Encyclopedia in American Sign Language

Valerie Sutton signwriting at MAC.COM
Sun Mar 11 01:06:09 UTC 2007

SignWriting List
March 10, 2007

Everyone -
I need your help! SignWriting is a free writing system and anyone can  
use it freely. We are a non-profit 501c3 educational organization and  
people are more than welcome to use SignWriting freely! Look at  
SignPuddle Online...that is totally free....

But up on Wikipedia, someone just posted a message saying that they  
cannot use SignWriting because it is not free...but that is not true!

Can someone post a message on Wikipedia to explain that SignWriting  
is free to use? I would be grateful.

To be honest, I cannot figure out how to post something on Wikipedia.  
When I push the Edit button it is overwhelming...where do you add  
your comments? I see a bunch of code that is not very friendly...

Anyway, I am trying to finish our software this weekend which, by the  
way, will be free online in SignPuddle Online as soon as we are ready!

So Adam or someone, please tell them that SignWriting has always been  
free to use and has been free for over 30 years! And it will be free  
to use on Wikipedia, and may give jobs to ASL writers and programmers  
as well...

Val ;-)


On Mar 9, 2007, at 4:42 PM, Pharos wrote:

> 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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