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SignWriting List
December 12, 2013

Thank you, Steve, Stefan, Charles and Rachel, for your input - After reading these comments, it sounds like to me it is best not to include this feature of “morphology” in SignPuddle 3, when there may not be an equivalent in the sign language world that matches such a term and it will only confuse all of us - it actually could be a negative for the software.

I personally vote not to include it in SignPuddle 3 - it would be better for all of us because it is stressful to have to fit sign language grammars to match spoken language grammars when they don’t match….like trying to squeeze a square into a round hole - 

There are so many other features in SignPuddle 3 that we need so badly…thank you for giving us those, Steve -

That is my vote - leave morphology out -

Val ;-)




On Dec 12, 2013, at 3:38 AM, Stefan Wöhrmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi Valerie, Steve...
>  
> Well I haven´t got the time, the knowledge, the energy to work with more options as I do right now. I am happy that “find by word” with different options ...and find by symbol is possible,
> For my work at school there is nothing more needed – as far as I can see now...
>  
> All best
>  
> Stefan
>  
>  
> Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Charles Butler
> Gesendet: Mittwoch, 11. Dezember 2013 23:53
> An: [log in to unmask]
> Betreff: Re: Design for SignPuddle 3: parts-of-speech and morphology of sign language
>  
> My only comment is that I hope all dictionary entries don't require a linguist to actually put them in or to find them. I have been excited about SignWriting because it has allowed me to write what I actually sign, not describe it in a spoken language for a third party. 
>  
> That will become an impossible burden to lexicographers. Creating a search engine that can handle a bunch of parameters is fine, but who is going to go through every single sign and assign them all possible entries? The burden becomes impossible, and is no longer useful to an actual user of SignWriting as a writing system, not a linguistic tool. 
>  
> Charles Butler
> [log in to unmask]
> 240-764-5748
> Clear writing moves business forward.
>  
> From: Rachel Channon <[log in to unmask]>
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 5:13 PM
> Subject: Re: Design for SignPuddle 3: parts-of-speech and morphology of sign language
>  
> 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? 
> Examples:
> 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.
> Rachel
>  
>  
>  
> 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 globe.
> 
> https://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Incubator:Test_wikis_of_sign_languages
> 
> 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, ... ?
> 
> Thanks,
> -Steve 
> 
> PS - Here is part of the working diagram for the database.  I haven't added anything for morphology yet. 
> 
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