Nick Boalch wrote:
> Frankly the gross ignorance about language bursting out of the seams of
> this thread is very, very disturbing.
What is really disturbing here is the fact that you are accusing people that don't share your view of being ignorant.
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To help in the discussion of the ASL/English wikipedia I have made a sample
(http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clerc). The hand icon there is there to
indicate the paragraph is signed. Click on the number one after it to go to
the page with the signing that is housed off the Wikipedia site. The deaf
adults and students who have seen this are ready to start building more as
they see it as a very valuable and accessible tool for acquiring
While it is possible to use simple Wikipedia to build a sign augmented
simple wikipedia there are several problems. One the word "simple" can have
a negative connotation," simple" meaning "not smart" as in Simple Simon.
That would infuriate many in the deaf community and doom the project.
If videos were housed on each users individual server then a person who
wants to change the video that does not have access to that particular
server would be unable to do so thus defeating the goal of wiki.
Videos could be stored on the Commons and linked to from the English text
page but the video file size limit would need to be increased dramatically
from 2MB. The sample video in the link above is about 1.5 minutes and is
Making Wikipedia able to handle video will make it more up-to-date. Text
and pictures were top-o -the-line in the '80's.
To reiterate an earlier point. ASL is a natural language and deserves a
Wikipedia like any other natural language. The users of ASL are bilingual
in ASL and English to varying degrees (some totally fluent in both, most
more fluent in only ASL) and the languages influence each in the deaf
community. ASL has many signs borrowed from English orthography. There is
no common ASL orthography. Attempts at using SignWriting and other
orthographies have not caught on even after 20 years.
Making an ASL/English Wikipedia will provide the deaf community
particularly students a powerful learning tool. An encyclopedia is a
learning tool, not simply a collection of articles.
About the existing ASL orthographies such as Stokoe and SignWriting,
aside from the issue of copyrighted or patented or whatever systems,
and aside from the issue of their not being (currently) known by a
majority of ASL signers, I haven't seen the questions addressed (or
even asked) (1) are the systems relatively easy to learn if you
already know ASL — rather like a phonetic alphabet or syllabary — say
with a discrete symbol for each chereme and an intuitive way of
handling stress exaggeration or whatever you call the way a sign can
be exaggerated in whole or in part (sort of like lengthening a
syllable's duration in spoken Chinook Jargon, e.g. anqəti "-ed",
aaanqəti "-ed quite a while ago", aaaaaaaaaaaanqəti "-ed when
dinosaurs ruled the earth" - the ə is a schwa in case it doesn't come
through the email mill) — or is it relatively difficult to learn if
you already know ASL, say like Japanese kana majiri?
Meet the Whole World Halfway — Learn and Use Esperanto!
http://www.scn.org/~lilandbr/lang_tax.html — http://lernu.net
In response to Mark Williamson.
I have evaluated beta versions of the sign avatar programs that are
available and there are some problems at the moment.
1- their vocabulary is very limited
2- adults I have shown the avatars to don't like them, kids seem to
3-- they cannot clearly express much of the facial grammar and body shifts
that are of importance for ASL
4- the user must be sophisticated in translating between English and ASL to
assemble the appropriate text that the avatar will turn into ASL
5- They are expensive - about $3500 for each copy of the software. (a
person can now add video from their camcorder to a computer, edit ,
compress and upload it for much less, digital video is becoming a common
tool for all to use, Sign Avatars are not)
Someday the avatars may be a viable solution but not now
> We have been working up a bids for East London and Reading to bring
> WikiMania to UK in 2006, and I see Toronto have also put in a strong
> But I can also see Cleveland on a different page! I have just
> discovered their bid today!
> Where are
> 1) the planned bids
> 2) the official bids
> exactly on WikiPedia? Should everything be moved to MetaWiki now??
> Also, what are the deadlines for Wikimania 2006? Where are they
> stated precisely?
> Many thanks!
> Gordon Joly, East London
The bidding process has started at the beginning of this month. (see
All bids should be on meta and follow the rules explained here:
that's also where you will find the official bids, if they are listed,
of course (I just added Cleveland to the list ;-) )
Thank you and hurray for the first European applications!
ASL is a completely different language from English. Comments like
Uhm, why does that need it's own wiki? Couldn't the videos just be added to
And also, can't most deaf people (in english speaking countries)
read/write english? — Phroziac
... the project would likely cope much better as part of the
larger en.wiki community. — Andrew Gray
(these are just a couple of random selections, nothing against either poster
personally) could, I think, easily be taken as opposing the basic Wikipedian
principle of people's right to access to information in their own languages.
Yes, most people whose first and most fluent language is ASL have been
educated largely in English (depending on where and when they were schooled
this may have included deprecating ASL in favor of "Signed English" and
finger-spelling, and may or may not have included acquiring a high degree of
proficiency in lip-reading).
Regardless of the technical means and organization of a signed Wikipedia, I
would encourage people discussing the matter not to use wordings that may
suggest that ASL is not a language in its own right, or that deaf people
have a less fundamental right to acquire knowledge through their own
languages than have hearing people.
Some of you have mentioned SignWriting (at www.signwriting.org) as a
textual way of displaying ASL. The problem is less than a handful of people
know SignWriting. Video of ASL is needed to make a true ASL wikipedia