SignWriting in Unicode

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Thu Jun 1 23:32:39 UTC 2006

Part of my MA thesis research will focus on what it would be involved 
in making SignWriting usable in Unicode, but that is still in process. 
Nothing is actively in use as far as SignWriting in Unicode is 
concerned. Valerie successfully got it approved as a possibility, but 
no specific proposal for how SignWriting would actually be placed in 
Unicode, nor how it would be rendered by a rendering engine. Those 
issues are still up in the air.

Until then, the use of SWML (or a variant of it) is probably the most 
ideal for capturing SW for computer analysis. It seems logical to me 
that properly encoded SWML could be easily converted to any future 
Unicode representation so preservation of data would be possible.



On Jun 1, 2006, at 11:01, Sara Morrissey wrote:

> Hello all,
> There was a mention on the list a while ago about SignWriting being 
> coded in
> Unicode (see below for original mailing). I was wondering if anyone 
> knows of
> any further developments on this? I'd be interested to know as I could
> potentially use a Unicode version in the data-oriented SL translation 
> work
> I'm researching and would be interested in comparing it to the 
> annotated
> data I'm currently using.
> Many thanks,
> Namaste,
> Sara
> *
> -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-
>  Sara Morrissey,
>  PhD researcher,
>  National Centre for Language Technology  (NCLT),
>  School of Computing,
>  Dublin City University,
>  Glasnevin,
>  Dublin 9,
>  Ireland.
>  Tel: +353 1 700 6914
> -.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-
> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-sw-l at
> [mailto:owner-sw-l at]On Behalf Of Valerie Sutton
> Sent: 19 May 2006 16:24
> To: SignWriting List
> Cc: dwanders at; Deborah Anderson
> Subject: [sw-l] Re: Number of publications with SignWriting?
> SignWriting List
> May 19, 2006
> SW List Members -
> Deborah Anderson asked me to post this message to the SignWriting
> List (see below). This question is in relation to placing SignWriting
> in Unicode. Deborah is attending a meeting of the Unicode Technical
> Committee all this week, and they need to know how many publications,
> (or how many pages in documents), have been written in
> SignWriting?...I told Deborah well over 1000 documents at least, if
> not more, plus the number of pages will be in the multiple thousands...
> For example, just the Parkhurst Mystery Novel alone, written in
> Spanish Sign Language from Madrid, is 140 pages of pure
> a perfect bound book..that is only one of many...
> Deborah - You can read about that Novel written in SignWriting on
> this web page:
> SignWriting in Spain
> Val ;-)
> On May 18, 2006, at 7:11 AM, Deborah Anderson wrote:
>> Dear Madam (or Sir),
>> I am working on a project and need to estimate the number of
>> publications in the world today in SignWriting (books, magazines,
>> articles), as well as those that contain SignWriting (i.e.,
>> introductory books in English or German that teach SignWriting). In
>> doing a search on "WorldCat" via the UC Berkeley library, I only
>> come up with 25 books, which I am sure is probably too low. I see
>> there are two serial publications, The Sign Writer (1989-) and Sign
>> Writer updates (begun?), which ought also to be included in a
>> count.  Do you think the number of books today (as produced in all
>> countries) in SignWriting and with SignWriting might total 400 or
>> so, with magazines perhaps 10?
>> I've looked through your website and thought it best to write to
>> you for any assistance you could provide. I'd be very grateful for
>> any assistance you can provide.
>> With many thanks,
>> Deborah Anderson
>> Deborah Anderson
>> Researcher, Dept. of Linguistics, UC Berkeley
>> Proj. Leader, Script Encoding Initiative
>> NOTE NEW Email: dwanders at
>> (or dwanders at

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