Hi SignWriting List,

Adam Frost's and Nancy Romero's work on the ASL Wikipedia project has 
really shown the need for automatic fingerspelling.  I was going to wait 
until SignPuddle 3 was ready, but discussions with Valerie reiterated 
the need.

I'm happy to announce that fingerspelling has returned to SignPuddle.  
The feature currently supports the ASL Manual Alphabet, but in theory 
any of the other 17 fingerspelling systems can be used.  Valerie has 
these fingerspellings documented online.

Here is a screen capture of FingerSpeller at work.

Each variety of fingerspelling requires a simple hand-crafted 
configuration file of a few dozen lines.  Each line has 2 parts. First 
is the letter and second is the FSW code. It took me about 2 hours to 
make the English to ASL config file of 26 lines.

The complication is the default centering of the letters is wrong for 
fingerspelling. Consider the sign for Z.

For fingerspelling, the center should be the center of the palm. Current 
editors can't manually set the center of a sign, so I created a special 
tools, poorly named.

By manually adjusting the center using x and y values, I was able to 
properly align the sign for Z. I copied the FSW code and put it in the 
config file.

With the centers properly defined, creating fingerspelling is the same 
as aligning a row or column of sign text.  I was able to use the same 
functions with diminished spacing between signs.

Most fingerspellings varieties can be supported in a few hours work 
depending on the language dictionary. Thanks Adam for the ASL entries.  
Very nice.

If anyone is interested in supporting Fingerspelling for their sign 
language, please contact me and we can get it done. Additionally, we may 
need more than one version of the ASL Manual Alphabet.




Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
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