Sign writing

Sign Writing is a system which uses signs to portray or explain information. These signages are pictures which can be visual depiction of hands, face and body in an arrangement which is not sequential like the English alphabets.

Sign languages are made up of iconic symbols which represent a particular word. Since these iconic symbols are formed by hand shapes, orientation, facial expression, body movement, etc., multiple combinations can be used to represent the single sign. Sign language is not standardized from this view point.

Main Advantage of Sign Writing is As Follows:

Iconic nature of the writing make is very easy to learn and read. Anyone with basic understanding of signs used can easily
learn it.

It has various means to represent facial expression which makes it a unique representation.

No fixed rules to create a sign writing since there are many different ways to represent the same thing

There Are Few Disadvantages As Well

Sheer size of the signs used makes it difficult to write and a special computer software is needed to create these signs.

Since the sign language is artistic in nature, not everyone can become an artist to create these writing.

Various types of iconic symbols used are as follows:

1. Orientation

Orientation of palm is indicated via hand shapes. A hollow outlined hand shape denotes facing palm of hand, filled hand shape denotes facing back of hand. Four orientation of hand shapes are possible, front of hand, back of hand and either sides of hand

2. Hand shapes

Over 100 of hand shapes are possible, but everything evolves from five basic symbols. Square representing closed fist, circle representing open fist, pentagon representing flat hand, ‘C’ shape representing a hand where thumb and fingers are curved and Fat L denoting that four fingers are straight and makes 90 degrees with palm of hand. These basic shapes are modified by having lines across them to represent different hand shapes.

3. Finger movement

4. Hand movement

5. Shoulder, head and eye movement

6. Contact

7. Location

8. Expression

9. Body movement

10. Prosody

11. Punctuation

One way of sign writing is using two dimensional invisible boxes; the relative position of symbols inside this invisible box denotes various locations of various body parts in a sign. Two dimensional sign language is arbitrary since there is no convention in arrangement of signs.

Sign writing is proposed to be embedded in Unicode. This proposes to encode the symbols and form a standardized set of characters. Through this there is a danger of sign writing losing its arbitrary nature and this may make it difficult to learn.