Steve Slevinski

Sutton SignWriting Encoder of 2010, 2012, and 2017

sign language user, friend of the deaf, and SignWriting Evangelist

Steve Slevinski Steve Slevinski

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Sutton SignWriting

Sutton SignWriting is the universal and complete solution for written sign language, ISO 15924 script code "Sgnw". It has been applied by a wide and deep international community of sign language users. Sutton SignWriting is an international standard for writing sign languages by hand or with computers. From education to research, from entertainment to religion, SignWriting has proven useful because people are using it to write signed languages.

Formal SignWriting is one particular computerized design for Sutton SignWriting that envisions a sign as a two part word. Each word is written as a string of characters that can be recognized and processed by regular expressions. The design has been optimized for display, searching, sorting, text flow, and other character processing.

Where as American Sign Language is a natural language, Formal SignWriting is a formal language. A formal language is useful in mathematics, computer science, and linguistics.

The Sutton SignWriting resources are free to use by anyone for any purpose. Sutton SignWriting supports free culture and the creation of free culture works. The resources include websites, standards, packages, and more.

Websites

Standards

Packages


A brief history

In 1966, Valerie Sutton invented DanceWriting.

In 1974, Valerie Sutton invented SignWriting.

From 1974 to 2019, SignWriting was financially supported and promoted through the Center for Sutton Movement Writing (CSMW) non-profit.

From 1974 to 1986, SignWriting is written exclusively by hand.

From 1981 to 1984, publishing efforts include stencils and wax transfers.

From 1986 to 1995, SignWriting is successfully computer encoding with keyboarding support.

In 2002, advanced sorting of SignWriting dictionaries is available.

In 2004, a drag-and-drop interface is created for SignWriting.

In 2006, SignWriting received the ISO 15924 script code "Sgnw".

In 2010, the International SignWriting Alphabet 2020 (ISWA 2010) is released.

In 2012, the Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW) specification is released.

In 2015, the Sutton SignWriting Block is added to the Unicode Standard.

In 2017, the SignWriting in Unicode (SWU) specification is released.

In 2018, the Center for Sutton Movement Writing (CSMW) lost a major funding source.

In 2019, the Center for Sutton Movement Writing closed the non-profit portion of the organization due to excessive government paperwork and a focus on fundraising rather than productive work. The Center for Sutton Movement Writing is now an all volunteer organization without fincancial means.

In 2019, Steve Slevinski started a Patreon campaign to support his current and future work with SignWriting.

In 2020, Valerie Sutton continues her personal support for SignWriting. She has a new series of SignWriting instruction books she is writing. She is also planning a SignWriting Trust for the long-term support of SignWriting.

In 2020, Steve Slevinski assumed full responsibility for administering and financially supporting the SignWriting websites. He donates his time to support SignWriting's past, present, and future. The income from the Patreon campaign currently supports the hosting fees for the websites.


Here is SignWriting

Here is SignWriting

Adam Frost & Garrett Bose explain why SignWriting is innovative. They answer the question "How does SignWriting work?". They demonstrate how to write Handshape & Palm Orientation, Movement, and Facial Expressions, Location and Speed (Tempo). They read ASL poetry.



Deaf Perspectives on SignWriting

Deaf Perspectives on SignWriting

With Adam Frost, Holly Sharer, and Jason Nesmith, this video discusses their experience with SignWriting, Valerie Sutton, and writing the American Sign Language Wikipedia.



History of SignWriting in Brazil

History of SignWriting in Brazil on TV INES.

This 12 minute video discusses the history of SignWriting in Brazil using Portuguese, Brazilian Sign Language, and SignWriting.



SignWriting Animation Video

Sign languages are written with SignWriting

This short video features Brazilian Sign Language, SignWriting animation, and SignWriting text.







Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2010

International SignWriting Alphabet 2010 (ISWA 2010)

In 2010, Valerie Sutton and Steve Slevinski released the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010. The ISWA 2010 is a highly refined symbol set that focuses on SignWriting. The design balances complexity, efficiency, and usability.

SignWriting is an unusual script because the symbols of the script are used spatially in two dimensions. Most other scripts use a sequential list of individual symbols that may or may not connect and morph when used in combination. SignWriting is different because the writer decides the placement of static symbols on a two-dimensional canvas. The symbols are static because they do not change size or shape. Some symbols can be transformed into other symbols through a change of variation, fill, or rotation.

When writing signs by hand, the variety and style of symbols is potentially unlimited. When writing on computers, the symbol set must be limited and organized.

Background

In 1986, the first computerized symbol set for SignWriting was created on the Apple IIe and Apple IIc. This first symbol set was small due to the 128KB memory limit.

By 1995, the symbol set had expanded into a complete set known as the Sign Symbol Sequence (SSS). The SSS-1995 is available as a zip file of GIFs.

In 1999, the symbol set was revamped without the limitations imposed upon the SSS-1995. The SSS-1999 is available as a zip file of GIFs.

In 2002, the symbol set was reorganized with a multi-level hierarchy and the modern symbol ID. The SSS-2002 is available as a zip file of GIFs or SVGs.

By 2004, the symbol set was further expanded to include general movement writing concepts and renamed the International Movement Writing Alphabet. The IMWA-2004 has a wide variety of references and downloads available.

In 2008, the symbol set was refocused on SignWriting and renamed the International SignWriting Alphabet. The ISWA-2008 has a wide variety of references and downloads available. The ISWA 2008 was the first symbol set released under the Open Font License.

In 2010, the symbol set was refactored one final time, resulting in the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010. The ISWA-2010 is stable, widely supported, and standardized.


draft-slevinski-iswa-2010

draft-slevinski-iswa-2010

Published through the IETF, this Internet Draft defines the ISWA 2010 and related topics, such as the 7 categories, 30 groups, and 652 bases.



ISWA 2010 HTML Reference

ISWA 2010 HTML Reference (historical)

Available to view online or download, this HTML references includes the symbols as PNG images.



ISWA 2010 Font Reference

ISWA 2010 Font Reference (historical)

Available to view online. This reference includes many historical fonts for ISWA 2010.



Sutton SignWriting Fonts

Sutton SignWriting Fonts

Available to view online as part of the Sutton SignWriting Project. This reference discusses the three fonts of 2017 and their use.



SignWriting 2010 Fonts

SignWriting 2010 Fonts

Available as a GitHub repo, this project includes the source SVG for the ISWA 2010 along with additional fonts.



Sutton SignWriting Symbol Viewer

Sutton SignWriting Symbol Viewer

Available to view online as part of the Sutton SignWriting Project. This reference show the symbols using a clickable grid with hover text using either ASCII or Unicode characters.



Raining Hand Shapes

Raining Hand Shapes

This demo uses the Sutton SignWriting Line Font in a JavaScript/Canvas animation with a Matrix style.







Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2012

Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW)

Signs are written as SignWriting words
with mathamatical names of ASCII characters
from the set: ABLMRS0123456789xabcdef.
Stable since January 2012.



Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW)

In 2012, Steve Slevinski released the Formal SignWriting in ASCII specification. FSW is a highly refined character set that integrates with Regular Expressions, Scalar Vector Graphics, and other standard techologies. The design is complete, universal, empowering, and possible.

FSW is a heuristic model. The first prototypes were created in 2008. Through trial and error, the model was improved to reduce the complexity and the computation cost of the implementations. The model has been optimized for common usage and processing.

Background

In 1986, a custom data format was used for SignWriter Dos.

In 1999, a custom data format was used for SignWriter Java.

In 2004, the build string was created as a string of comma delimited values.

In 2007, an XML format called SignWriting Markup Language-Simple (SWML-S) was created as an update to the build string.

In 2010, a 16-bit character set was created for the ISWA 2010, and a 12-bit character set was created for the script encoding.

In 2012, Formal SignWriting was released.

In 2014, the searching of Formal SignWriting strings was expanded to include the temproal prefix.

In 2015, the styling string was added to Formal SignWriting.



Moving Forward with Sign Language Projects in Formal SignWriting

Moving Forward with Sign Language Projects in Formal SignWriting

This presentation covers Formal SignWriting, associated technologies, and Wikimedia projects for sign language, such as the American Sign Language Wikipedia.



draft-slevinski-formal-signwriting

draft-slevinski-formal-signwriting

Published through the IETF, this Internet Draft defines Formal SignWriting and the associated standards.




Sutton SignWriting Project

Sutton SignWriting Project

Available to view online or download, this project includes the current fonts, design specifications, standards, and tools.



Formal SignWriting (FSW) Viewer

Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW) Viewer

This demo automatically converts Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW) into properly formatted SignWriting text using HTML, SVG, CSS, and fonts.







Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2017

Characters are used to name signs.

Fonts are used to view signs.



SignWriting in Unicode (SWU)

In 2017, Steve Slevinski released the SignWriting in Unicode specification. SignWriting in Unicode is equivalent to Formal SignWriting in ASCII. Transformations between Unicode and ASCII are straight forwards. The sets are isomorphic.

With SWU, signs are written as SignWriting words with an experimental Unicode character design that overwrites the Sutton SignWriting Block (U+1D800 - U+1D9FF) and uses Plane 4 for the Sutton SignWriting symbols.

Sutton SignWriting Fonts

In 2017, the fonts for SignWriting were updated for different planes and additional characters. For long term storage of SignWriting, the symbols of the ISWA 2010 have been assigned to plane 4. For use with SVG and other images, the ISWA 2010 is mapped to plane 15 for the symbol line (positive space) and to plane 16 for the symbol fill (negative space).

Background

In 2008, a 16-bit character set was created for the ISWA 2008.

In 2010, a 16-bit character set was created for the ISWA 2010. An additional 12-bit character set was created for the script encoding. The symbol images of the ISWA 2010 were initially released as PNG images.

In 2011, the symbol images were rereleased as SVG images.

In 2013, a prototype two-dimensional font was released for SignWriting using Graphite.

In 2014, production ready TrueType Fonts were created for the SignWriting symbols.

In 2015, CSS font-face declarations were created to load the fonts without system installation.

In 2016, the symbol images in SVG were improved. The sizes of some symbols were updated.

In 2017, the SignWriting in Unicode character set was published, along with three TrueType Fonts.


Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2017

Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2017

This presentation covers the characters and fonts of the Sutton SignWriting Standard of 2017.



draft-slevinski-formal-signwriting

draft-slevinski-formal-signwriting

Published through the IETF, this Internet Draft defines Formal SignWriting and the associated standards.




Sutton SignWriting Project

Sutton SignWriting Project

Available to view online or download, this project includes the current fonts, design specifications, standards, and tools.



Unicode Technical Committee

In 2011, two documents were submitted: L2/11-101 and L2/11-217.

In 2012, one document was submitted: L2/12-321.

In 2015, the Sutton SignWriting Block was officially added to the Unicode standard. A documement was submitted: L2/15-194. In July, Steve Slevinski attended UTC #144. After the meeting, another document was submitted: L2/15-219.

In 2016, one document was submitted: L2/16-225. In August, Steve Slevinski attended UTC #148.

In 2017, two documents were submitted: L2/17-220 and L2/17-282.


SignWriting in Unicode (SWU) Viewer

SignWriting in Unicode (SWU) Viewer

This demo automatically converts SignWriting in Unicode (SWU) into properly formatted SignWriting text using HTML, SVG, CSS, and fonts.





Hi, I'm Steve.

In 1994, I graduated from Grove City College with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, computer science applied.

In 1994, I was hired by the New York State Education Department as a Senior Computer Programmer / Analyst.

In 1996, I was hired by Danet Inc in telecommunications for quality assurance. In 1998, I was promoted to the maintainer of the internal business systems.

In 1999, I raised my first son with sign language. He used several dozen signs before he spoke his first word. Later I raised my daughter with sign language, but she only learned a few signs before she started talking.

In 2002, I became a friend of the deaf through my wife's work. I met many interesting people around Pittsburgh and through the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD).

Since 2004, I've been working with and collaborating with Valerie Sutton, the inventor of Sutton SignWriting, and with sign language groups in more than 60 countries around the world. Some of these groups are prominent and other groups are disadvantaged and marginalized. Some sign languages only have a few thousand speakers. Other sign languages have millions of speakers. We can write them all.

When I started with SignWriting, I created a mathematical model. My model was based on Valerie Sutton’s design and historical use. Over the years, as my knowledge and experience increased, I recreated the digital encoding of SignWriting text using standard technologies for better processing. I am the encoder of the Sutton SignWriting standards of 2010, 2012, and 2017. These standards are stable and free.

All of my work is free to use, including the fonts, tools, the encoding details, the dictionaries, and the documents. For SignWriting to truly spread, it must be free.

Our work isn't complete. In another 10 years, Sutton SignWriting will be firmly established both in education material and in technology. For now, there is still work to be done and higher level tools to be made. Regardless, every year, SignWriting continues to grow online and in the schools and communities.

From 2004 thru 2019, I was a paid consultant to the Center for Sutton Movement Writing non-profit. The end of 2019, the CSMW closed the non-profit wing of the organization. In 2020, the CSWM is an all volunteer organization without financial means.

Starting in 2020, I have assumed full responsibility for administering and financially supporting the SignWriting websites, such as SignWriting.org, SignBank.org, MovementWriting.org, SignPuddle.com, and more. These resources will stay online and freely available to the general public.

I currently donate my time to support SignWriting's past, present, and future. The income from the Patreon campaign is able to cover the hosting fees for the websites.

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SignPuddle Online SignMaker 2017 SignPuddle Development