October 27, 2014
Hello Madson - When SignWriting was acknowledged and listed as a “World Script” by the International Bureau of Standardization (the ISO - http://www.iso.org
) back in 2006, it was indeed an honor and it provided the world with important information:
1. First, it shows that the world acknowledges that sign languages are real languages that deserve a written form, listed with the written forms for the rest of the world’s languages… this is important because before that time, the ISO committees were not even sure sign languages were real languages. I know, because I and others had to explain it to them ;-)
2. Second, it shows the world that there is indeed a written script used to write the world’s sign languages called the SignWriting Script, that is used in different countries to write different sign languages. The ISO-related committees wanted to know if there were any written documents in the SignWriting Script? I showed them over 500 and kept sending them more and more until they said “stop!” you have proved it is written by people around the world ;-) I showed them handwritten documents from different countries as well as documents written by computers - they told me that we had provided more than most rare scripts can provide - They were amazed at the written documents from Brazil, Germany, Nicaragua, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the USA, the UK, Malta, Italy and so forth…I tried to find examples from each country and there were so many, both handwritten and computer-written, that it was overwhelming...
3. Third … now that the SignWriting Script is listed as “World Script Number Sgnw-095", which was voted in on October 10, 2006, it made it more likely for the Unicode-related committees to consider placing the SignWriting Script into Unicode, which as you know has now been voted into Unicode version 8, to be released mid-2015. As you know, Steve Slevinski has recently developed the TrueType Font needed for the Unicode version 8 to display the SignWriting 2010 symbols...
and the World’s Scripts:
And the ISO is connected with Unicode…
Hope this helps - it is a big subject ;-)
What I have enjoyed is as soon as SignWriting became “a World Script” under the ISO, the SW Script was compared to the Korean script “Hangul” as one of the World Scripts that are “featural”, since Hangul was apparently originally designed to show how the tongue looks when one speaks certain sounds - if I have not explained this correcty from a linguistic point of view feel free to correct me ;-)
However other people jumped in explaining that they did not believe SignWriting is “featural”- so my point is that by being listed as a World Script, good discussions on writing sign languages and other languages have occurred and I think that is a healthy thing -