Hi Stefan and SW-friends,
On 11/9/2014 12:22 PM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:
> Hi Valerie and SW-friends around the world,
> I would like to ask for your precious time to discuss the following 
> issue:
> Well Valerie it has happened a  long time ago that you invented your 
> first symbols that should represent the 5 -- fingers hand , the fist 
> or the claw hand ....
> Diving into the art of TT-Font design years ago I looked very very 
> carefully at the design and especially at the proportions of head to 
> flat-hand to fist, to the lenght of a index finger  etc... ....I 
> remember that we discussed special concepts as the "thick line of the 
> "I-hand", the small height of the B-hand compared to the flat hand 
> etc.... and I learned a lot from your lesson about the Rootshapes and 
> Action Fingers...
> I am interested in your feedback. Are there other experienced 
> SignWriting-scribes and readers among you who look at the design of 
> the hand symbols as they are used now and who would whish to change 
> that in order to achieve a more visual / more naturalistic looking 
> symbol compared to a drawn hand?
I have seen several people try to write their own symbols to depict 
hands.  What I have observed it that the only draw a few orientations, 
and often have a hard time reading back the proper facing and rotation.  
Also they are longer to draw.  For handwriting I like the current 
symbols as they are faster to write and carry the needed information to 
reproduce the sign accurately.

> Does anybody believe that part of the reason why it takes time to 
> encourage/convince more teachers of deaf students and more deaf 
> signlanguage instructors to use SignWriting within their classes is 
> connected to the design of the actual used series of symbols?  So in 
> the end a more naturalistic looking symbolset would attract more deaf 
> signlanguage instructors?

 From my limited experience people might be more attracted to a 
naturalistic symbolset, but writing it is more problematic to write than 
the simpler shapes we have.
I think that a more naturalistic symbolset might be slightly easier to 
read but then some parts of the hand would still not be visible.  Also 
it would be a lot harder to write.
But I know you aren't talking about writing by hand but the TT-Font and 
fonts in general.

I think it would be really nice to be able to distinguish two seperate 
symbols that now look exactly the same.

  * For example a Flat hand palm facing both right and left look exactly
    the same.  If there was some indication where the thumb and baby
    finger were.  It think that it would be easier for begginers to
    read.  Currently SignWriter Studio can write right handed symbols or
    left handed symbols.  But when importing a sign for another program
    you can't tell which the author used because they look identical. 
    Until you ask the program to tell which it is by selecting it. 
    There is a symbol for the right and one for the left but they look
    exactly alike, I feel that this is confusing for beginners.  I had
    to make up small rules to figure them out when I was learning. For
    example if there are two palm facing hands in a sign and there are
    no crossing arm symbols then the one the right is the right hand and
    the one on the left is the left hand.  If there is one arrow with
    black head and it's not between the two hand symbols, then the hand
    behind the arrow is the right hand the other is the left hand. But
    if the arrow with the black arrowhead is between the two then the
    hand behind the arrow is the first position of the right hand and
    the hand in front is the ending position of the right hand and there
    is no left hand depicted.  Instead of it being clear which was which
    by just looking at the hand symbols.
  * Also the fist hand and circle hand without fingers protruding, which
    we don´t know which way it's rotated until we add an arm, or switch
    it to the floor plane, if it had a small hint as to which side the
    thumb was and the baby finger, I think it would also be clearer.
  * The other is the hand edge facing.  I think it should be clear by
    the glyph if we are looking at thumb edge or the baby finger edge. 
    But that is a whole symbol redesign and would be a good addition to
    Bianchini2010 (because Bianchini2010 is already a supperset of
    ISWA2010) type of change because we would need to create two new
    symbols facings. (The baby finger edge in the wall plane and in the
    floor plane).

> Well I remember my printouts of the SignWriter DOS programm at large 
> seize  1999... compared to the TT-font that are possible today with 
> SignPuddle and the delegs Editor if you expand the Pdf --document what 
> an amazing achievement!
> Does it happen in your  country as well that new designers show up and 
> present new sets of symbol-designs that might hurt rules and 
> conventions we agree upon for years? Would it make sense to present 
> two different designs of a given hand to people who are not familiar 
> with SignWriting and ask for their preference?
> I would appreciate very much if many of you and especially of the 
> SignPuddle dictionary editors could give -- even short -- comments on 
> this topic.
> If you are interested I would be able to present some of these "new 
> designed symbols" so that we could discuss the pros and cons in the 
> context of special examples ...
Yes I would be interested in seing what you have in mind.

So to recap, I think that it would be nice to add some features to the 
fonts but I think that a fully naturalistic symbolset might be too much.

I had thought at one point adding a feature in SignWriter Studio, which 
would temporarily replace the hand symbols with the pictures of the 
hands Adam put together.  It was only a thought and never made it to the 
top of my list of things to do.  That way it would be really easy to 
compare the symbols with a real hand. I don' believe however that the 
left hand or the baby edge are available so it would be of limited use.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with and all best with your students


> Take care and good luck with all your different projects
> All best
> Stefan
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