SignWriting List
June 22, 2014

Hello everyone … See my answer below...

On Jun 22, 2014, at 7:12 PM, André L <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
I would like to know if the 2 following symbols have the same meaning or if the first one involves a rotation of the shoulders.
André Lemyre


Hello André -
Thank you for this question and for your patience too…I believe you asked this question a long time ago and it slipped my mind - very sorry.

I would say at this point, after writing 40 years, that the two symbols have the same meaning to most writers. So yes, the two symbols have the same meaning now.

But…back in the time when we were more concerned about great detail…there was a difference in meaning…but very subtle...

First, as you know, if the Tilting Symbols are placed near the Shoulder Line, then the Tilt comes from the Shoulders only, well, really from the upper rib cage, or from the waist, so it is a very small and subtle tilt from high up on the torso… 

Second, larger tilts (for the entire upper body, that involves the entire spine, coming from the hip joint), place the Tilt Symbols above the Head Circle…see attached diagrams below from the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook…

So in the example you show in your question, we know that these are very small tilts just from the shoulders - when the two symbols are placed, one at each shoulder, they are showing a small equal tilting…

In the past, one symbol implied that the small tilt is only on one side of the upper body - one shoulder tilts the upper body forward a little - but the placement is so small that it is hardly a real twist - in fact it is not really a twist at all, but a feeling of leaning forward in a lopsided manner on one side of the body -

But then over the years, this was so small, that another thing started to happen in some documents - if the writer wanted both shoulders to tilt, but didn’t have room in the sign to write both symbols, they would write one and not care - to them that meant a small tilt anyway and that detail was not taken into account -

So now my answer has only confused you probably - you can see we have had many years of writing now and styles of writing happen over time - 

So my REAL answer is that whether you write one or two, it means generally that there is a small tilt from the shoulders, and it is not a twist…

Twisting is written with a Twisting Arrow, or, it can be written simply by showing the shoulders at a diagonal and the hips straight forward -

Below I attach two pages from the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook



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