Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The #signwriting extension for #mediawiki is getting ready

A lot of recent e-mails did not get the attention they deserved. I received one that makes me happy; it is by Valerie Sutton. It announces that the MediaWiki extension for SignWriting is ready.

SignWriting is a script that enables the writing of sign languages. Given that there are more then 100 sign languages, it is really important that these languages can be written. It is important because for many people, their sign language is their mother tongue and teaching people to read and write in their mother tongue benefits people for the whole of their academic life.

With the availability of a MediaWiki extension, it becomes finally possible to consider a Wikipedia in American Sign Language. Given that SignWriting is a top down language, an extension is required. Given that SignWriting is not supported in Unicode, an extension is required..

Normally when a request for a new language is made, there is a requirement for the localisation of the "most used" MediaWiki messages. Given that MediaWiki itself does not support a top down user interface, it makes sense to give dispensation for this requirement..

The next step will be to create an incubator for ASL. It will be interesting to learn how we will bring the signing world and the wiki world together !
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