Hi Val.
Thank you so much for writing!
I have been going through those pages you had sent me previously, in trying to adapt it to Portuguese.
I have covered 20% of what is needed in a first approach necessary to that adaptation.
But I have some questions, that only happen due to the lack of IPA transcriptions.
For instance:
I did not get why
Qu (Quadrat) is a combination between Q and W instead of Q and U.
All other aspects so far as clear. For instance X (xylophon) as being a combination of C and S like in taxi.
The whole troube is not having IPA...
(If I may make a suggestion: it would be great to have a speech-language pathologist serving as model for the pictures instead of a deaf apprentice, because the SLP might use some special tecnhiques to make articulation even more clear for the sake of documenting more conspicuously the visemes involved, so as to help the deaf apprentices learn to read speech even more efficiently).
I will go through the new pages you have just sent me.


2011/2/12 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
February 12, 2011

Hello Fernando!
I am sooo glad I told you about Stefan's work with Mundbildschrift (SpeechWriting)... and his Deaf students also write German Sign Language with SignWriting and lots of facial expressions for Mouthing words while signing (called Mundbilder, which is different than Mindbildschrift for writing spoken language)...HIs work is really groundbreaking - Maybe you can have longer discussions together...

Stefan is traveling right now, but when he returns I am sure he can answer your questions -

Meanwhile, here are some more web pages to visit:

SignWriting in Germany

Stefan's Extensive Web Site

SignPuddle for Germany
Take a look at the Facial Expressions for Mouthing in the dictionary and in the literature files

Photo Gallery from long ago

Here is the same picture of Irina, but with Stefan's English message below it

Look at this photo...the Deaf students can read the SignWriting of German signs and write the equivalent in spoken German, another skill that is useful for learning to translate between languages, explained more on this web page:


and to write to Stefan:

Stefan Woehrmann
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Val ;-)


On Feb 12, 2011, at 10:26 AM, fernando capovilla wrote:

Wow, Valerie!!!
Your message gave me goosebumps!
Thank you so very much for calling my attention to Stefan Woehrmann's amazingly important work! 
I felt that sort of thrill running up and down my spinal cord that signals when I am before something of true importance!
Woehrmann's strategy of using Sutton's SignWriting to write speech... SpeechWriting... is just brilliant!
Gosh, you guys are awesome! That is precisely what I needed! Wow!
Over the last 20 years my crew and I have documented the cheremic structure and the morphemic structures of the Libras lexicon, and over the last 12 years we have benefited from SignWriting as a way of writing down those parameters. Over the last 8 years my crew and I have documented visemis structure of Portuguese (specially in its correspondence to phonemic and graphemic structures). We have also created a number of instruments and documented the parameters of language development of deaf population. During all that time we had been dreaming of reconciling and articulating the efforts of two fronts in order to overcome the apparent schizophrenic state of affairs in deaf education:
Lately, on one hand we had been studying Cued Speech and Visual phonics and their benefits for literacy acquisition. On the other hand, we had been planning the systematic study of the benefits of SignWriting for metalinguistic development and literacy acquisition. Now, your message simply makes the perfect match between those extremes, fills the gap, restores the cycle of sanity and progress.
Valerie: Ientered the page you send me. I saw beautiful Irina's picture, and it just warmed my heart. She was pointing at the SpeechWriting unit and was emiting the corresponding lalemic unit. So the correspondence viseme-SpeechWriting was there, beautifully illustrated. (Oh, if we just had the table of visemes-grapheme-SpeechWriting units with the corresponding symbol transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet!!!.) Then, below, there was a series of six pictures of that handsome blond boy illustrating 6 visemes-grapheme-SpeechWriting units. Great! That is precisely the sort of correspondences we need! (But we need the whole table of visemes-grapheme-SpeechWriting units with the corresponding symbol transcription in the International Phonetic Alphabet!!!) Then, by clicking below:
it appears a wonderful table (and he did that back in 2002!) from A to Eu, along with pictures of visemes! (Oh, Gosh! The only thing mising is the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription! Just that to make it perfect!)
by clicking
we watch the baby crying for his mother: "where is my mother"
great! amazing!
Beautiful work!
Could it be possible to complete that incredible page by adding the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription?
In the new expanded edition of the Novo Deit-Libras I have written a large chapter describing a new paradigm for lexical research in Sign languages, as well as a 100 page chapter describing a new paradigm for speech-written-signed language research in which I included a section on SignWriting as a tremendous resource (where I provide references of books, theses, and site), as well a section on Cued Speech and Visual Phonics (where I provide references of books, theses, and site). Now I do want to include a section on SpeechWriting, and I need more sources of references to cite. I need to provide references to books, theses, chapters, articles, as well as the site. Therefore I would like to ask  Stefan Woehrmann and Valerie if they have papers, chapters, publications I could cite in our dictionary in order to help people know of SpeechWriting. I would also like to ask Stefan and Valerie and other colleagues who know the International Phonetic Alphabet as well as German whether they could provide the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription of each viseme depicted in those pictures in pages such as:
that is, we need at least from spricht A to spricht EU.
The new edition off our NOVO DEIT-LIBRAS is to go to print in 3 weeks, and it would be so good if I could include as much information as possble on SpeechWriting. That is why I need references to be able to list and divulge. It would also be of the utmost importance to have the SpeechWriting units corresponding to the IPA units, at least in German and English (should there be one).  People do have to know more about it. And we, here in Brazil, have to adapt SpeechWriting to write down the Portuguese visemes, so as to be able to use it as a way of writing down Brazilian-Portuguese speech and also implementing Cued Speech and Visual Phonics in a much improved way.
Som what we can do now to help kids is to (with due credits to you, guys, inventors of SpeechWriting) use your SpeechWriting to write down the orofacial patterns of Portuguese! Would you please tell me whether Stefan Woehrmann has mapped the visemes of the spoken German? Does he have a table of correspondences among visemes, graphemes, SpeechWriting units, International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions?
Stefan Woehrmann: are you there? Can you please send us the table of correspondences among visemes, graphemes, SpeechWriting units, International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions? Along with papers you have written that we may cite in our papers and chapters and books?
We now need terribly a table of correspondences among visemes, graphemes, SpeechWriting units, International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, so that we might write down each and every spoken language conceivable. It would be of the utmost importance if the inventors of the SpeechWriting system could lay down all SpeechWriting units linked to the International Phonetic Alphabet.
That would allow us to speechwrite each and every language.
The first step would be for Stefan to add the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription of the visemes illustrated in his pictures, so as to allow the speechwriting of German.
Stefan, could you please provide the table of SpeechWriting units for the visemes of German along with IPA transcriptions?
(The first step would be to add the International Phonetic Alphabet transcription beside each picture.)
Sorry for the enthusiasm. It is invluntary. The culprit is this funny pink cloud that seems not to go away. What an enduring great feeling! I am experiencing a state of grace! Inspiration feels just great! Thank you for that! (I feel 30 years younger and 90 pounds lighter! -hah!)

2011/2/12 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
February 12, 2011

Hello Fernando and everyone!

Thank you for this message...

On Feb 10, 2011, at 9:45 PM, fernando capovilla wrote:

Thank you for your kind message, and for posting the news.

It was fun to see the TV program from Brazil ;-)

I will try to explain briefly what I meant:
Over the last 20 years we have made strong efforts to establish research & development programs for creating valid and standardized batteries for assessing of a wide range of language competences. After examining more than 10,000 deaf students for more than 25 hours each, we have mapped parameters of development of competences such as alphabetical reading & spelling, speechreading skill and vocabulary, sign comprehension and expression, cheremic awareness, morphemic awareness, working memory, etc.

What a huge undertaking! ... 

We have used those instruments and parameters to compare the effects of a number of variables such as school placement, language used as vehicle for teaching, literacy acquisition methods and materials, etc. We have discovered the best time schedule for literacy acquisition and articulation between special education and mainstreaming, and we are working on public policies of education based on that scientific evidence.

Changing public policies, I bet, must be very hard indeed... This is such important work for Deaf education...

We have covered a wide range of subjects and fields, ranging all the way from the transparent to the profound. In order to help deaf kids learn Portuguese we have used all strategies conceivable, including taking advantage of the degree of transparency in the orofacial-graphemic correspondences in spoken and written Portuguese for helping cochlear-implanted deaf kids, all the way to taking advantage of the deep morphemic structure correspondences between Libras and Portuguese for helping congenital deaf kid read and spell. We have come across beautifully significant effects that have been quite encouraging.

Very impressive, Fernando - just setting up the project must be a huge job, as well as then collecting all the data and so forth -

May I mention another way to reach Deaf kids who need to learn spoken languages?... Stefan Woehrmann at the Osnabruck School for the Deaf in Osnabruck, Germany, is a teacher of Deaf children, many of whom have cochlear implants... Stefan has helped Deaf students learn to speak, read and write better spoken language using his own creative development...in German it is called Mundbildschrift, and in English we call it Woehrmann's SpeechWriting, where the symbols for mouth movements in SignWriting, have been expanded to write spoken German...so an entire spoken language sentence can be written in SpeechWriting, showing the Deaf student how the mouth moves when pronouncing words, in a standardized way...and it works! Stefan's students are not only reading and understanding the German spoken language better than other Deaf students who do not have this tool, but their actual speech is improving as well... I think Stefan's work is really a new contribution to Deaf education, that many teachers do not realize is there yet...

I realize that SpeechWriting for spoken Portuguese may not be practical in Brazil right now, but nonetheless, writing the way the mouth moves while speaking can also have benefit for Deaf education, so I wanted to share that working theory with you - it could be developed specifically for the Portuguese spoken language if you ever know of someone who is interested working on that project...

Also, we have documented thousands of fascinating phenomena, such as cheremic paralexias and cheremic paragrafias similar to those first described originally by Klina & Bellugi's The signs of language; and Poizner, Klima & Bellugi's What the hands reveal about the brain. Now we are finally getting close to the point we started dreaming of back in 1998, when we first found out about SignWriting while struggling with HamNoSys and Stokoe Notation System.


I feel very honored to work with you, and that SignWriting is useful...

We are finally getting close to be able to start addressing the questions pertaining the analysis and mapping the effects of SW upon cognition and language. We first had to set a number of parameters straight so as to know precisely where we are. We have made encouraging progress in that regard. We still have to finish the treatise, the compendium, the new sign-retrieval system based on cheremes, and the 6 remaining volumes of the encyclopedia first, though. Yet, we are confident we will manage to succeed in including a research lprogram devoted to assessing the effects of a SW instruction program by 2012. We will keep on working. Thank you very much for your kind enduring support. We have learned a lot from you. Best warm wishes,

I am sooo happy to know about your plans to test the use of SignWriting with Deaf students by 2012...THANK YOU for your hard work you have already done, teaching your Deaf staff SignWriting, and writing so many signs in the books you have already published....Just looking at all the signs is almost overwhelming, there are so many written already...I am quite impressed with the sheer number of written signs you have - your Deaf staff has been busy!

I will continue to teach how I edit signs on this SW List, not only based on your beautiful book, Novo Diet-Libras, but also based on other projects. I will continue to post these lessons on this List, and when time permits (grin), I will also post the instruction on the web, so everyone can refer to the lessons anytime...so maybe by 2012 you will have more materials to work with for your research on SignWriting...

Meanwhile, remember to look at this area on the web from time to time:

SignWriting Lessons

and thanks once again, Fernando!

Val ;-)


2011/2/11 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>
SignWriting List
February 10, 2011

Please watch this video:

Professor Fernando Capovilla is in the second half of the TV program...so wait through the beginning, and in the second segment you will meet Fernando, telling the world about the Novo-Deit Libras Dictionary...and although my understanding of Portuguese is minimal (smile ;-) I noticed that SignWriting is mentioned when Fernando opens the dictionary and points to the SignWriting - it looked very nice!

An enjoyable program - Val ;-)

PS. I am interested in your research project you mention below, Fernando...thank you for a systematic study of SignWriting - I had better get back to my lessons and provide you all with good materials....we have some new textbooks to share...

On Feb 8, 2011, at 8:49 PM, fernando capovilla wrote:
Dear Valerie,
We are working on your great lessons. Thank you very much.
The 2nd part (2min 26 sec) of this video below talks about our Dic and SignWriting (4min). It was aired in national public television.
I am coordinating a research project that is to include systematic study of SW.
We keep on studying. Thank you very much for your kind generous help.
Thank you very much. Best warm regards,

Fernando C. Capovilla, PhD
Professor Associado
Instituto de Psicologia, USP
Coord Lab Neuropsicolinguística Cognitiva Experimental, IP-Usp
Av. Prof. Mello de Morais 1721
São Paulo, SP, 05508-030
veja nossos novos livros em: http://lanceusp.hdfree.com.br/livros.html
assista à entrevista concedida à TV Cultura sobre dislexia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL8DLAGG-Pg


Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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