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Hi List,

I've been having a fun time chatting on the Unicode Email list.  I think 
I have a plan that may get SignWriting added to Unicode sooner rather 
than later.

My plan breaks down into two steps.  The first is to write a proposal to 
encode all of the ISWA 2010 symbols with 674 code points.  The proposal 
will need to show there is a sizable community of users.  It will need 
to prove the stability of the symbol set.  It will need to define and 
justify all of the symbols to encode.

The proposal will need to pass through two committees.  It may be quick 
and easy.  It may get mired in revisions and rewrites for years.  I'm 
not sure what to expect.

No small feat, but it is focused and has a reasonable chance of success.

I'd prefer that we were able to hire professionals to write the proposal 
for us, but unless someone knows something I don't, this proposal will 
be written by volunteers.  Probably myself.  I will be creating a new 
version of the ISWA HTML Reference specifically for the proposal.

This proposal will not include any of the structure or layout characters 
needed to actually write sign language.  That will be covered by the 
second part of the plan: a Unicode Technical Note for the lightweight 
markup I am calling the "SignWriting Cartesian Markup".

There are two reasons to use a markup for layout.  The first is that 
Unicode has already rejected layouts in the past, specifically western 
musical notation.  The second is that Unicode would need to be convinced 
that the layout style proposed was the best choice.  There is no reason 
to confuse the symbol proposal with a layout proposal.

Upon reflection, it makes sense to wait to encode the layout.  With only 
the symbols encoded, we can apply different layout styles.  We could try 
polar coordinates of angle and distance.  We could try a tree structure 
where symbols relate to other symbols, rather than the center of the 
sign.  We could try a style with predetermined symbol placement rather 
than give the writer precise control over symbol location.

I have already started the research needed to write the proposal.  I 
will only be spending a small percentage of my time on the proposal at 
first.  I'm hoping to have a proposal ready to review later this year 
with an official submission before the end of the year.

Life is fun, eh?
-Steve