That diagram is interesting.  hmm.  A complete list of morphological
characteristics might be hard - I don't think it is as settled as
parts of speech.
In my mind, morphology really translates to: some named characteristic
of a group of signs or a group of morphemes.  Practically speaking, in
most sign languages, a sign is almost the same thing as a morpheme -
that is in most sign languages most simple signs are one morpheme.
(This is quite different from spoken languages where many word are
made up of two or more morphemes as in disinterested which has at
least 3 morphemes: dis + interest + ed.)   However, this isn't always
true.  For example, ASL has a negative incorporation element of the
hand twisting/rotating (as in DON'T-KNOW, DON'T-WANT) that is at the
morpheme level.   Compounds are usually two morphemes. Furthermore,
under some theories, classifiers can be considered to be bundles of
many morphemes - the handshape is one or more morpheme, the location
another set, the action another set, orientation.etc etc.  
So there are really at least four elements of this information:  1)
How many morphemes are there in a sign (usually 1, sometimes 2,
sometimes  many, other choices less common). 2) are the morphemes
simultaneous or sequential and 3) for each morpheme, what is its
morpheme group, if any? and 4) is the sign as a whole in some
morphological group?  
DON'T-WANT: 2 simultaneous morphemes:  WANT + Negative incorporation
WOMAN: 2 sequential morphemes: GIRL + FINE.  The sign is a compound
J-B (job): 2 sequential morphemes: J + B.  Each element is
fingerspelling; the entire sign is a fingerspelled loan sign.
MOTHER: 1 morpheme
BAKE-ER: 2 sequential morphemes BAKE + ER (person affix).  Some people
might classify this as a compound, some might call it an affixed form
Given this complexity, it might make sense to set up 
1) a simple set of choices that allow multiple choices, so that I
could select for example classifier AND compound. An initial list:
Classifier, compound, fingerspelling - one handed, fingerspelling -
two handed, fingerspelled loan sign, character sign, assimilated
compound, compound, negative incorporation, clitic, affix, initialized
sign, phrase, inflected verb, uninflected verb, locational verb,
noun-verb pair, repeating or non-repeating signs, numbers, gestural,
pantomimic, iconic. Classifiers are subdivided in many ways by
different linguists, so some linguists might want to add to the list
of classifiers - for example, classifiers for handling objects vs.
motion vs. drawing-in-the-air and so on.
2) a second set of choices specifying number of morphemes that
defaults to 1 and allows numeric write-ins plus the choices
innumerable, uncertain, and many, 
3) a fixed choice set for either simultaneous or sequential, 
and 4) a free form area for additional information.
I hope that I haven't forgotten something utterly obvious.
From: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Stephen E
Slevinski Jr
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 11:33 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Design for SignPuddle 3: parts-of-speech and morphology of
sign language
Hi SignWriting List,

This has been a great year, but I'm woeful behind on several project.
I appreciate all of the positive work people have been able to do with
SignPuddle.  The long awaited work on SignPuddle 3 continues. Next
year will be a break out year for written sign language across the


I'm finalizing the database for SignPuddle 3.  I'm very impressed with
MySQL Workbench and the diagramming tool in particular. (image below)

Database design
For individual entries, I have designed the parts-of-speech solution,
but not the morphology solution yet.

For parts-of-speech, there is a small list of values for the most
common choices.  noun, verb, adjective, adverb, sentence, other.  This
list can be translated into other languages.

Additionally, each entry has a separate parts-of-speech text field,
which can be used for a more accurate description or a value outside
of the common list.

I was considering a similar strategy for morphology.  First, a new
table with a static list of the most common and universal choices.
Second, a freeform text field for each entry for alternate
descriptions and complex analysis.

Researching morphology, it appears there are several kinds of
analysis, each with its own classifications and descriptions.  Is a
single list too simplistic to be helpful?  I'd appreciate any
discussion of the topic.

Morphology list: monosyllable, compound, ... ?


PS - Here is part of the working diagram for the database.  I haven't
added anything for morphology yet. 

Valerie Sutton SignWriting List moderator [log in to unmask]
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