SignWriting List
January 13, 2018

Hi Rachel -
Glad you got my last post, and yes, thank you, Charles, for writing the sign for EGG ;-)

Let me make this clear (big grin ;-) - We pondered this issue for YEARS!

For years I went to bed at night worrying about the details of palm facing, until it was hurting everyone's health!

And we discussed the in-between palm facings for years on the SignWriting List ...

And we DO already have the symbols - so SignWriting has already used these symbols for video transcription for years, when we used to work without computers. Writing SignWriting is wonderful by hand. You have the freedom to move the Horizon Line up and down on the palms in tiny increments. The problem is that computers need finite symbolsets, and SignWriting is remarkable when hand-written because it has infinite numbers of in-between possibilities.

So when Steve told me we needed to finalize the symbolset for the ISWA 2008 and then later the ISWA 2010, it was agonizing for me, because there were SO many symbols that were not included in the ISWA.

But it was worth it to finalize symbolsets, because that has given us TrueType Fonts and FSW and Unicode and SignPuddle and other important software - and that spreads SignWriting on computers and handheld devices...

And sometimes there are other frustrations - for example, if I had organized some symbols better and so forth - but we are where we are with a world standard that is doing remarkably well, and technically you can construct any symbol that is missing, using SignPuddle or SignWriter Studio software...

So do you want to know how to write the in-between palm facings? I can produce an instruction page for constructing them if you wish -

Does anyone else want to know? If so, give me a day - I will produce the document -

Val ;-)


On Jan 13, 2018, at 10:09 AM, <[log in to unmask]> <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Valerie, yes you understood my question exactly, and our posts crossed 😊.  If the symbols are not in the ISWA then I don’t think constructed symbols would help me in our current project, because constructed symbols are generally not easy to translate.
Every writing and transcription system has its limits, and I completely understand why you decided not to use these diagonal orientations because in ordinary writing they are not required.
But I believe signwriting does have another  future as a transcription system for signs.  And for transcription, it may be worth pondering this issue of three way diagonals.  The reason is that in many cases, the easiest hand position is a diagonal position, and if we want to look at how signers naturally place their arms, I think we will hit these three way diagonals often.
For now, I will probably just add comments to signs that show this diagonal position. 
Thank you for answering me so quickly!  And thank you to Charles also!
From: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Valerie Sutton
Sent: Saturday, January 13, 2018 12:34 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Question on hand orientation
SignWriting List
January 13, 2018
Good Saturday, Rachel!
And thank you for this question, and for the beautiful SignTyp Database at UCONN.
I believe your question is: Can we write the detailed palm facing of fingers projected forward-down-diagonal? In other words, you do not want to write the fingers projecting straight forward, and you do not want to write the fingers projecting straight down. You want an "in-between" palm facing at a "forward-down-diagonal"? Is this correct?
SignWriting for Everyday Use does not write those in-between palm facings. We choose either fingers pointing forward or fingers pointing down, and by a knowledge of the language, or possibly other information in the written sign (for example arrows that show a down-diagonal already), the reader knows enough to understand the writing...
For video transcription and for detailed research use, we do have some in-between symbols, but I caution you that no one uses them, and frankly most people will not be able to read them. I have trouble reading them, and I invented them - that is funny, isn't it? It is because we never use them... And they are not in the ISWA 2010 - that is the smbolset we are all using right now. They have to be constructed. I can construct them for you if you really feel you need them, but I wonder if you do? You already have the down-diagonal movement arrows which precludes the palm facing information and is a marker in a way...
The "in-between" palm facings are conceptually similar to the down-diagonal arrows. They involve hand positions that have an "horizon-line", but the "horizon line is lower or higher than usual, so just like the corresponding down-diagonal arrows, the horizon line moves up or down the palm facing to adjust to hitting the horizon in a different place...which then creates an in-between angle for the palm facing.
I will construct some for you and post again -
Blessings everyone -
Val ;-)

On Jan 12, 2018, at 5:23 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
Hi everyone,  I have a sign in our SignTyp project that shows the hands tilted down, backs up with fingers lower than the heel of the palm.  Here is the screengrab from the video:
How would you write this orientation to show that the fingers are lower than the wrist?  For this sign EGG, it means that the uncooked eggs are spreading out, falling down and kind of splattering all over.  If the hands were straight out, I don’t think it would have the same meaning, so I want to have the orientation show that if possible.
Thank you!



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