Dear Val, dear James, dear all,

answering to those 6 questions is difficult indeed!
I agree with your understanding, SignWriting users are probably in the order of thousands, considering all the countries around the world.
But again, they are just guesses. :)

Thanks Val!

2014-11-18 18:14 GMT+01:00 Valerie Sutton <[log in to unmask]>:
SignWriting List
November 18, 2014

Hello Fabrizio and James -

Thank you for this thread, asking “How many users of SignWriting in the world?”…

This is a question that is continually and understandably asked, but is hard to answer, since statistics are very hard to collect.

Let me ask you similarly difficult questions, Fabrizio…

1. How many Deaf people live in Italy?
2. How many of those Deaf people are pre-lingually Deaf?
3. How many of the Deaf population use a sign language or use signs as their primary language?
4. How many people, both hearing and Deaf, use sign language in Italy?
5. How many signers in Italy know there is a written form?
6. How many signers write sign language?

Answering any of those questions is almost impossible …but there can be guesses - but only guesses -

For example, I once heard the statistic that around 7% of the world’s population has some kind of hearing loss, and that only around 1% of the world’s population uses a sign language on a daily basis…

If those statistics are true, then you could apply that to your population in Italy - but are those statistics true?

I don’t think anyone knows…

And then to add to the mix - our web sites are terribly behind in catching up with all the people and groups that use SignWriting around the world, so to base your statistics on our web sites is meager at best - yes, we have a “Who Uses SignWriting?” web page but that does not list all the countries - and when I say countries I really only mean small groups of people within each country - so to be accurate we have no idea how many people use SignWriting!

However, I know there are a lot from our small perspective - I tell people “thousands, if not 10,000” and that is just based on what I have heard from groups - but that is only conjecture -

I surely wish I could give you a real statistic, but if you can find a way to word it - like - “Some say that 1% of the world’s populations uses a sign language as their primary daily language” and the percentage of the sign languages users around the world who realize that their languages can now be written languages is small, but growing, based on the number of projects that have been established in over 40 countries …”

Or something like that!

Val ;-)

-------


On Nov 17, 2014, at 7:00 AM, Fabrizio Borgia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Dear James,
thanks for your very detailed answer, by "users" I include individuals from category one and two, i.e.

1)  SW - actively use it
2)  SW - actively used it in school, but no longer do

I agree with your vision, one educational administrator with a vision could really change things. I'm not fully aware of the educational situation here in Italy, but I have the feeling that it's the same for us too.

Thank!


2014-11-17 15:52 GMT+01:00 James Shepard-Kegl <[log in to unmask]>:
Fabrizio,

Define "users".

In Nicaragua - today -, I would divide the population (hearing and Deaf) into four groups:
1)  SW - actively use it
2)  SW - actively used it in school, but no longer do
3)  SW - have seen it, know something about it, can't read it
4)  SW -- "What's that? Never heard of it!"

Group 1:  less than 5, I would guess  (That figure will go up in December because I will be conducting sign language grammar workshops -- and anybody who participates is going to realize that SW is integral to our work -- and once I leave,....)
Group 2:  approx. 50  (primarily in Bluefields, but also in Condega)
Group 3:  maybe 300 (because any family member of a Deaf student in Bluefields 10 years ago would certainly have seen SW, plus families in diverse locations where NSLP staff have introduced Nicaraguan Sign Language.)
Group 4:  about 6 million

There are two reasons to use SW:  1) as an aid in linguistic sign language research    2) literacy, and specifically, sign language literacy

Where you have funded researchers who are actively working, you will encounter SW.  Put another way, a researcher who starts to use SW probably won't stop (until the funding runs out).

In my experience, school administrators, that is, those charged with bring education to children, have zero interest in enabling Deaf children to develop sign language literacy skills.  School teachers, poorly paid as they are and insecure in their jobs, know better than to buck the system.

Of course, my experience is limited.

On an optimistic note, I would suggest that one educational administrator with a vision (if that person is high enough in the educational hierarchy) could make all the difference.

-- James


---- Fabrizio Borgia <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Dear all,
> has anyone ever attempted to estimate the number of SignWriting users in
> the worlds? The "Who uses SignWriting?" page gives a detaialed account of
> the SignWriting communities around the world, but has anyone ever attempted
> to *count* the number of individuals using SignWriting?
> Are we in the order of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands?
> Thanks!
>
> --
> Fabrizio Borgia, M.D.
>
> Ph.D. Student
> Sapienza - Università di Roma
> Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier
>
> O&M Software Engineering
> SERCO S.p.A.
>
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask]
> [log in to unmask]
>
> ________________________________________________
>
>
> SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION
>
> Valerie Sutton
> SignWriting List moderator
> [log in to unmask]
>
> Post Messages to the SignWriting List:
> [log in to unmask]
>
> SignWriting List Archives & Home Page
> http://www.signwriting.org/forums/swlist
>
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--
Fabrizio Borgia, M.D.

Ph.D. Student
Sapienza - Università di Roma  
Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier

O&M Software Engineering
SERCO S.p.A.
[log in to unmask]
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Valerie Sutton SignWriting List moderator [log in to unmask]

Post Messages to the SignWriting List: [log in to unmask]

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________________________________________________

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--
Fabrizio Borgia, M.D.

Ph.D. Student
Sapienza - Università di Roma  
Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier

O&M Software Engineering
SERCO S.p.A.

[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]
[log in to unmask]
________________________________________________

SIGNWRITING LIST INFORMATION

Valerie Sutton SignWriting List moderator [log in to unmask]

Post Messages to the SignWriting List: [log in to unmask]

SignWriting List Archives & Home Page http://www.signwriting.org/forums/swlist

Join, Leave or Change How You Receive SW List Messages http://listserv.valenciacollege.edu/cgi-bin/wa?SUBED1=SW-L&A=1