SignWriting List
August 16, 2013

Hello André Lemrye -
Thank you for posting this message. I am delighted that you are interested in writing Quebec Sign Language (LSQ), and that you posted your ideas to the SignWriting List…

I am glad you like the new book that is actually co-authored by myself with Adam Frost, called the American Sign Language Hand Symbols Book. Adam is the first author, but I am in the background ;-)

And we are hoping that we will someday have a series of books, one for each of the most-written sign languages around the world…so it would be wonderful to have a Quebec Sign Language Hand Symbols Manual, which is what I believe you are thinking of? We agree with that idea ;-)

The SignWriting International Hand Symbols book, also co-authored by Adam and me, is a specific documentation of the 261 hand symbols that are in the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010, which is the symbol set used in SignPuddle Online. In other words, the 261 hand symbols in the big book are based on our software. So when one uses SignPuddle, and you click on the SignMaker button, or the SignText button, the symbols that you see in that Symbol Palette are the symbols of the ISWA 2010, which are also documented online here:

ISWA 2010 HTML Reference Guide

When you click on the Category 1: Hands in the HTML Reference Guide and look at the very end of the Hands Category (see attached screen capture)

….you will see that there are exactly 261 hand symbols in the ISWA 2010…the attached screen capture shows the photo of BaseSymbol 261...

So that is why we have 261 hand symbols in the thick book that you mention, the SignWriting International Hand Symbols Manual….it is based on the current symbol set in our software, the ISWA 2010.

Every couple of months people write here on the List to explain that there are some other hand symbols needed to write different sign languages…for Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS), Ethiopian Sign Language and others, so I am not surprised if you have the need in LSQ as well - 

That is why I am glad you are writing to the SignWriting List, because then your requests are documented through the Achives.

Yes, of course you are most welcome to scan photos of the hand symbols you feel are needed to be added to write LSQ…post the scans here to the SignWriting List …then we can talk about how we would write those hand positions in SignWriting…You may find that some of them are already in SignPuddle or they can be constructed...

Have you used the "Search by Symbol Frequency" in the Quebec SignPuddle files to see how many hand symbols were used to write LSQ so far in SignPuddle? If so, how many? 

Regarding translating the current books into the French spoken language…yes of course you have our permission to do that and I will be happy to post the French translations of the books (just as they are without changes), in our SignWriting Lessons area online…Thank you for that offer…

Regarding adding or subtracting hand symbols to the original books…that will be a new publication, and we will need to work with you on that project - Perhaps others in Quebec will be interested in working with us as a team…

Look forward to working with you, André - thanks again -

Val ;-)


On Aug 16, 2013, at 2:28 PM, André L <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hello Valerie,
I developped my own version of the official hands configuration used in Quebec sign language, also based on Mr. frost book.
I did it on a paper version only with photocopies.

I found a problem, there are like 30 signs that are identified by researchers in Quebec but that were not in Mr. Frost extensive book.
May I scan those signs, send them to you and get your opinion on what to do with them?
PS: I would like also to share this French Quebec book of mine with other people through a special electronic adaptation of Mr. frost book. To do so I would need the original electronic version (unlocked for modification) and an authorisation to translate and adapt it.
André Lemyre

Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2013 14:56:09 -0700
From: [log in to unmask]
Subject: NEW BOOK: American Sign Language Hand Symbols Manual
To: [log in to unmask]

SignWriting List
August 15, 2013

Hello SignWriting List!
We have a new book to share with the world.... Adam Frost used SignPuddle Online ( to search to see how many hand symbols were used to write American Sign Language in the ASL Dictionary, ASL Literature and ASL Bible databases, and through that process, 86 hand symbols were chosen. This is out of the 261 hand symbols in the entire International SignWriting Alphabet (ISWA 2010) (

So here is the new book, free for download:

NEW BOOK: American Sign Language Hand Symbols Manual

Available in four formats:
PDF, PowerPoint, Keynote and a Printed Book

Go to:

Thank you, Adam! And I hope you all enjoy the new book ;-)

Val ;-)

PS. It is very similar to the International Hand Symbols Manual…just a smaller book…

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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