SignWriting List
December 7, 2012

Hello Martin, and welcome to the SignWriting List!

Thank you for joining this SignWriting List, which out of necessity, will be the only List that I focus on…

To explain to everyone…Martin is a member of another List, the "SignWriting in the Universal Character Set" List (SW in UCS List), which is a specialized List for those who are interested in placing the SignWriting Script into Unicode, which is also called the Universal Character Set (UCS).

For the past 2 years we have had discussions on the SW in UCS List, and I became increasingly scattered with too many projects…and then there is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and well…you all know the feeling in today's multi-tasking technological world…I finally decided I need to focus on one List…so I invited all the members of the SW in UCS List to join our SignWriting List…Martin so far is the only one who has joined as far as I know…from the SW in UCS List...

So welcome Martin, and thank you for posting this message and your technical proposal related to encoding SignWriting in the future…

In an attempt to become organized (smile) I am going to go back to complete answering all the messages from the past few days, and then I will be back to respond to this message…

Thanks for joining our group!

There can be a lot of messages, about different topics related to SignWriting…Our List has over 200 members from 18 countries…at least last time I looked…and some are teachers of Deaf children, sign language researchers, sign language students, deaf school administrators, sign language linguists, anthropologists, and of course software developers…

SignSpellings are also discussed…how to write certain signs used to be a big topic, but we were talking about how the end result looked, to be read…that kind of spelling referred to what symbols were chosen in what formation to provide students with a good reading experience - that we call a SignSpelling…and the SignSpelling Sequence is what you mention below as "sort order"… most people do not think about any of these orders when writing…but the end result of how it looks when reading has been, to date, or focus with teachers and students...

Val ;-)


On Dec 6, 2012, at 7:02 PM, Martin Hosken wrote:

> Dear All,
> Just to introduce myself. I'm a script technologist with SIL who has been involved in a number of complex script encoding efforts, adding them to Unicode and producing implementations. I have been involved in the encoding of SignWriting off in the SignWriting in UCS list. It was suggested I join this list to engage more experts on SignWriting in the process of encoding SignWriting layout in Unicode.
> I enclose a discussion document with my current thinking on the topic. Warning. It's not an easy read. But I hope it will be worth your effort. If you are an implementer or interested in the technical aspects of how we might linearise a 2D writing system, then please do give it a read and give your feedback. Please also note that there is no intention to rush off and get this added to Unicode. As the paper states, we must do a proof of concept implementation first.
> For those of you who are experts in SignWriting. The key issue that this document raises (although it doesn't mention it much) is the question of spelling. When storing a set of symbols that make up a sign, if we want to be able to search for that set again, they have to be stored in a consistent order. The problem with this is that there are 3 different preferred orders:
> * keying order
> * sorting order
> * searching order
> Of these 3, the easiest to work around is the searching order. That's an implementation problem, which regular expressions can handle well. But the other two tend to fight each other. The question I have for you as a community is: can we regularise keying order and can we perhaps adapt the sorting order to be a little closer to the keying order. I have presumed that we can in the document, but it would be good if people could review that.
> Full disclosure: I am not deaf. I can barely read SignWriting and so will analyse some signs wrongly. I have probably done that in this document. It is entirely unintentional and would value the review.
> Yours,
> Martin