, or Signed Exact Esperanto
, is a manual encoding of Esperanto
proposed by an anonymous author, with Gestuno
roots modified for Esperanto morphology. It is not a sign language
, but a visual mode of the spoken language. That is, Signuno is a manual, logographic
orthography for Esperanto, comparable to Manually Coded English vis a vis spoken English
Signuno has two main components of its root stock: Gestuno signs, and Esperanto initialisms
. Signuno initialisms, unlike those of ASL, all consist of two letter signs: the first and another (generally the last) letter (or sometimes letter sequence) of the Esperanto root. For example, the root Esperant
"Esperanto" is signed E-NT, where NT is one of a few combined letter sequences. Initialisms occur at specific locations and orientations like other signs, which generally contributes to the semantics of the root. For example, absurd
"absurd" is an A-D initialism signed at the forehead. When initialisms involve two active hands, both hands sign both letters.
Words not covered by these two sources may by fingerspelled in Esperanto.
Because Gestuno is independent of Esperanto, not all Signuno signs match Esperanto roots. For example, in Esperanto there is a root franco "French person", from which the words Francio "France" and la franca "French (language)" are derived. However, in Signuno there are two roots, one for the language and one for the country; the word for "French person" is derived from the later, as it were "franciano".
The grammar consists of phonology
in the form of hand shape
and finger motion, hand orientation, and hand location, which combine to create distinct root words (signs), and morphology
in the form of directional motion added to these signs. Syntax
follows the sequential nature of Esperanto rather than exploiting the spatial possibilities of sign languages, though intonation
(drawn out signs, accelerated motion, etc.) may be added for expressive purposes.
A root sign consists of one or both hands in one of 53 handshapes, some of which involve motion of the fingers such as flexing, extending, or trembling the fingers, placed at one of 64 locations cum
hand orientations. Mouthing is a component of many signs.
The static handshapes are the 35 of the alphabet and old-style numerals (see the illustration below), plus 8 more:
- the Vulcan salute, and the same with the thumb out;
- the ASL numeral 8, and the same with the thumb out;
- B hand with the thumb out;
- "baby O" (X hand with the thumb touching the forefinger);
- compressed F hand, fingers together (or B hand with the forefinger flexed);
- "claw" (5 hand with all fingers flexed into hooks).
The 10 moving handshapes are:
- thumb touches mid finger to form 8 hand
- pinch (thumb touches forefinger to form "baby O")
- 5 hand closes to O hand
- O hand opens to 5 hand
- forefinger flicks up from fist, forming G hand
- B hand flexes (4 fingers fold: the Maneki Neko beckoning gesture)
- V hand flexes into two hooks
- "walking" V hand (the two fingers move like legs)
- 5 hand, all fingers tremble
- the "moola" (money) gesture (Ĵ hand; the thumb rubs across the tips of the other fingers)
Some of these are little used. The Vulcan salute, for example, does not occur in any root words, but is only used to convey such things as punctuation.
The locations are in neutral space in front of the body, various places around the face (mouth/chin, cheek/ear, nose/eyes, forehead/temples), the shoulders, the chest, the upper arm, the forearm, the thigh, and various locations on the passive hand. The orientation of the signing hand(s) — palm in or out, pointing up, down, to the side, etc. in these locations yields 63 possible combinations. When two hands are involved, they may both act at a location, with symmetrical motion (if any), or one hand may be the location, and the dominant hand acts on it.
Mouthing is important to many signs. For example, turismo "tourism" and turisto "turist" are distinguished only by mouthing. This is because these signs are taken from Gestuno rather than being generated by Esperanto morphology. In the case of the article la a tongue gesture like pronouncing English th is the sole component of the sign. (It is actually an exaggerated L, only coincidentally resembling English the.)
Motion is added to these signs as a grammatical inflection for part of speech
, and mood
. For signs that make contact with the body, nouns are signed with a single touch in the singular (Esperanto -o
), and a double touch in the plural (-oj
). In the accusative (-on, -ojn
), a twist of the wrist is added during the touch or touches. Adjectives in the nominative (-a
) are signed by drawing the hand to the out-side (or the two hands apart) on the place of contact [that is, the right hand moves right, etc.
], and in the opposite direction (to the mid-line or together) in the accusative (-an
); plurals (-aj, -ajn
) involve larger motion than singulars.
For example, the root lingv "language" is signed with an L hand at the mouth/chin; a simple touch means the noun lingvo, while tracing the hand outward across the lower face means the adjective lingva.
Pronouns are somewhat different. Personal and demonstrative pronouns, which end in -i and -u in Esperanto, are inflected as -o nouns, whereas demonstrative adjectives, which also end in -u in Esperanto, are inflected as -a adjectives.
Verbs move outward (toward the audience); briefly outward once [-] for the infinitive (-i), twice [=] for the imperative (-u); straight outward [—] for the present tense (-as), dipping downward-upward outward [V] for the past (-is), dipping upward-downward outward [Λ] for the future (-os), and oscillating up-and-down outward [~~] for the conditional (-us). The adverbial (-e) inflection is the addition of a small circular motion of the hand on the place of contact; the genitive (-es) involves a larger motion. The accusative adverbial (-en) inflection is an inward motion, the inverse of the present tense.
There is also pronominal inflection. As in ASL, subjects and objects of verbs may incorporated into a verb by adding to its motion, and referents may be added to a preposition, so that mi vidas ilin "I see them" and por li "for him" are single signs.
These movements may be modified for expressive purposes, functioning like intonation in English.
The Signuno manual alphabet follows international norms (that is, the American manual alphabet
but with the T of the Irish manual alphabet
: the near-X handshape that is used in ASL
"lock"), though with the modification that all letters (and old-style numerals) are formed with the knuckles pointing upward and the palm of the hand facing outward. None involve any motion. The signs for four of Esperanto's diacritic letters (Ŝ, Ĥ, Ĝ, Ŭ) are derived from their bases (S, H, G, U), while Ĉ, Ĵ, and J are of Cyrillic
origin. H, P, and non-native Q are taken from the Irish manual alphabet, while Z (shaped like an ASL
3) appears to be derived from the preceding letter V, and is unique to Signuno. These departures from international norms are necessitated by the uniform orientation of the letters: International J and Z involve motion, whereas upright versions of international H, P, and Q would be indistinguishable from U, K, and G.
Of the original numerals (shown in the diagram at right), only 1, 4, and 9 are distinct signs: the others are 0 (S), 2 (L), 3 (Z), 5 (Ŝ), 6 (I), 7 (J), 8 (F). These were later replaced with two-handed signs with the palms facing inward; 0-5 are unchanged except for orientation and the addition of the second hand, while 6-9 actively involve both hands. In both systems, the higher numerals 10, 100, 1000 are the Roman numerals
X, C, M.
Numerals 11-99 are made with a single sign: the hand shape indicates the units, while the motion of the hand indicates the tens.
It is not known if anyone other than the author uses Signuno. In 2010
, the rights are to be handed over to the Esperanto Academy