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Regarding the base symbols, here are my thoughts...
On 7/27/12 10:26 PM, MARIA GALEA wrote:
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I believe Stuart Thiessen used the term "exemplar" in his MA thesis
instead of base symbol.
How would you define the base symbol of ISWA 2010?
I use the term BaseSymbol and identify each by ID.
(cat-group-base-variation) The first BaseSymbol is 01-01-001-01.
Section 5 of of "Modern SignWriting" describes the ISWA 2010 symbol
set as a "mathematical alphabet".
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does it represent NO rotation and orientation? (because actually it is
marked for rotation and orientation).
Based on the visual appearance, the base symbol does appear to have
orientation and rotation. However, the visual appearance of the
base symbol is secondary. The primary purpose of the base symbol is
to organize up to 96 symbols. Each symbol has an ID that includes 2
additional numbers, a 5th (fill or orientation) and a 6th
The base symbol ID does not include the 5th or 6th numbers of the
full symbol ID. The base symbol is before rotations and
orientations. The base symbol organizes the symbols according to
rotation and orientation.
The choice of visual appearance for base symbols is heuristic and
pragmatic. In the past, the hand base symbols all used the first
orientation ( fill 1 ) as a white palms. When a symbol group was
viewed as a collection of base symbols, the details of the hand
shapes were difficult to distinguish. Except for the 10 hand symbol
groups, the visual appearance for all base symbols was switched to
the second orientation ( fill 2 ).
The 10 hand symbol groups: http://signbank.org/iswa/cat_1.html
Inside of hand symbol groups, you can see the first base symbol uses
the first orientation ( fill 1 ) and all of the rest use the second
orientation ( fill 2 ). The choice is for readability.
If we understand the ISWA 2010 as an organized mathematical
alphabet, we can change certain aspects of the ISWA 2010 for easily
configured sub-sets or for more complex custom sub-sets.
Easy subsets will be available shortly. You will be able to remove
entire symbol groups or base symbols. For any base symbol you will
be able to remove entire orientations or rotations. The
organization will stay the same, but the choices will be more
More complex custom sub-sets are possible. In theory, you can
choose a small number of hand shapes. You can order them according
to your preference rather than relying on the International
Standard. This will allow for customized sorting and will influence
keyboarding. I have a few ideas, but I haven't put anything into
In section 12.D ( Symbol Subsets ) of the Modern SignWriting
"The ISWA is a huge set of symbols. There is no language that will
use every symbol. As with reflected spelling statistics, a body of
writing can be analyzed for the symbols that have been used.
Reflected symbol statistics can provide a guide to the norms within
a community. If the writer is offered a symbol subset rather than
the entire ISWA, the symbol subset can become self reinforcing and
aid in spelling normalization."