Friday, April 13, 2007


SignWriting is one way of expressing signed languages. There are several ways of doing this, signwriting is the one favoured by most people who actually write down the signed languages. There is a request for a Wikipedia for the American Sign Language or ASL expressed in SignWriting.

I am in favour of such a project. There are however a few relevant issues
  • SignWriting is currently not supported in UTF-8 and MediaWiki expects UTF-8.
  • There is software specific to SignWriting, it can be used for a Wikipedia
  • Due to the technical issues, there is no way it can use the Incubator.
Given the objective of the Wikimedia Foundation, supporting this project is very much something that we should support. ASL is a very different language. Given that the organisation behind SignWriting is very much in favour of the creation of a Wikipedia, there is ample scope for the Wikimedia Foundation and the SignWriting organisation to work together and overcome all the relevant issues.

For me it is important that with this Wikipedia project the culture of the deaf will get a boost. When SignWriting becomes even more mainstream, it has the potential to become the script for many of the other sign languages as well.

Practically, I would like to start with this project on WMF servers using the wiki like software that already exists. I would look for programmers and or funding to enable MediaWiki to support SignWriting. I would look for funding to create a full implementation of the SignWriting glyphs in UNICODE.

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