Encyclopedia in American Sign Language

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sat Mar 10 00:46:44 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
March 9, 2007

	From: 	  pharosofalexandria at gmail.com
	Subject: 	Re: [sw-l] Encyclopedia in American Sign Language
	Date: 	March 9, 2007 4:42:23 PM PST
	To: 	  signwriting at mac.com

Yes, we are hoping for a Wikipedia in written American Sign Language
in SignWriting, as you say.  I agree with you that this this would be
a very historic development, and am gladdened at your enthusiasm for
the idea.

Your offer of directing funding toward developing the ASL Wikipedia is
very helpful, and will probably make approval much more likely (an ASL
Wikipedia was proposed once before but rejected).  The Wikimedia
Foundation (which operates Wikipedia) probably cannot provide direct
support (other than hosting it online, of course), but I'm sure they
would be glad to help you in developing joint grants for the project.
I am only a volunteer editor, and not a member of Wikimedia's Board or
staff.  If you are interested in talking with higher-up people for
grant purposes, I can direct you to the appropriate person.

Wikipedia has encyclopedias in many different languages, including
Chinese.  Developing a system to represent SignWriting would probably
not be a big problem.  It looks like you have a system at
http://signwriting.org/forums/software/swml/swml01.html that would
probably be appropriate for Wikipedia use.  We might even have a
system for automatic translation between SignWriting and Stockoe, for
those used to that method.  We already have something similar on the
Chinese Wikipedia, between "traditional Chinese" which is used in
Taiwan and Singapore, and "simplified Chinese" which is used in
mainland China.

I have posted a summary of your statements to the proposal page.

Thank you very much

On 3/9/07, Valerie Sutton <signwriting at mac.com> wrote:

> 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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