Stuart Thiessen smt_sw at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jul 18 18:40:13 UTC 2002

It is neat to hear about that.  I'm glad you guys had some chance to talk
about it.  I did have a conversation here with Claire Ramsey from UNL.  She
seemed interested enough to consider the questions like: "Why should English
be the written language of the deaf community internally?"  "Couldn't skills
in reading ASL be transferred to skills in reading spoken languages?"
Whether she agreed with SW or not was not obvious, but she did say that it
was clearly an issue of politics and power when a writing system is
introduced.  She also made some comment about understanding that there were
some mistakes made in the past about how it was presented.  I am not sure
what she meant, but it was interesting to hear her POV.

The Summer Institute of Linguistics is considering a project as it relates
to putting SignWriting on computers also (I don't know if you had seen my
note about that earlier this summer).  They do a lot of work in non-Roman
scripts and have a rendering engine that might allow us to have Unicode
fonts that can be "custom rendered" with their engine.  It would take some
work to accomplish but it seems doable.  I am dialoguing with them about it
as well.  The Parkhursts are also involved in that discussion since they are
members of SIL.  SIL is currently developing the next stage of their
linguistic research software that will work natively with their rendering
engine so if we can get the rendering right, then there would be all of
SIL's linguistic software ready to use with SW.  That would be cool for the
research community.  They would like that ability themselves so it can be
available for the SIL linguists (and other linguists) who are using
SignWriting. Another step after that, I suppose, is finding out from them
how general community based tools could take advantage of their rendering
engine.  Prior to this summer, I wasn't even aware that it was a possibility
to do this, so that was neat to learn about that.  That means that
SignWriting (other than needing a custom rendering engine) would be able to
take its place like a normal writing system rather than being a "graphical"
writing system.

At any rate, it has some promise for accomplishing ease of use through
Unicode and custom rendering of fonts.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Charles Butler" <chazzer3 at EROLS.COM>
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 10:32
Subject: Re: DeafWay

> The one question we got about the "ease of writing" was "when will we have
> the system available for normal transmission by email like any other
> language."  I was able to at least address that question by saying that
> projects in Brazil and elsewhere are looking into "notepad" technology to
> enable sign writing direct transmission.  Technology can now be our

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