sw-l-digest V1 #2293

GerardM gerard.meijssen at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 26 19:52:56 UTC 2007

Valerie invited me to join your mailing list. Given that I do not sign, am
not deaf and do not know any deaf people, it is a surprise that you find me
here :)

I am GerardM in the Wiki world and I am a member of the language committee
of the Wikimedia Foundation. I am also heavily involved in the OmegaWiki
project, a project to create a resource that includes all words of all
languages and have both lexical, terminological and ontological information.

I have discussed with Valerie the idea of having a Wikipedia for sign
languages. I am really enthusiastically about the idea. There are issues
that need resolving. The MediaWiki software, the software that runs
OmegaWiki, currently only support Unicode. SignWriting does bit maps and is
busy getting its characters into SVG and Unicode is a dream for SignWriting
to come true. MediaWiki supports left to right and right to left scripts,
SignWriting is a top down script. MediaWiki allows for an external editor,
this could be SignPuddle.

All these things can be solved. All these things need to be solved. All it
will get us is a mechanism that would allow you to have a Wikipedia. What
would this bring to you, Wikipedia is a great resource for finding
information on the web. Many people use it to sharpen their language skills;
both passive and active language skills. It is a great environment where
people meet and socialise while working on their project. For linguists it
is a great resource because it offers contemporary language on any subject.

Knowing Wikipedia, I can think of many reasons why I would like to have a
Wikipedia in a language that I consider mine. It is however not that
relevant what my reasons would be. It is much more important what your
reasons would be to consider having your Wikipedia.

One final reason why an exercise to prepare for a possible Wikipedia is
useful is that it makes the MediaWiki software available to you. MediaWiki
is increasingly used in many environments. It is Open Source (it has a GPL
license) so you can use it wherever it is useful to you. You will come to
love MediaWiki because I expect signing people to be sociable when they
consider their language; MediaWiki functions particularly well when there is
a community.

Anyway, as I am lurking on your mailing list, I thought it best to introduce
myself. I did blog about signwriting and stuff twice.. so I give you the URL
for these as well. If you want to contact me for anything.. you can ..

    GerardM aka
    Gerard Meijssen

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