SW (DOS) digital dictionary and beyond, in several fronts worlwide (Brazil included)

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Jul 18 01:16:48 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
July 17, 2003

On Thursday, July 17, 2003, at 02:58 PM, Fernando Capovilla wrote:
> There are two reasons for the fact that we have not distributed the
> .DIC file. The first one is the contract with the public university
> press, which prevents us from doing so. It is a legitimate concern of
> theirs. They have invested a high sum of money in printing the
> dictionary, and thus they are entitled to have some return of that
> investment in order to publish further books. The second reason is
> that I have always felt that digital dictionaries should bring not
> only SW and glosses, but also concept definitions, descriptions,
> grammar classifications, sign illustrations, sign sublexical
> composition, etc. (I have always feared that the simple pairing
> SW-gloss, destituted
> from all the rich context of information, might discourage beginners,
> as it did discourage me.) And, as a matter of fact, thank God, after
> all these years of hard and silent work we have finally managed to do
> so: we have finished, and are almost ready to release, a digital
> version of the dictionary in two CD-ROMs (one with an alphabetical
> interface and the other with a graphic interface).

As always, Fernando, you do amazing projects. Congratulations on this.
And it is a pleasure, Fernando, to think of you using SignWriter
DOS...that gives me a smile....

Although I understand the University not wanting to share the actual
illustrations that were used in the production of your
Encyclopedia...when it comes to the .DIC and .DIN files, I had always
hoped, when I donated the Computer Program to groups around the world,
that people would be sharing the .DIC and .DIN files with each
other...after all, they are just old DOS files...and if that blesses a
few Deaf people, why not?

Usually people are afraid to share their dictionaries for another
reason ...they are afraid they made typing errors. For example, Mexico
has a 3000 sign dictionary that has never been seen, because the
researchers who created it are afraid it isn't perfect enough.. But I
do have the .DIC and .DIN files for several countries now. I received
permission a long time ago to include the Madrid dictionary of around
5000 signs, and Stefan has offered his 9,000 sign dictionary in German
Sign Language. So this summer I am making an active effort to improve
the downloading of our DOS program. You will see soon that I will be
posting several new .PDF help documents related to SignWriter DOS. And
I also plan to write again to the different dictionary typists around
the world, to re-establish permission to include larger DOS
dictionaries with each country...

So if your files are not available to us, then it will be easy enough
for me to type a small dictionary in LIBRAS myself, or perhaps Charles
has a Brazilian dictionary file? That will be nice because it will give
us an example of how others can use the program if they wish...

Regarding your concern that it is not a good idea to have a one-word
gloss for each definition of a sign etc...of course from a linguistic
point of view, there is something to what you say...On the other hand,
one-word definitions do work for quick lookups in bilingual
dictionaries...it just depends on what audience you are trying to
reach...and SignWriter DOS does have room to enter several sentences
for definitions...it is not limited to one word at a time, although
most people do it that way...

Val ;-)

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