Re: The official WWW Hand Gesture

Cynthia Clark <>
To: henry strickland <>
Subject: Re: The official WWW Hand Gesture 
In-reply-to: Your message of "Tue, 11 May 93 15:06:14 PDT."
Date: Wed, 12 May 93 09:23:00 -0400
From: Cynthia Clark <>
Message-id: <9305120923.aa05946@IETF.CNRI.Reston.VA.US>

 > In ASL, if you shake W's towards each other, you get "war".
 > ( a push-pull sort of conflict sign, with W's for war. )
 > Accurate as the connotations might be, you might avoid that
 > for the official sign.

 > I suggest don't try to make cute puns a language unless you are FLUENT
 > in it -- or you may get more than you asked for.  Depending on exactly
 > how the internet sign was done, I could see more similarities to "pain"
 > than to "friend".  I think I would have modified it to be more like
 > "story" with "wire" handshapes.  Would have retained the initial "i"
 > handshape, which is nice.

 > If you want a sign for WWW, a very easy one is also very natural, and
 > that is simply to sign W W W.  When a single letter, (particularly one
 > with a handshape like W) is repeated, you don't open and close your
 > hand three times to make the W's -- rather you lean the W forward and
 > down, fingers straight out almost horizontal, and kind of bounce
 > downward thrice, each time a little to the (right-handed) signer's
 > right from where the previous one bounced.  The third time down, you
 > hold it there a moment, and don't bounce it back up.  This
 > leaning-forward and boucing-to-the-signer's-right is readily understood
 > to mean repitition.

 > It would be like the sign for the number "22" or "33", except thrice,
 > and in ASL the number 3 uses the thumb, index, and middle fingers,
 > whereas the W uses the three middle fingers. 

 > It has the advantage that a deaf person who does not know your
 > secret code sign for WWW would still see "WWW", just as if you said
 > "WWW" to a hearing person who did not know what WWW means, but could
 > recognize it later, or plug it into context hearing "World Wide Web".
 > ("World" uses "W" handshapes, and "Wide" can.  I don't know web. )

 > The only danger I can see with "WWW" is some similarity to "world war
 > 2" or "world war 3".  The context of this proper noun is different
 > enough from that proper noun that it's probably not a problem.

 > The best signs come not down from above, bestowed graciously on the
 > deaf by a hearing authority, but rather trickle up from below, from the
 > actual communities and their living languages...  and there should
 > be some deaf communities somewhere on the net, but I'm ignorant where.

As a deaf person myself, I'm fluent in both ASL and English sign languages.
I had an interesting conversation with Tim Berners-Lee, Chris Weider, 
Mitra, Steven Foster and Naomi Courter.  We actually invented a new sign 
for "Internet" - just like what Tim mentioned earlier.   The sign has the 
combination as a "network", "friend" and "wire".

I've been thinking about WWW something similiar, but to "distribute
information worlwide on-line".  Perhaps we could get together again
at Amsterdam if anyone interested in sharing ideas to create a new sign 
for WWW.

I agree that we could avoid anything "war" or "cutesy".


Cynthia Clark