SIGN-SPEAK: Sign Writing Online

Key Words: Deaf Education Information, Deafness Related Issues, Sign Language

Document 1 of 4

Document 1 2 3 4

Subj: Sign Writing
Date: 97-03-04 23:13:00 EST
From: (Art Chapman-Smith)
To: (sign-speak list)

Hi all -

I just discovered a web page that I thought you all would be interested in taking a look at, called the Sign Writing Site:

Sign writing was created as a way to try and put ASL into a written form. Take a look and see what YOU think.

Document 2 of 4

Document 1 2 3 4

Subj: Re: Sign Writing
Date: 97-03-05 11:48:08 EST

Hi everyone! It has been quiet here! Where are all the 120 people or so? I hope I am doing this right! haha

About the sign writing, I want to know, how practical is it? With all the Deaf people that I know (I am hearing) not one has mentioned it, let alone uses it. How would they type on TTYs and computers? Are they all supposed to stop? And now with computers having the capability to video the conversation, what exactly is the purpose of sign writing? I just don't see it, sorry, maybe someone could explain it to me.

Thank you!

Stacie :)

Document 3 of 4

Document 1 2 3 4

Subj: Re: Sign Writing
Date: 97-03-05 14:02:42 EST
From: (SignWriting)

Hello Stacie and Everyone! My name is Valerie Sutton, and I am the inventor of SignWriting, and the webmaster of our SignWriting Web Site. Of course, I work with a wonderful team of born-deaf native ASL signers, so certainly I am not in this alone. The invention itself began in 1974 - that is 23 years of history. Our Deaf Action Committee (the DAC), is comprised of members of the ASL Deaf Community, and they have been working on SignWriting as a team since 1986. answer your questions. How practical is it? Anyone who learns SignWriting finds it as easy (if not easier) than writing other languages - So for those who choose to learn it, it is very practical indeed.

The fact that you do not know other Deaf people using it is not surprising. Reading and writing any language takes generations before it takes hold. So this is the first generation truly attempting to write signed languages. But we have hundreds of people using it in 14 countries, so slowly but surely it is spreading :-)

There are examples on our Web Site. If you would like to see samples of people writing SignWriting by hand, and a description of who uses SignWriting, go to:

SignWriting is typed by computers everyday. We have developed a computer program called SignWriter, which is the first true signed language processor, like a word processor except that you are typing signs. And the program can switch over to typing the Roman alphabet or fingerspelling. It is available as Shareware (limited to ASL only). Or you can purchase the complete program which is in eight spoken languages and 13 signed languages. To learn more about the SignWriter Computer Program, go to:

Your question about video is a commonly asked question. Certainly video will always be used, and nothing will replace its marvelous uses. But it is equivalent to the question: Why write English when we have audio tapes that record the language? Reading and writing any language has value, because you don't always have a machine handy, and you might want to jot down a new sign you just learned on a piece of paper - and SignWriting gives people that opportunity.

I hope this has answered some of your questions :-)

You are most welcome to continue to ask me questions. It's fun!

Have a great day, and by the way, I am very happy to be a new member of the list :-)

Valerie Sutton

Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA
(619)456-0098 voice
(619)456-0010 tty
(619)456-0020 fax

SignWriting is a way to read, write, and type signed languages

Document 4 of 4

Document 1 2 3 4

Subj: Re: Sign Writing
Date: 97-03-06 11:21:29 EST

Hello Everyone!

Thank you very much for your explanation, it does make a lot of sense. In fact I was thinking about that last night with my friend, exactly what you said! I am so glad you mentioned everything! :)

Thanx again Kareena!

Everyone else, have a nice day! :)

Stacie :)

Uploaded by: B.J. Lawrence / Kent State University / Deafed Major