SignWriting List Archive 1
October 1997 - May 1998

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November 24, 1997

SUBJECT: Full Tech Support :-)

Dear List Members:

Recently I received this message from someone trying to learn SignWriting
all alone...

>I am having trouble getting the time to get a sufficient grasp on
>SignWriting so that I have principles in mind to teach to others.
>Any suggestions of mnemonics? Any standard texts/videos for practicing
>with? I know the best way is just to jump in and get started but it
>seems that when I do that something sidetracks me and I need to start in
>again rather than having a broad enough or deep enough foundation to
>build on. What a frustration.

I think we all can relate to your frustration. Learning anything new by
yourself is difficult. But actually you are not alone, because all of you
have full technical support from me :-)

Here are my suggestions...

To learn SignWriting by yourself, you will need 2 videos and a dictionary...

1. View the "Lessons In SignWriting Video Series" several times - both
videos should be studied carefully.

You will find that you will be able to read quite a lot of SignWriting just
from the videos.

2. For those who are writing ASL...
Open the "ASL Dictionary written in SignWriting". Try to write your first
"sentence in ASL". Look up the sign for "hello" in the dictionary. Copy it
by hand exactly as it looks in the dictionary. Look up the sign for "my"
and "name", and copy those signs by hand. Be sure to write vertically down
the page. Then write your name in fingerspelling symbols. You have now
written your first sentence: "Hello. My name is ________". Fax it to me at
(619)456-0020, or scan it into your computer, and send it to me through
email as an attached GIF file. I will read it in SignWriting and send it
back to you with comments :-)

Once you have completed your first sentence - write it many times again and
again. Repetition is what makes it "gel" in the brain. Write rows and rows
of one symbol, just as kids write rows of the alphabet. This way the
symbols become second nature. And use the dictionary as a reference point -
if you wish to write a sign that is not in the dictionary yet, think of
another ASL sign that is similar and look it up in the dictionary. Then
change the sign slightly so it becomes the sign you want :-)

3. For those of you who would like to write essays on Deaf issues -OR- for
those of you writing another signed language other than ASL...

Ask someone to take a video of you while you sign your essay. Make a VHS
copy of this video and mail the copy to me. Then you and I will transcribe
the signs on the video together. You will try the first sentence, then fax
it to me and I will correct it and send it back. And slowly but surely you
will learn how to write signs. We can transcribe the video together as a
team :-)

If your essay is good, we just might post the written transcription in
SignWriting on the Web, sometime after March, 1998. Any written signed
language is welcome!

Hope these suggestions help -

Oh - and by the way - my report on the Las Vegas Seminar is coming soon :-)

Have a great week -




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