Re: Hand characters (was: +1/-1 in e-mail comments (was: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy))

From: Hans Aberg (
Date: Sun Jan 11 2009 - 13:24:42 CST

  • Next message: Leo Broukhis: "Re: Emoji: emoticons vs. literacy"

    On 11 Jan 2009, at 19:04, Philippe Verdy wrote:

    >> Counting that right/left hands can be used, as well showing
    >> front/ back, and four directions, two colors white/black, there are
    >> 2^5*2*2*4*2 = 1024 hand characters.
    > That's underestimated. You have many more signs with just one hand !
    > You seem to forget that individual fingers are not just up or down,
    > their
    > relative position or angle can be significant :

    Not at all - I did not want to carry the joke too far...

    > Sign languages are developed to use those signs extensively, but
    > their usage
    > is not limited to death people. Some signs are extremely common in the
    > general population, with a wellknown meaning (some of them obscene)
    > but it's
    > clear that they are not written (they are accessory to the other
    > oral or
    > written means of communication), but sometimes seen in photos and
    > videos
    > (including in news reports from public areas when there's some
    > public behind
    > the reporter).

    ...though there was this serious intent you indicate.

    > As long as you don't need them to communicate in a written form, you
    > don't
    > demonstrate a written usage that would qualify them as being used
    > for text,
    > so they are not characters per se. But some of them are found
    > effectively in
    > emoticons.

    This aspect was brought up in the subsequent thread "Hand characters":

    There is a need to communicate some of these in writing. Some of them
    show up in emoji and and Internet symbols, others in sign language and
    the need for describing dancing and perhaps other movements.

    The problem is to classify these at least in appearance, as there is
    no general agreement of their meaning.

    > consider the case of the
    > well known "V" sign for victory where two fingers are up (from any
    > hand and
    > shown front or back), they wouldnot mean the same if they were
    > parallel.
    > Consider the sign for showing the number 4 : all fingers are up
    > except the
    > thumb, but fingers need to be separated by angle; if they are
    > parallel and
    > touching ech other, you get another sign which may mean "stop!" or
    > "hi!"
    > (the up or down position of the thumb there is not very significant).

    And it may be difficult to extend the ring finger alone, as its tendon
    is connected to te one of the pinky.

    > Now combine the two hands or place them relative to other part of
    > the body
    > (shoulder, arm, eye, mouth, nose, ears...) and there are other
    > meanings...

    And in addition movements can be essential. For example, one may stick
    the tip of the thumb in the ear or onto the nose, and wiggle the
    fingers. There is nodding and shaking the head, of which meaning there
    is no general agreement.

    > <winmail.dat>

    Your email program seems to attach some junk.


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