Thursday, October 30, 2008

Proof of concept for an ASL wikipedia.

I just received the wonderful news that Steve Slevinski has created a proof of concept for a MediaWiki that supports SignWriting. This is great news. It means that a Wikipedia in American Sign Language is that much closer..

This demonstration is not only relevant for American Sign Language. SignWriting is a script and given that SignWriting enables the writing of any sign languages, many more languages now have a real prospect of a Wikipedia in their own language.


elya said...

Interesting. I've transferred the information into the German speaking planet: Gebärdenschrift in MediaWiki. Do you know what relevance SignWriting has in Europe?

Valerie said...

Hello elya -
My name is Valerie Sutton. I am the inventor of SignWriting. I am happy to answer your questions about the relevance of SignWriting in Europe.

First, regarding SignWriting in Germany, where it is called "Gebaerdenschrift", SignWriting is used in Deaf is some information about SignWriting in Germany:

Teacher Stefan Woehrmann, who teaches SignWriting at the Osnabruck School for the Deaf in Germany, is the author of the textbooks on SignWriting in Germany.

For more information:

SignWriting in Germany

SignPuddle in German Sign Language

Textbooks on SignWriting in German

SignWriting is used in Deaf Education because it provides a way to read and write beautiful languages, Sign Languages, that were never written before. Some Deaf people use a Sign Language as their primary daily language, and all Sign Language users benefit from having a way to read and write Sign Language, including the millions of hearing people worldwide who use a Sign Language daily too.

It has now been proven through statistical research that Deaf student's understanding of written spoken language tests improves, and their test scores improve, when their education is enhanced with written Sign Language literature, because Sign Language is their native language. Sign languages, in other words, are real languages, and there is a different sign language in every country, and in some countries, there are several different sign languages. SignWriting is a script that writes any Sign Language in the world.

SignWriting is used in Belgium, for example, in classrooms for the Deaf in both French-Belgian Sign Language and Flemish Sign Language.

Here are some links:

SignWriting in Europe

Who Uses SignWriting?

SignWriting in Belgium

Wikipedias in written Sign Languages will give people who use a Sign Language daily, a way to read and write the news and educational articles directly in their native language...Just as people need a French or German Wikipedia, a French Sign Language or German Sign Language Wikipedia would be useful too...and it will also help educate others about the fact that Sign Languages are now written languages...

For more information, feel free to write to me...

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton

1. SignWriting
Read & Write Sign Languages

2. SignPuddle
Create SignWriting Documents Online

3. SignBank
SignWriting Desktop Databases

4. SignWriting List
Technical Support: Ask questions to the List

5. SignWriting Literature Project
Writing Literature in Sign Languages

Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
P.O. Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038, USA
tel 858-456-0098 fax 858-456-0020

elya said...

Hey, this is an answer ,-) Thanks a lot for this mountain of information, I'll have to dig into this later. Just to answer the subtext of your comment: I'm not doubting that sign language is a real language, as I'm a bit familiar with accessibility concepts. Thanks again for your detailed answer.

Bill Reese said...

Perhaps this may also be relevant: