I very recently started on sign language just out of interest and  
curiosity.  In the process of learning I discovered that signwriting  
exists so I looked it up in Wikipedia.

I don't know who wrote the Wikipedia article about signwriting but I  
do have a suggested change.  Since that article may be the first one  
for people who are interested in learning about signwriting , I  
believe that it is essential that the first demonstration should be  
very clear and free of ambiguity or confusion.  Cherie Wren's version  
of Jack and Jill is not the way to introduce the topic.  The  
introduction should contain a very literal transliteration of  
signing.  That would give a person an idea of what it is about and how  
to go about it.  In Cherie's poem the second line, "to fetch a pail of  
water", doesn't contain the words: pail, fetch or water.  I spent  
quite a lot of time trying to figure out what was in that line and  
failed.  Cherie Wren eventually wrote to me explaining that it is a  
poetic version of the verse and not meant to be a transliteration of  
the original.  But my feeling is that many people would have given up  
by that time and simply ended up being confused about the  
effectiveness of signwriting.

Mind you, I have no objection to Cherie's version, but I think that it  
is something that can be accessed later, when the reader might be  
interested in more cultural issues.  What is needed in the  
introduction is something clearer and unambiguous.  By analogy I would  
say that it would be have been a mistake to have Robert Frost try to  
instruct first graders to read by reciting one of his poems.

George Veronis