Encyclopedia in American Sign Language

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Fri Mar 9 22:30:53 UTC 2007

On Mar 9, 2007, at 2:00 PM, Pharos wrote:
> I just wanted to clear this up.  Wikipedia already has an article on
> SignWriting, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SignWriting
> What is being proposed is an entirely new Wikipedia, covering all the
> topics any encyclopedia would, in American Sign Language, just as
> there are Wikipedias in French ( http://fr.wikipedia.org/ ) and
> Spanish ( http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/ ).
> Please comment on the proposal page and sign up there if you are
> interested in participating.  It will only be created if a certain
> number of people written sign language-users express interest.
> Thanks.


Hello Pharos -

Are you asking us to write the Wikipedia in written American Sign  
Language in SignWriting? We can do that, and I would vote for that...

Signing up for it would mean that someone who knows American Sign  
Language can write the articles in written SignWriting...and there  
are skilled people who can do that ...

We have new software too, SignPuddle 1.5, that can produce written  
Sign Language Literature documents, and perhaps we can assist in  
creating the web pages needed...Is that what you are talking about?  
It is a huge job to translate a whole Wikipedia into any language,  
but it can be done ... we could start with a small portion of it and  
go from there...

We have a little funding for producing written Sign Language  
literature right now, and we could apply that towards writing some  
articles for an encyclopedia and use that as a springboard for doing  
more work in the future...Does Wikipedia have funding to help us with  
the translation process? Or perhaps we could write a grant together?

It would certainly be a very important historic event, to have an  
entire encyclopedia written in the movements of American Sign Language!

I assume that Wikipedia can be written in Chinese and other  
languages? So you are handling other written scripts other than the  
Roman alphabet? You mention Spanish and French below, but those  
languages use the same Roman alphabet used to write English, but our  
written ASL uses SignWriting symbols, as you know.

SignPuddle software can write email in SignWriting and literature in  
SignWriting...so we could work with your programmers to make sure  
that our ASL encyclopedia would be something you can post with no  
trouble...We are working towards the day when people can add their  
own Sign Language literature on the web, so we could apply that to  
Wikipedia someday...so that others can post their own SignWriting  
corrections and comments just as they do right now with the Roman  
alphabet in other languages...

So I say YES to the proposal if Wikipedia is interested...

I just went up on your web site on this link:

>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages/
>> Wikipedia_American_Sign_Language_2

I can see that SignWriting was discussed there...

I clicked on EDIT, but it looks like a huge job to do the editing and  
I am on a deadline right now to finish our software by next week...so  
I would be grateful if someone else could propose to use SignWriting  
to write an American Sign Language Wikipedia?...it could bring  
SignWriting users funding for doing the translation and writing work...

Perhaps in April I can add to the Wikipedia voting page above...

no matter what, please know we are interested...

And i hope someone on the SignWriting List can help too...go to the  
above web page and click on the word EDIT in the corner to make your  
statement that we could write Wikipedia in American Sign Language  
using SignWriting...

Many thanks!

Val ;-)


> On 3/9/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at mac.com> wrote:
>> SignWriting List
>> March 9, 2007
>> Can anyone write an article about SignWriting for Wikipedia's new
>> section on American Sign Language?...Here is a message I just  
>> received:
>> --------
>> From: pharosofalexandria at gmail.com
>>         Subject:        Encyclopedia in American Sign Language
>>         Date:   March 9, 2007 1:28:29 PM PST
>>         To:       Sutton at SignWriting.org
>> You may be familiar with Wikipedia, the free volunteer-written
>> encyclopedia, which exists in many languages.  The English Wikipedia
>> is at http://en.wikipedia.org/
>> There is currently a proposal for a Wikipedia in American Sign
>> Language, and I thought that the members of the SignWriting community
>> should be aware of this.
>> The proposal is here:
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages/
>> Wikipedia_American_Sign_Language_2
>> It would be great if you could share this information on SignWriting
>> forums and mailing lists, and please comment at the proposal page
>> (just click "edit").
>> I am not a sign language user myself, but I thought I could help in
>> informing you of this proposal.  Feel free to ask me if you have any
>> general questions relating to what Wikipedia is or how it works.
>> Thank you

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