SignWriting List
October 8, 2010

Hello Shane!
What a great report. You have had quite an eventful trip...

So you and Adam have met?...that is really cool ;-)

Adam and I have been writing a book together for several years now, that is partially finished and is posted (in part) on the web. Our new book "SignWriting Hand Symbols Manual" is number 3 on this web page:

SignWriting Lessons Online

And I don't believe Adam ever announced his attending Gallaudet on the List...I have been meaning to write a SignWriting Report summarizing the summer's work and never got to it...After graduating with a BA in Deaf Studies from California State University at Northridge (CSUN), Adam spent the summer with me doing the photos for all the hands in the ISWA 2010, plus creating the SVG and other formats for the symbols, and the animated GIFs too...and I wrote the book using Adam's photos of his own hands, and his enlargements of the symbols graphically are just beautiful (thank you, Adam ;-)

Although we didn't finish the whole book by the deadline, which was August 22nd when Adam flew to Washington DC to attend Gallaudet, the book will definitely get completed...we are both still working on it and hope to finish by the end of 2010.

I agree with you, Shane, that it would be great if courses on SignWriting could be presented at Gallaudet and they certainly have one of our finest Deaf teachers and writers there to present the courses or workshops when time permits.

So from my perspective, anything you can do to help is welcome...they might buy the idea...but of course speak to Adam about this first ....that is important ;-)

If there is any support materials or help needed from me, I am happy to assist, as you know...

More about the rest of your message soon - i really love your message....

Val ;-)


On Oct 8, 2010, at 5:28 AM, Shane K. Gilchrist wrote:

Hi everyone,

sorry for the silence here - im on the plane to London after my 3 weeks stay in the States. I have enjoyed myself very much there.

Want to talk about two things here:

1. Adam Frost at Gallaudet
To my surprise, I found myself sitting beside Adam Frost in one of the linguistics classes at Gallaudet - I didnt expect him to be there (I didnt know he was doing his MA at Gallaudet - maybe he did say something abt it on SW-L but I didnt follow SW-L until a few weeks ago :-( I have really enjoyed getting to know him and hes a cool guy - quite smart for sure :-)

I was wondering maybe Adam can set up an informal class after Xmas at Gally to teach signwriting and I could talk to Gaurav one of the assistant professors in the Linguistics department to see if they can set up a course module (creditable) next year to teach SW there - but they might not buy the idea.

2. TISLR Conference
As many of you know, TISLR is THE conference for sign linguists and researchers so it was natural that I had to be there - 400 were registered to attend but most did come - got to meet many big names and made new friends etc. There were a lot of SW supporters, especially the Belgians but unfortunately there were no talks on signwriting - it has to be addressed (no I didnt submit in time!) but hopefully that ll change at the next TISLR conference - it ll be in London - 2013 - maybe Adam and I can submit a paper together there :-)

I got to meet Charles Butler - it was really nice seeing him - I introduced him to a few SignWriters there.

More signwriters there:

Isabella Heyrecik (sp?)
Thierry Haesanne
Danny de Woordt
Mim Veer-something ;-)

some more but I forgot their name - either way, we can get a special session on signwriting at TISLR11 as it will be hosted by Bencie Woll who is a supporter of SignWriting :-)


On 3 October 2010 18:17:37 UTC+1, Erika Hoffmann <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Wow! I really regret that I was unable to get funding to attend TISLR
> this year - not only could I have me you and the SignWriting people
> you mentioned, but I just learned that a Deaf Nepali friend was there!
> Best,
> Erika
> On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 12:33 PM, Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
> wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> October 3, 2010
>> Hello Charles and everyone!
>> I am sooo glad you enjoyed the TISLR! And that you saw so many people -
>> terrific! And I am really impressed and happy with the poster presentation
>> on SignTyp and SignWriting that was presented at TISLR by you and Rachel
>> Channon from the University of Connecticut. Thank you to you both for your
>> hard work on that project.
>> Yes, typing fingerspelling in vertical columns would be a wonderful
>> feature in any computer program. The old SignWriter DOS program can only
>> type fingerspelling from left to right like English...
>> Regarding the older program....Anyone is welcome to use SignWriter DOS
>> right now...just use DOS BOX on either Mac or Windows, and SignWriter DOS
>> works on modern computers...You can download it for free on the internet.
>> Richard Gleaves and I worked hard on the development of SignWriter and
>> certainly loved the keyboarding we developed together, but there was never
>> any mouse action in SignWriter - there is literally NO capability to use a
>> mouse in any SignWriter program, whether it was SignWriter DOS, SignWriter
>> Java or the old SignWriter for the Apple //e and //c.
>> When we switch countries in SignWriter DOS, it is always done through the
>> keyboard...the entire thing is keyboarded, with NO mouse.
>> The reason I do not personally use SignWriter DOS any longer? Because
>> Lucinda O'Grady Batch and other Deaf people who are members of our Deaf
>> Action Committee (DAC) requested that we write down in vertical columns, and
>> that is what we have with SignPuddle software by Steve Slevinski, and with
>> other programs such as the new SignWriter Studio by Jonathan Duncan, that is
>> not ready yet but is coming...I know Steve would love to add keyboarding to
>> SignPuddle is just a big job to program that, and meanwhile
>> some people love using a mouse to drag and drop - not everyone loved
>> keyboarding, by the way...only some people do - I used to get complaints
>> from some people that they didn't want to learn to type and preferred a
>> mouse, back before SignPuddle was since people think and work
>> differently it would be nice to have BOTH options...
>> So what we really need is to combine the old with the new...we need the
>> keyboarding of SignWriter DOS and Java, with the vertical columns of
>> SignPuddle - and then we are set - ha!
>> Meanwhile, if you want to use SignWriter DOS or Java right now, I can help
>> you set it up on your computer so you can keyboard again if you
>> doesn't use the up-to-date symbols of course - that is another drawback,
>> darn it...
>> Welcome home, Charles - smile -
>> Val ;-)
>> ----------
>> On Oct 3, 2010, at 9:10 AM, Charles Butler wrote:
>>> TISLR was fantastic, I just wish I had not been so antsy and having to
>>> get back so early.
>>> Shane Gilchrist
>>> Ronice Quadros
>>> Lucinda Batch O-Grady
>>> Charles Butler
>>> Eyasu Tamene
>>> These were the people I recognized immediately by face from on line. It
>>> was so good to be among so many people that are using sign writing even in
>>> the face of opposition.  I met one professor (name gone) whose doctoral
>>> student is doing a project on keyboarding SignWriting, which I really
>>> believe would be a good thing.  I used the SignWriter program in Brazil.
>>> There were so many things that one could do on the old SignWriter program
>>> that are awkward to do at best.
>>> Fingerspelling is one, you can't simply TYPE and get fingerspelling, you
>>> have to look up each sign individually.  The old interface was better as you
>>> could learn to type a sign in at speed without thinking.  A mouse you have
>>> to look for everything all the time.
>>> We need to really look at all the developments that are happening in
>>> processing and find our way back in new computer languages to our old
>>> capabilities.
>>> Before, with a swipe of a mouse I could change from English to ASL (or
>>> other language) fingerspelling, substitute vocabulary in English sentence
>>> phrase by phrase and eventually end with an ASL sentence in proper
>>> grammatical order.
>>> Can't do that on the computer anymore, everything is mouse-mouse-mouse,
>>> and no interaction between two writing systems.  We do it in space, and on
>>> paper, we need to be able to do the same thing on computer.
>>> Charles
>>> From: Shane K. Gilchrist <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Sent: Mon, September 27, 2010 1:40:16 AM
>>> Subject: Re: SignWorkshop OASLTA
>>> Don't worry Charles
>>> I used to be one of the skeptics until Belgium's Kathleen & Sara
>>> discreetly introduced me to SW.
>>> The rest is history.
>>> Sent from my iPad
>>> On 26 Sep 2010, at 20:45, "Valerie Sutton" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>> > SignWriting List
>>> > September 26, 2010
>>> >
>>> > Hello Charles!
>>> >
>>> > First of all, a big hug from me, and a big THANK YOU for being so brave
>>> > to present at any conference - It takes courage to present in front of a
>>> > skeptical audience (if that was what they were...they may not have been)...
>>> >
>>> > I am sure you did an excellent job and please do not be hard on
>>> > yourself...
>>> >
>>> > All presentations help SignWriting, no matter what the reaction,
>>> > because people become interested later. Even if they express some doubts
>>> > right now, it is because it is the first time they have heard of it and we
>>> > all are skeptical about new ideas - but then later, they hear about it a
>>> > second time from someone else, and they remember the discussions with you
>>> > the first time they heard about it, and they decide to look into it because
>>> > now their interest has been stimulated a second time -
>>> >
>>> > So you have really helped SignWriting no matter what -
>>> >
>>> > Thank you for telling us about the presentation so quickly after it
>>> > happened -
>>> >
>>> > And Kelly Jo was there? Wow - that is so great!
>>> >
>>> > So is there more time at the conference now? It will give you a chance
>>> > to talk to some of the people with questions - don't worry, Charles, this
>>> > was a real blessing -
>>> >
>>> > Val ;-)
>>> >
>>> > -----
>>> >
>>> >
>>> > On Sep 26, 2010, at 5:33 PM, Charles Butler wrote:
>>> >
>>> >> Well, I presented the workshop but I felt that I fell on my face for
>>> >> the following reasons:
>>> >>
>>> >> 1) Too much information, too little time.
>>> >> 2) Lack of vocabulary, all of the attendees were interpreters AND
>>> >> teachers of the deaf, and my vocabulary was inadequate to the task.  I
>>> >> should have asked for help from KJ or another interpreter at the beginning.
>>> >> 3) I got positive responses from a couple of people, but the most
>>> >> common one was "how many people IN OHIO are using this system", "why should
>>> >> MY students have to learn anything else?"  Half of them maybe "got it" but
>>> >> the others just kept with questions.
>>> >> 4) I should have simply linked to the website and gone from there as
>>> >> the website is informative, answers most of the common questions, and I
>>> >> could have had a Deaf Advocate actually talking to the group.
>>> >>
>>> >> Lessons learned, but I feel very small and inadequate right now.
>>> >>
>>> >> Charles Butler
>>> >>
>>> >>
>>> >
> --
> Erika Hoffmann-Dilloway
> Assistant Professor of Anthropology
> Oberlin College