SignWriting List
August 14, 2019

Hi Adam and SW List members ;-)

Thank you for sharing your handwriting question with us, Adam. My answer is below so scroll down...

INTRODUCTION for our list members:
There are two ways to write SignWriting...

1. "SignWriting Printing" for printing books in written sign language, and writing Wikipedia articles and other formal publications.
2. "SignWriting Handwriting" for quick writing for note taking and personal use

In my work, I am focusing on Printing sign language literature.

For example right now I am working on the layout and publishing of the entire New Testament in written ASL, that was translated from the English Bible into ASL and written in SignWriting by Nancy Romero. It took Nancy over a decade to write all 27 books of the New Testament in ASL, and now we are printing all of the 27 NT books in 8 ASL volumes. I am completing volume 6 right now, and within a few months we will have all 8 volumes ready to distribute to the public. I will announce it of course ;-)

The publishing of sign language literature has helped me focus on one issue: is the way we are publishing "easy-to-read-at-a-glance"? Can the reader understand the sentences quickly and visually, without having to "guess" what the writer means? And have we captured the true "visual" nature of sign languages while we are also writing grammar, structure and so many necessary details required of all written literature?

So writing literature is different than writing handwriting by hand.

Meanwhile - Adam uses SignWriting Handwriting everyday I believe and teaches using it to his ASL classrooms - Handwriting has another focus - it is to aid the writer to write quickly for note taking etc... and it is not as standardized... more individualized...

Adam presented a paper on SW Handwriting at our SignWriting Symposium 2014:
“Ways to Write Sign Languages by Hand with SignWriting”

ANSWERING Adam's question:

Here is my question to you Adam - in your examples that you show us below, all of the examples look like the formal writing - they look like Printing -

But I am assuming that you took away one hand and you are writing one-handed signing as a handwriting method for speed, and what has happened is that there are times when you actually need both hands - right?

But there is a solution both for the Printing and Handwriting - There is a misunderstanding about the Alternating Symbol. Technically the Alternating Symbol isn't even needed if you write the sign using alternating arrows. The Movement Cluster of "alternating arrows" existed long before we ever had the Alternating symbol, and we were able to write anything clearly without the abstract symbol called Alternating.

The key is how one "reads" the Movement Cluster. You always read the cluster from the inside-out. So in the example I have attached, the left hand is moving forward while the right hand is moving back at the same time. And then the directions reverse. All this is happening simultaneously. So no Alternating Symbol is even needed if you know how to read the Movement Cluster. If in your Handwriting you can write it that way, it should help ;-)


On Aug 14, 2019, at 9:47 AM, Adam Frost <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Ok. This is good to know. ;-)

Now for a little background before I explain my conundrum. (Ha!)

When I write by hand, I generally shorten it by only writing the right hand’s movement and then using these timing symbols — first 3 actually — to explain what the left hand is doing. For the most part, this has worked fine for me. Then I tried to write a few different verb agreements for “repetitively sending”.

There is a version of the verb “to send" that uses the alternating movement of both hands which can be used to explain the actions of a professional mover placing various furnitures into a moving van. For this, I used the “every other time” symbol.

When I read my writing, I wasn’t sure if it was the above described sign, or another version of this “to send” verb that means to sort various objects into two different locations.

I wrote the full version with the left hands for both. Notice that removing the left handshapes and movements would make these both written the same.

This lead me to wonder what the writing would look like if the movement wasn’t alternating or “every other time”. Both are possible versions with this verb.

This writing would mean to repeatedly put objects into the same location.

And this writing would mean the same as above but into two different locations.

So I guess those would be clear if I were to only write the right hand with the timing symbols. I’m not sure how I would make the first two clear while only writing the right hand and the timing symbols.


On Aug 14, 2019, at 9:10 AM, Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

SignWriting List
August 14, 2019

Hello Adam and SW List members -

Thank you for this question. Yes, the definitions you list are the more recent definitions which I believe are clear. It is confirmed that they are correct.

Years ago, I called them "Movement Dynamics" in the Lessons in SignWriting Textbook, on page 183. Attached is a screen capture of that page from the book, plus the sign for FEW in ASL that is an example of the Gradual Movement Symbol, which is like two miniature SLOW and SMOOTH symbols placed between two positions, to mean "gradually moving into the next position". The Gradual symbol is always small between two positions.

[log in to unmask]" class=""><FEW in ASL.png>

[log in to unmask]" class=""><Movement_Dynamics_Lessons_p183.png>

On Aug 14, 2019, at 8:48 AM, Adam Frost <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I just wanted to confirm the definitions of these four symbols. (I have added the image below for reference just in case people can’t read the font.)

<Image 8-14-19 at 8.29 AM.jpg>

1. 񋸡 The ISWA 2010 Reference calls this “Same Time”. This means that both hands travel along their path simultaneously.
2. 񋺁 The ISWA 2010 Reference calls this “Same Time Alternating”. This means that both hands travel along their path simultaneously in opposite directions.
3. 񋻡 The ISWA 2010 Reference calls this “Every Other Time”. This means that both hands travel along their path while the other hand isn’t moving. There is no distinction to moving in the “opposite direction” like the previous symbol.
4. 񋽁 The ISWA 2010 Reference calls this “Gradual”. This means that the change from one handshape to the next has a flowing change rather than an immediate change.




Valerie Sutton SignWriting List moderator [log in to unmask]

Post Messages to the SignWriting List: [log in to unmask]

SignWriting List Archives & Home Page

Join, Leave or Change How You Receive SW List Messages