWriting has changed since my textbook in 1999! And you should have seen the way if looked in 1981, long before that … We used full stick figures and we wrote in the Receptive mode. When I taught SignWriting in Denmark in 1982, we did not have any of the palm facing that we use today - there was no black and white, showing back of the hand and the palm. There was no Top View. SignWriting was not born "fully grown". It took decades of learning what worked for people, and what didn't last.

I love the palm facing we have today with the Front View and Top View - I love the dark and light for the back of the hand and the palm of the hand - I wish I had established that back in the beginning because I had considered it way back then, but it took me time to jump into the palm facing system we have today - but thank goodness we did …  And it is working beautifully. But there was just one area - a few cases - where we were having problems writing certain positions, and I remembered an old symbol that we had used in the early 1980's, and I brought it back, and called it the "Heel of Hand" and it is solving some of those unusual signs where the Front View and the Top View are not quite right for certain signs - Adam was just telling me the other day how the Heel of Hand really helped to write a sign that just didn't look right otherwise, and so we are glad to be able to choose from those symbols occasionally.

And Stefan, I remember you did such great illustrations for the "in-Between Palm Facings" - remember those? For whatever reasons, those In-Between Palm Facings for the Flat Hand never worked for us - they are hard to read for some reason, but the Heel of Hand is working for us - I am not even sure why myself -

So, I will answer Jonathan now, and we can talk more about writing later - this is a busy week ahead -

Val ;-)


On Sep 21, 2013, at 1:10 AM, Stefan Wöhrmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Valerie, Adam, Jonathan...
For some reason it is fun to discuss this kind of “point of view”  I know that the masters of the software are in the position to “define” the “look” of a symbol and compared to handwriting it would cause major trouble to change anything... I know that ... and I can live and work with the symbol set as it is – smile – (I do not have to use the symbols I feel not comfortable with – and that is the way I write my documents.)   On the other hand ... compared to the look of the symbols  in the “Lessons in SignWring  Textbook and Workbook – second Edition 1999 – there has been a change in the presentation of some symbols. I bet that some of these changes could be discussed ...   But since the software – programmers all over the world work with the given symbol set we would get in trouble if anyone ...well ..ok,,,,  Hi Valerie I understand your point of view that things (symbols) are now as they  are... smile.
Nevertheless – would be interesting – apart from that to have a second look at what is taken for granted ...
The inventor of a symbol might be so focused on his/her   option that other ideas, opinions, point of views might only confuse or cause trouble?
You know my enthusiasm for SW and it is not on my mind to bother anybody with comments ...but it is fun to look at spellings and writing styles in a very precice manner ;-))
So Adam:
I looked at your list of the 5 hand's heel view palm facings that relate to the 5 hand symbol. – and compared the “heel view – symbols”  to the “Top view – symbols” wich are used by me all the time ;-)
Your number 4 counting from left makes me hesitate ...same with the last one ...
Even though I understand your idea behind this I would prefer to “see” the thumb  sticking out at a place that shows without too much guessing which hand (right or left) is  chosen.
In this case I read the two lines  as this:
right  right right right left left left left
right  right right left left left left right
[log in to unmask]">
I have to leave but will return to our discussion as soon as I will be back.
Have a great weekend.

Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages [mailto:SW-[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Adam Frost
Gesendet: Samstag, 21. September 2013 00:21
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Re: AW: Heel of Hand or Top View
Below is a list of the 5 hand's heel view palm facings that relate to the 5 hand symbol.


There are only 7 heel of hands in the current ISWA 2010. Here they are with their respected hand symbols.


I didn't go through all of the palm facings as it is the same as the list at the top. It should be noted that there are possibilities that people will write the between rotations of the heel of hand as either facings they are between, since you are looking to make searching for writings of the same sign with different symbols. ;-)


PS Val and I were talking about saying that there is the front view, the top view, and then a heel view because it isn't really only the top view or the front view but a view of its own that has a feel of both views in how they are written.