Hello all,
I am in real need for my upcoming poster session for TISLR.
The discussion on TISLR's real weakness in showing any presentations using SW as a medium is a real challenge.
Attached is the first four lines to show the structure of the database we are trying to put together into Sign Text to show, easily, the rendering of a particular handshape and movement into an English language based descriptor system for linguistic studies.
We are trying to come up with a way to show, in an unmistakable way, how compact Sign Writing is in comparison to a spoken language descriptive system.  Although the backbone is still a numerically-driven indexing system for computer purposes, the actual graphic rendering is compact and gives a great deal more information quickly than any English language system.
One will note that these four lines are identical coding in SW but require at least these four (and probably many more) lines to fully describe any given sign.
However, the linguistic tracing of multiple parameters will show the flexibility of linguistic study using SW as a much faster input system and study system and may encourage its use in comparison to other systems such as HamNoSys by showing it in such studies as:
1) Longitudinal - using a very large corpus (the 20,000+ ASL, the 5,000+ Norwegian, etc.) of the SignPuddle will show that SW is a viable linguistic tool.
2) Coming up with theories from frequency (example, how many signs use the Large C in the French Sign Language based signed languages (ASL, French, Belgian, Libras), as opposed to BSL. 
3) However, to do so will require an output system that can show and study in a file unconnected to the internet, an actual graphic rendering of Sign Writing (like this file) without having to depend upon an internet connection to present the findings (such as a fixed printed poster). 

From: Steve Slevinski <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thu, May 27, 2010 11:10:44 AM
Subject: Re: Data exchange with SignPuddle Markup Language

> Dear Steve, Val and all the list,
> I attended the LREC 2010 and I must say I was slightly disappointed at the
> very low use of SignWriting in Computer Sign Language linguists. There
> were some researchers that told me they considered SignWriting, but opted
> for HanNoSys. It would be ideal if SignWriting were used, I thought, but I
> probably can't understand the technicalities, as computers are not my
> area.
> Could you explain why the situation is so.

Hi Maria,

The 2 main reasons for the low use of SignWriting in Computer Sign Language linguistics are conceptual and technological. Conceptually, SignWriting requires accepting a new paradigm, while HamNoSys is much more comfortable. Technologically, SignWriting presents unique challenges.

I'll try to explain how SignWriting is different and why there is a technology gap. Some of the details are simplified.

Currently, in the computer world, there are 2 main types of script: one based on letters and the other based on pictographs. Both use a sequential list of characters, either "ABC" or "儷黑". A character is a very technical term that has many definitions, but simply put, a character is a number that can represents a letter or a pictograph. The letters "ABC" are sent by computer as the numbers 65, 66, and 67. The pictographs "儷黑" are sent as 2 numbers as well, such as 234452 and 222763.

Now the question becomes how to encode SignWriting. For the current technologies, the easiest way forward would be to label SignWriting as pictographic and analyze the corpus of each individual sign language. We could define a list of 20,000 signs for ASL. Stamp it as final and then create a font file (like Chinese) that could display those 20,000 signs. However, this list would never change and adding new signs would be laborious. And if this were to be done for all of the world's sign language, we would quickly run out of numbers for characters.

When I look at SignWriting, I don't see pictographs, I see symbols on a 2 dimensional canvas. Current technology can not use characters in 2 dimensional space, only characters in a sequential list. This spatial nature of SignWriting is where the breakdown happens.

Our current technique for SignWriting is to encode the script and not the individual languages. Once we encode the SignWriting script, we can write any sign language. Since, the idea of a spatial script is outside of the current model, we are making our own model. The current SignWriting model is a collaboration between Valerie and myself.

The ISWA 2010 defines the alphabet (graphemes) of the script. An X,Y coordinate based writing style is used to combine the symbols to form signs. Binary SignWriting is the character encoding model that transforms the abstract symbols, structural markers, and numbers into a sequential list of characters.

These developments represent the open standards of SignWriting. These standards were recently finalized and stabilized. With a 10 year freeze on these standards, I believe we are ready for wide spread adoption.

As we overcome the technological barriers, the conceptual barriers will drop as well. I'm predicting an explosion of acceptance for SignWriting. With all that we've done so far, I know we're ready.