[sw-l] SOFTWARE: Still working on IMWA 1.1

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Tue Jan 18 12:17:41 UTC 2005

SignWriting List
January 18, 2005

Hello Everyone, and Stuart -
Your messages are so great! I am amazed at your depth of understanding
of so many issues, Stuart, and especially about Unicode...I just pulled
an all-nighter for the second time (I was up all night without ever
going to bed)...I just cleaned the IMWA 1.1 for a second time...Stephen
found some problems and I went in and tried to make some of the symbols
more consistent, and it was a good idea to do this...It is better today
than it was on Friday. The IMWA 1.1 has 25,973 little symbols pieces.
Some of them are just different size arm lines, and different size
finger lines, for those people who want to construct their own
symbols...Just as we can construct new handshapes in SignWriter
DOS...well all those little finger pieces are in the IMWA 1.1 now...so
when it comes to Unicode there are some symbols towards the end of the
IMWA that are not for signed languages at all...they are more for
drawing, and for writing dance to music notes etc etc...so that was why
I thought maybe we should do a smaller symbolset in Unicode, but as
soon as the new IMWA is up on SignPuddle I look forward to going
through some of the newly added symbols with you all...some of the
symbols I added go back as far as 1975 and 1978, when two DanceWriting
textbooks were published...We now have the Head Rotation symbols...like
when you are doing African folk dances where the head does extreme
circles very very fast...We also have the hip and shoulder rotation
symbols...turning symbols...but most important...we have the full stick
figure capability...some feet...but more feet and toes will come later
this year...So I am going to lie down a little and calm down...it is
strange...when I am up all night I get a little giddy in the
morning...giddy means a little "light-headed" or even a little
confused...so that is a good signal to go to bed - ha!  Talk to you all
soon -  Have a great day!! Val ;-)


On Jan 17, 2005, at 9:47 AM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:

> Yes, I believe so. From what I understand, IPA extensions are located
> at 0250-02AF.
> Really, the purpose of Unicode is not for "everyday use", per se. It
> is intended to document all the writing symbols that are in active use
> for every language on earth. Even though some of the IMWA may not be
> used in "everyday use", it will be in use for research purposes which
> makes it important to be a part of any Unicode representation of
> SignWriting. Prior to Unicode, each language maintained its own
> encoding (numbering system) for translating computer characters to
> their language. This meant that if you got a Russian document, you
> must have the correct Russian fonts that corresponded to the Russian
> encoding and then you would see Cyrillic characters instead of Roman.
> That created a lot of difficulty because you wouldn't necessarily know
> what font would be necessary for which documents.  It created problems
> for international interaction. This is exactly what IMWA is doing.
> That doesn't make the IMWA a bad thing. It is valuable inside of the
> SignWriting community.
> Unicode was developed as an independent numbering system for writing
> symbols so that every writing system could have its own numbering
> range.  Then theoretically, you could have one or more fonts that
> contained ALL the symbols and be able to open up any document. Or you
> can have fonts that contain symbols for selected writing systems.
> That is up to the font designer, but the document will still contain
> the data in the language it is written for. This meant that when a
> document contains multiple languages or writing systems, the renderer
> can know what rules to follow to render the document because it will
> be able to tell from the Unicode range what kind of writing system it
> is working with. This means you can have many languages mixed within a
> document and the document should be rendered accurately according to
> the rules of that writing system.
> From this perspective of the intent of Unicode, I believe that the
> entire IMWA should be in Unicode. Personally, I think it may be worth
> giving the IMWA some time to settle before working on the Unicode
> process simply because the IMWA will give us a way to think through
> how to represent SW in Unicode (including the details of what is in
> the font, what is handled by the renderer, etc.) and how to
> "translate" between the IMWA numbering and the Unicode numbering
> system. With the IMWA in place, we will have something to show to
> potential funders to see exactly what the scope of the project will
> be.  The graphical approach we have used thus far can serve as a model
> for what can be done with SignWriting.  I think that Unicode SW with
> SMWL can be a powerful combination, not to mention the savings in the
> size of the XML file by replacing the IMWA number with the Unicode
> symbol.
> Again, that is my 2 cents worth. Naturally, putting SW into Unicode
> will be a big project, but I think it is a critical step in the
> direction of having hearing recognize and accept it as a writing
> system for sign languages since all other writing systems are
> available through Unicode.
> Thanks,
> Stuart
> On Jan 17, 2005, at 10:51, Valerie Sutton wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> January 17, 2005
>> Bill Reese wrote:
>>> Fantastic Valerie!!!
>>> Congratulations!
>>> I can't wait to see it and to see it used.
>>> Can unicode development start now?  :-)
>> Dear SW List and Bill!
>> Ah...Your enthusiasm is appreciated, but it is a little too early for
>> us to say it is finished. I was wrong in my previous message...I
>> THOUGHT I was finished - ha! But we found some inconsistencies that
>> need to be cleaned up before it is finished...So sorry for jumping
>> the gun!
>> So I am still working on it...
>> Regarding Unicode development, Bill...My work on the IMWA (the
>> International Movement Writing Alphabet) actually has nothing to do
>> with Unicode. Even when the IMWA is perfect, I personally would
>> prefer to let others work on Unicode, since it is a specific
>> programming job that I am not skilled at. But I am happy to be an
>> advisor to any Unicode project taken on by other groups.
>> And no Unicode project has to wait for the IMWA. I would strongly
>> suggest that the first Unicode for SignWriting should be based on a
>> smaller symbolset...Which brings up another question...Is there
>> Unicode for the IPA? the International Phonetic Alphabet? Because the
>> IMWA is equivalent to the IPA. It is not a symbolset for "everyday
>> use'...But most Unicode projects are for everyday use, I believe...
>> Val ;-)

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