On 7/23/15 10:39 AM, Adrean Clark wrote:
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However, I didn't give up on written SL in general. This is because of my comics work. It drove me nuts that other artists could write comics in their native language and I couldn't. ASLwrite gave me the ability to quickly create full ASL dialogue in 2D space. In a roundabout way it eventually brought me back to Signwriting, not as my chosen method for expression but as one that I could finally grasp and learn from.
Welcome to SignWriting. 

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the Signwriting software is way over my head at
this point but I can see the potential for it to fork so that it can
be a platform to support planar* written ASL in general.

Yes indeed.  All of the software is available as open source.  A quick way to adapt the software is to create a new font for SignWriting.

The current font is a style called "Block Printing".

The ASLWrite font would be a style of "Handwriting" or "Cursive".

When I see ASLWrite, I see SignWriting that someone has written by hand using a lot of personal efficiencies.  This type of writing is great for individuals or groups of people who interact.

The Block Printing that you consider too rough is a result of years and decades of real world use and Val's design interacting.  The symbols of block printing are full of featural information that helps people understand the individual symbols within the 2-dimensional arrangement.  The Block Printing of SignWriting is Universal for all sign languages because of this design.

Cursive handwriting uses less features and fewer details.  It's great for taking notes.  As yet, there is no universal style of handwriting for SignWriting.  But everyone who writes SignWriting by hand takes personal liberties for speed that creates a barrier for others.  Here's what Val's has to say about the matter of Block Printing and Handwriting.

SignWriting Block Printing is easy to read. It is designed for the reader. The Printing can be written by hand as well as by computer. If I am writing a letter to a friend in ASL, I write the letter in SignWriting Printing, taking the time to make sure that my handwritten-symbols are easy and clear to read. I try to write as clearly as if I were using a computer. Of course it is slower, but it is worth it, knowing that my friend will be able to read my letter! 

SignWriting Handwriting is easier to write by hand, than the Printing. It is designed for the writer. There are several variations of Handwriting, and since most of the time, the writer is only writing for private notes, some writers create their own shortcuts that work just for them...and that is fine!

Online we mostly see the Block Printing of SignWriting.  This style is for computers and for publishing.  But people all over the world write SignWriting by hand every day.  I bet some of it looks like ASLWrite.  I wrote a short essay about the SignWriting Script.
http://signpuddle.net/mediawiki/index.php/SignWriting_Script

If you are interested in building an ASLWrite font that works with SignWriting, it would takes years of SVG work.  If you map onto the ISWA 2010, the work is possible.  You would need to define ASLWrite as a alphabetic subset of the ISWA 2010.  After the subset was defined, all of the symbols would need individual SVGs.  Some of this work can be automated, but it's mostly grunt work as Adam Frost can attest.  Once the SVGs are ready, we create a new TrueType font. 

With 2-dimensional arrangements, the size and shape of the individual symbols is very important.  If you tried to match the general size and shape of the SignWriting symbols, the sub-font should work perfectly.  Feel free to contact me privately and I can give you some homework.  Maybe you can present during the 2017 symposium.

Beyond a simple font, it would be possible to create a new model for a 2-dimensional script and reuse many of the parts that I've created for SignWriting.  You may be interested in viewing a quick 18 slide presentation which discusses "Digital Collaboration with machine-readable sign language text in the SignWriting Script".  You can ignore the first few slides about Wikipedia.
http://www.signwriting.org/symposium/presentation0031.html#slides

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Creating a new standard is difficult.  The balancing act between the specification and the implementations and the real world usage is difficult and frustrating.  For SignWriting, I think we have finally established our standard.  Years before, we were very unstable.  We had several mass data conversions between symbol sets and data encodings.  Now, our standard symbol set has been stable since 2010 and our data since the beginning of 2012.

The 2-dimensional model of SignWriting is like no other script.  I hope you were able to watch the search demonstration yesterday. 


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(*Linear vs. planar refers to the main categories of writing SL.
Linear is a la Stokoe where the elements of a signed word are placed
next to each other like English letters. Planar is what Signwriting
does by condensing 3D language into a 2D space.)
I've never applied "planar" to 2-dimensional spatial writing before.  Is this a common term or your preference?


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why people are resistant to Signwriting. I hope my brief story helps a bit. It's been inspiring to see the body of work and the community here. I have a lot of respect for that.

It was a very interesting story.  Thanks for sharing. 

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Perhaps the first step to dismantling the general resistance to written SL is to construct a framework, whether physical or mental, where the evidence for a written SL is clear.
I am a fan of 2-dimensional writing for sign languages.  The linear scripts are ugly and cryptic.

I think the evidence is clear and I think that sign language scripts can stand together.  Sign languages are written languages.


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Then within that framework the second step would be to provide access to several written SL to see which particular one best fits the individual or group.

Here I disagree.  SignWriting is the only complete solution.  The writing is grammatically correct with vertical columns and lanes.  We collaborate digitally with our computer programs.  We have an International community that can share and learn together.  We have several handwriting styles and people are free to make their own.

In a school environment, students should definitely learn the Block Printing style of SignWriting, but they should also have practice writing by hand.  Handwriting practice should include quick handwriting and more involved block printing.

Regards,
-Steve
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