SignWriting List
December 2, 2010

Hello Stefan and everyone -

Thank you for this message. It is great to hear from you. I am glad we are discussing technical issues on the List again. Thank you for contributing to the discussion ;-)

My answers are below...

Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:
> ...There is another thing I would like to mention. Regarding finger direction and your idea about "Finger Direction is Meaningful:” I guess it may become a question of habit and style. Personally I feel uncomfortable with these hand shapes on the diagonal – and for me it is not easier to read – just in contrary.

We all get used to certain writing styles. But sometimes there are other ways to write that are not wrong, but simply different, and those differences might be useful from time to time...

The relaxed diagonal of the arms into the center of the body seems to be natural to signers is less formal, and when signs are written in this flexible manner, the writing becomes visually connected to the way signs look while signing quickly...and this can enhance the writing of finger direction...

Neither are wrong or right - just a difference in signing and writing styles... one a little more formal perhaps, and one a little more relaxed... the letters M and N have a formal version and a relaxed version for example...

> One reason may be that I concentrate on the palm rather on the fingers ???

Yes. That is possible. I do know that there is meaning held in the direction of fingers...that is why we called that section "Finger direction is meaningful" because we wanted to point this out.

Although both ways of writing are accurate, the diagonal hands "look" more like the fingers are projecting down, for those who may not be as skilled in SignWriting as you are, so the diagonal hands are better for faster reading, at least it seems that way to us....but again, both are correct.

>  But I have to admit that there are signs that obviously violate my intuitive style of  spelling but nevertheless ... I grew up with these signs written the given way and my brain got accustomed to that and now I simply accept them as they are –

Yes. I am the same way. But in this case, it is not a question of you changing your writing style, but just getting used to reading other people's writing, that is more directed on the diagonal towards the center of the body -

> Look at the typical way we write the “What”- sign  -- it is easy to read and nothing seems wrong, but if you look at your hands while performing the sign without any force they are much more inward than outward. This is interesting.

Yes, that is correct...we write it both ways....