Requests for new languages/Wikipedia American Sign Language 2

American Sign Language Wikipedia

submitted verification final decision


This language has been verified as eligible.
The language is eligible for a project, which means that the subdomain can be created once there is an active community and a localized interface, as described in the language proposal policy. You can discuss the creation of this language project on this page.

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If you think the criteria are met, but the project is still waiting for approval, feel free to notify the committee and ask them to consider its approval.

A committee member provided the following comment:

This should have been set as eligible a long time ago; the reason it wasn’t were the technical issues with using SignWriting, but that doesn’t really affect the eligibility status, so setting to eligible now. Jon Harald Søby 02:00, 29 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • The community needs to develop an active test project; it must remain active until approval (automated statistics, recent changes). It is generally considered active if the analysis lists at least three active, not-grayed-out editors listed in the sections for the previous few months.
  • The community needs to complete required MediaWiki interface translations in that language (about localization, translatewiki, check completion).
  • The community needs to discuss and complete the settings table below:
What Value Example / Explanation
Language code ase (SILGlottolog) A valid ISO 639-1 or 639-3 language code, like "fr", "de", "nso", ...
Language name American Sign Language Language name in English
Language name   Language name in your language. This will appear in the language list on Special:Preferences, in the interwiki sidebar on other wikis, ...
Language Wikidata item Q14759 - item has currently the following values:
Item about the language at Wikidata. It would normally include the Wikimedia language code, name of the language, etc. Please complete at Wikidata if needed.
Directionality Vertical Is the language written from left to right (LTR) or from right to left (RTL)?
Links earlier request (closed during reform), SignWiki (2005, historical), [1], ASL University, Links to previous requests, or references to external websites or documents.

Project name Wikipedia "Wikipedia" in your language
Project namespace Wikipedia usually the same as the project name
Project talk namespace Wikipedia talk "Wikipedia talk" (the discussion namespace of the project namespace)
Enable uploads no Default is "no". Preferably, files should be uploaded to Commons.
If you want, you can enable local file uploading, either by any user ("yes") or by administrators only ("admin").
Notes: (1) This setting can be changed afterwards. The setting can only be "yes" or "admin" at approval if the test creates an Exemption Doctrine Policy (EDP) first. (2) Files on Commons can be used on all Wikis. (3) Uploading fair-use images is not allowed on Commons (more info). (4) Localisation to your language may be insufficient on Commons.
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Default project timezone Continent/City "Continent/City", e.g. "Europe/Brussels" or "America/Mexico City" (see list of valid timezones)
Additional namespaces For example, a Wikisource would need "Page", "Page talk", "Index", "Index talk", "Author", "Author talk".
Additional settings Anything else that should be set
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American Sign Language and it's variants found around the world and is the only language for millions of people. This is not a fictitious language and is a crucial communications link a significant percentage of people on earth. I am proposing we start with translations of English material into the English version of sign language known as American Sign Language. The American sign language True Type font from Gallaudet should provide a good start with a coding system for the specific movements of sign language or Signetts to be added later. unsigned by Scottprovost 09:15, 15 February 2007.



Arguments in favour

Go ASL Wikipedia!
  • Support Support Contrary to popular belief, sign languages are in fact completely separate from spoken languages. They develop in the same way as spoken languages, but are independent of them. For example, American Sign Language is not related to BANZSL family (British, Australian and New Zealand Sign Languages), except perhaps in some loanwords. Similarly, Bolivian Sign Language is a modified form of American Sign Language, signed in Bolivia, where the official languages are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. ASL is also used in many non-English speaking countries around the world; see [2]. The American Sign Language uses a SOV (subject object verb) word order; English (SVO) "I love you" becomes "I you love". Sign languages also have their own syntax and grammar. In other words, using automatic conversion from English to ASL would be just like using an automatic translator. So, my concusion is, that if there are enough willing contributors to start a Wikipedia in ASL, I'm all for it. Jon Harald Søby 18:08, 6 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support I am very for an ASL Wikipedia. I know that there have been some comments in the past request that ASL in not a written language. That is wrong. ASL has been a written language for a long time, it has just been hushed. One from of written ASL (and I use it daily) is SignWriting. As a Deaf native ASL user who writes in SignWriting daily, I would be more than willing to contribute to an ASL Wikipedia written in SignWriting. And just for clarification, ASL does not use SOV word order. It is OSV. (ie you I love, not I you love.) --Icemandeaf 22:49, 9 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support I am very in favour for Wiki articles to be converted into sign languages so that Deaf people all over the world can have access to information in their own language. I myself am not Deaf but am learning BSL. I'm sure this could be similar to the Spoken Article Wikipedia. I feel that Deaf people should be able to access pages in their own language. For many Deaf people, sign language is their only language. Just because a person is Deaf should not exclude them from accessing information on Wikipedia.-- 23:11, 9 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    Not converted; translated.   Jon Harald Søby 20:54, 10 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Weak Support. Pietras1988 19:29, 14 March 2007 (UTC)
    Read the guidelines; this is not a vote. Jon Harald Søby 20:44, 14 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support There is a large community that uses ASL (which is a separate language) and since there is a system of writing in ASL, there should be a Wikipedia for it. -- Imperator3733 17:12, 19 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support Sign Languages are the first language of millions of people aroundthe world. The ASL will be the first to show the way for other Sign Languages to create their own Wikipedias in their own languages. This will be a great add-value for the whole Sign Language community to build and maintain their cultures and languages. --Teemul 19:23, 28 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Complete Support. I am in favour of an American Sign Language Wikipedia, written in SignWriting. I use British Sign Language myself, and I certainly do hope that BSL its own one in time. I am very aware of how American Sign Language (also British Sign Language) is a separate language, and it is not 'signed English'. There is such a thing as Signed English, but American/British Sign Language is not it. They have completely different grammars from English, and overall I think it would do wonders for the SignWriting community and literacy with SignWriting, of which I am a new user but very impressed with. InnocentOdion 13:24, 8 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support In the sign languages the vocal part is missing, but deaf persons can very good read and if the deaf community is on wikipedia, They will also learn other languages and contribute in those languages. Carsrac 22:23, 15 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Complete Support. If this you read you seems odd when you begin from in taking knowledge, the reason in is that it is ASL. Now if that made sense to anybody, bravo. If not, that is because that is how people who speak ASL talk. It's grammar structure is completely different form English. In fact, if you were to compare it's structure to a language, it would be closer to Chinese, not English. So to call American Sign Language 'signed English,' you would be wrong in doing so. The only reason speakers of ASL understand English is because they live in a country who's most common language is English. And in order to get around in the United States, they must 1) understand English, or 2) get an interpreter. I see no reason why we should deny them of their first language when we are not denied of ours. IAmTheWalrus89460 10:16, 23 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Complete Support There's no question that ASL is a language. And, as a en:CODA, I can testify as proof that ASL is not just a supplement for spoken languages as I am hearing and I sign ASL natively. As a language with 10-20 Million native signers in the US and Canada and a variety of written forms (personally, I am partial to en:SignWriting), ASL is more than qualified to have a Wikipedia. SignPower 20:48, 7 October 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Complete Support Reasons listed above. Working for Him 20:31, 13 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Support To counter nonsensical oppose reasons. Shii 21:32, 15 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support Most "arguments" against are either of a technical nature (script) or completely misinformed. If we can fly to the moon and split atoms, then we can figure out how to get this writing-system running. Seb az86556 03:40, 27 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]
    • Remember what happened when we figured out how to split atoms? It's not hard to encode the writing system; but if we do so poorly enough, then we might have to delete the whole Wikipedia and start over. We need to measure twice, and cut once.--Prosfilaes 23:33, 27 April 2010 (UTC)[reply]
      • Not hard to encode the writing system? Hardly. But it has been done. Our latest alphabet was just completed last month, ISWA 2010. It is the refactor of our 2008 alphabet. We're ready to freeze it for 10 years (at least). The script encoding model called Binary SignWriting has been updated for the ISWA 2010 and is ready for a 10 year freeze as well. Binary SignWriting uses regular expressions for parsing and data validation. There is a UTF-8 wrapper that is size and data equivalent. The font is available under the Open Font License. The standards documents are available under Creative Commons, by-sa. The implementation is available as the SignWriting Image Server and available under the GPL 3. The SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin is also under the GPL 3. The plugin is currently a simple viewer that will mature as we move forward with our SignWriting Wiki. All of our data is compatible with the way we've been writing for the past 5 years. There are other ideas on how to encode SignWriting, but none that can be used. Sure it's easy to come up with an idea. Putting that idea into practice is where the work is required. Regards, Slevinski 19:39, 28 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
        • It's not legal to put this in Plane 4. Put it where it belongs, in a private use plane, plane 15 or 16.--Prosfilaes 01:06, 29 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]
          • True, it does belong in plane 15 or 16. The UTF-8 is for example only and not meant to be used in production. In the source, change the first byte of UTF-8 from "f1" to "fc" for plane 15 or "fd" for plane 16. I think that should do it. Slevinski 16:57, 1 June 2010 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support per the reasons above. —Ancient Apparition 04:20, 30 May 2011 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong Support There are people who use ASL as their native language, and you can read sample version on [3]. If it is easier for people to use ASL than for them to use English, then why not help them? My only issue with this proposal is about the technical implementation. Can this have titles in Signs or just in letters? Can we link to things in the middle of a text? Also, the way the signs are stored in the source text is quite esoteric. However, I think these issues will be handled. Support. πr2 (tc) 15:01, 9 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong Support - it's a perfectly valid, popular, recognized language. Both deaf and hearing use it, and for many Deaf people, it is their first or only language. I'm also willing to actively contribute to this wiki - Alison 09:06, 18 February 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - I'm a bit unsure about the technical aspects, but ASL is definitely a language completely distinct from English, and as such I don't see any reason to oppose a Wikipedia in it as long as there is font support. (Mind you, Unicode support would be preferable to private use font support.) —Celtic Minstrel (talk) 18:15, 10 June 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support American Sign Language is a language distinct from spoken English and it has its own writing system with a sufficient number of signers. TerranBoy (talk) 06:45, 12 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support It would be interesting to see how this language is written too. We should also get an Auslan one too (I'm Australian so that might be interesting to see however in Australia/New Zealand sign language isn't common with deaf people except when swimming due to most deaf people here having cochlear implants but still). 2001:8003:C829:E400:F5C4:1557:8868:335 08:34, 29 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]
  • Strong Support ASL is a completely independent language that deserves a wikipedia in a completely independent script. After the incubator look gets smoothed out a bit this should be automatically accepted. This has spent too much time being ignored & must have an active community of people. Sadly I do not sign ASL yet & am still learning my way around wikipedia. SodaSoummelier (talk) 00:28, 10 November 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Arguments against

  • Oppose Oppose ASL as a language has been transformed over the years into a cultural weapon. And the absolutists have used ASL as a weapon at the expense of deaf leaders seeking co-existance with the rest of the society.
    • Huh? Jon Harald Søby 20:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    • 1.) Huh? 2.) Though the Deaf community does seek co-existence and equality with the hearing world, that does not serve as a argument to limit the language of said community from obtaining a Wikipedia.
  • Oppose Oppose Users of ASL are deaf not blind, that means that they can read and write in english.
      • Trilingual people that speak English and other languages such as Spanish and French such as myself can also read and write in English, would you then oppose the Spanish and French wikipedias for that reason?Luciferwildcat (talk) 03:20, 31 March 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Native signers are very different than native speakers. The language center of the brain can be hard wired to either the eyes or the ears. If the language center is hard wired to the eye, then a phonetic writing system makes little sence. A visual writing system allows for literacy to develop. Once literacy has been learned, literacy in a second language is much easier. -Steve
    • Blind people read and write in English quite well, actually. There are many blind people actively involved in Wikimedia projects. But that's beside the point. Of course almost all ASL users are bilingual; such is the case with many languages, for example the Cherokee language. That is not a good reason to not make resources available to deaf people in both English and ASL.--Pharos 19:19, 10 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
      • Idea of creating ASL Wikipedia is as good as crating AMC Wikipedia (American Morse Code). Propably AMC Wikipedia will be easier to implement becouse only two signs are needed : . and -. Btw how about ChSL (Cherokee Sign Language) and NSL (Navajo Sign Language) editions ? — The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
        • That comment is just ignorant. Please read the arguments in favour. Also, if there was such a thing as Cherokee or Navajo Sign Languages (which there isn't; they use ASL), and there were people willing to contribute to a Wikipedia in those languages, I see no reason as to why they shouldn't have been created. Jon Harald Søby 12:25, 11 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
          • Native Americans had developed their own sign languages long time before America was "discovered". Sign languages were used for example during hunting to avoid detection. If you had not heard about that, does not indicates that Cherokee or Navajo sign languages are not exist.
            • Yes, that is probably true. But to my knowledge, those sign languages are not used today. But if they are, and there are enough contributors to start a Wikipedia in either of them, I see no reason why we shouldn't. Jon Harald Søby 14:01, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose There is no ASL literaly language, no books (exept manuals), newspapers etc. Pe7er 10:27, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose ASL was not invented for writing, but as an altervative for voice comunication. Pe7er 10:27, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    • ASL exists to communicate, it is not an alternative for voice communication. On average fifty percent of the people who use a sign language can hear perfectly well. It is also no argument that is relevant. GerardM 19:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose This is not a language, just a mean of comunication. You can spell with your hand every single word in english or any other laguage using handshapes, but for short ther are signs for whole words. Also stantard sentence structure is sometimes different just becouse it is easier to articulate message, not becouse it is other language. Pe7er 10:27, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Kurdbuddha (talk) 05:16, 24 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
    • It does have a grammar, a syntax and does have an ISO 639 code.. English is also just a means to communicate.. thank you.. GerardM 19:41, 12 June 2007 (UTC)[reply]
      • Yes, it does have a grammar and syntax and all that, but you're forgetting that sign language was, and is still meant for person to person communications. Deaf folk are perfectly capable of, and very often do, read and write using the language they know with letters, not sign language characters. Also, I don't think it'd be practical, as not everyone knows how to write ASL characters in the first place.
        • Nonetheless, ASL is a language of its own, with a large community of users, and what you are forgetting is that English is not a primary, but a secondary language for most of the Deaf community. It is highly offensive and quite ignorant to presuppose that, simply because many Deaf people understand and can write in English, they should not be afforded the option of contributing to and enjoying a resource in their native language. A similar argument could be made that we should do away with the German Wikipedia simply because many Germans speak English. AmiDaniel 17:46, 3 July 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    • Please read the arguments in favour, and don't make statements when you have no knowledge on the subject. Thank you. Jon Harald Søby 14:00, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose To be perfectly honest, given that ASL is a purely visual medium, I don't think an ASL-Wiki would be very effective, as it's almost impossible to edit as effectively as with a language that has a written form. Yes, there are tools such as SignWriting, but how many people are as fluent in SignWriting compared to those who consider themselves fluent in ASL? --Micahbrwn 18:45, 17 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Suspend until SignWriting gets added to Unicode. Hackish ways such as (ab)using the PUA don't seem reliable enough and can easily cause conflicts with software and/or fonts. -- Prince Kassad 10:23, 19 August 2007 (UTC)[reply]

People who speak sign language can understand english.--Arceus fan 20:36, 7 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

First of all there are many sign languages. Second of all so what ? Does it matter that many people that can write ASL can als write English ? Thanks, GerardM 22:28, 7 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Sign languages have there own terminology and grammar. They are in no way related to the language that is spoken in the environment where the language is signed. What is asked for is a written Wikipedia in ASL. GerardM 21:13, 10 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Two questions. Firstly, how many people in the world use ASL. Secondly, of those, how many cannot read and write English? --GW_SimulationsUser Page | Talk 22:11, 10 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Many words in ASL do not translate to English. So to say that is ONLY exists to supplement other languages, is false and the response of somebody who is ignorant on the situation. Next, you say, "Since Wikipedia is not primarily a spoken project, there is no need for it to be provided in sign language." Wouldn't you think since it is NOT a "spoken project," it would make sense to have a language that is NOT spoken? (not spoken in the sense that they don't communicate through audio linguistics but rather visual linguistics.) Next, asking how many people in the world use ASL is like asking how many people in the world speak Swahili. I am sure people outside the eastern part of Africa speak Swahili, but not as many as those actually in Eastern Africa. So a better question would be, how many people in the US speak ASL? Answer: 10,000,000. However, not all are deaf. It is the third most used language in the United States. IAmTheWalrus89460 10:49, 23 September 2009

There are in between 100.000 to 500.000 people who use ASL. The question how many of these can read or write English is not a criteria in granting a status to a language. GerardM 23:04, 10 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Lets put it another way then. How many people use it as a first language. Also, please could you show several examples of documents which are written in ASL. --GW_SimulationsUser Page | Talk 23:20, 11 February 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Examples of written ASL are easy to find. You can go to or You can read the Deaf Perspective on SignWriting (PDF). You can read Children's Literature including "The Cat in the Hat". You can read parts of the Bible. There are over 30 sign languages that have dictionaries from a couple of hundred signs to several thousand. The list goes on and on. We are making progress; we have been for over 30 years. We are picking up speed. Soon we'll have an ASL Wikipedia that's official or unofficial. Our latest symbol set is the best yet and available under the Open Font License. Our editor is getting better and better. It's a great time to write sign language! -Steve 16:06, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose Optimal would having a writing system handled by Unicode. Possibly usable might be one with free fonts. It's simply not feasible, however, to start this project without knowing exactly how the language is going to be written. That's just going to produce an awful mess, useful to few.--Prosfilaes 21:10, 11 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]
    • We are working on a free SignWriting font that will be available under the Open Font License. The current character encoding model uses 2 octet character codes and is theoretically compatible with Unicode. However, the current allocation of 512 character codes in Unicode for SignWriting is insufficient. Unicode will be a committee process and best handled after we have a working solution. -Steve 17:37, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose Oppose --Ilaria - scrivimi 19:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC) I think it like Pe7er[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I think this is not a language, just a mean of comunication. Mikhailov Kusserow (talk) 04:52, 25 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Most deaf people can read and write in normal English. Of course they can't hear it, but they can see and read English. —§ stay (sic)! 14:33, 27 December 2009 (UTC)[reply]
    • So? That they could read and write normal English is also true of most Irish, Welsh, Scots, Gaelic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish speakers, and I suspect I could dismiss a couple dozen more Wikipedias on those grounds.--Prosfilaes 19:41, 5 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
      • Being bilingual or multilingual has nothing to do with my reason. People who are deaf certainly have hearing problems, but can nonetheless still comprehend just about any language there is (i.e., english, spanish, italian, greek, japanese, russian, hebrew, etc). Sign language is mostly used by people who need special education or treatment. Most regular deaf people on the other hand can understand a written language. For example, a deaf person can be fluent in reading and writing english and swedish languages and have no communication problems without sign language. —§ stay (sic)! 23:27, 6 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
        • Sign language is used by a lot of deaf people with no other need for special education. A Finnish person can be fluent in reading and writing English and Swedish and have no communication problems caused by not using Finnish, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't have a Finnish Wikipedia. Sign language is a language like any other.--Prosfilaes 01:19, 7 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
          • The Finnish, Swedish, Icelandic, and other languages have a significant number of native and fluent speakers. Additionally they are also national languages for their native countries respectively. However no country or jurisdiction lists sign language as an official language. Also can you back your statement that many deaf people uses sign language? And please don't steer the discussion off-topic by including Finnish or Irish or any other language, its confusing and as I mentioned before, my reason for opposing explains itself. —§ stay (sic)! 04:01, 9 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
            • I don't know how to reply to a statement that talks about other languages without bringing them up myself; every single comment of yours has mentioned other languages. Being a national language is not a prerequisite. There's an active Navaho Wikipedia that's not a national language nor has as many speakers. w:American Sign Language tells us about a half million people speak ASL as their primary language.--Prosfilaes 13:40, 9 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
              • The Navaho language is the native language of the w:Navajo people. They are the ethnic group of Native Americans distinct from other Native American tribes with their own culture and language. The Navaho language is an official language (alongisde with English) in the w:Navajo Nation, a semi-autonomous jurisdiction recognized by the federal government.
                Another issue I want to address is, English-language projects are written or in this case typed for people to read on the screen. Sign language cannot really be "typed". Sign language is designed as such that requires using your hands or body movement for direct conservation, from face to face. In case the English Wikipedia is too hard for deaf people to comprehend, they can use the Simple English Wikipedia. —§ stay (sic)! 05:40, 11 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
                • The English language is spoken and its sounds are transcribed. The symbols used for written language do not faithfully reproduce the sounds as used in the French, Dutch or German language. However the Latin script works for all of them. In an analogous way, the symbols used in the SignWriting script allow for the transcription of sign languages. Thanks, GerardM 10:51, 11 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Opposed - I see a couple of issues in this, first that there is no recognized IME fo typing in the signwriting code, so how you would create the articles is a mystery, and secondly, I don't in all fairness see the point of a Wikipedia in ASL. English is the first language of America, and most of the deaf people I know can read it, in fact, 99% of those I know can read it. If they choose NOT to read it, that's a personal decision - we should not cater to a section of society which chooses not to read the primary language of their own country. A wikipedia in Sign or ASL would be an enhancement, not a necessity. BarkingFish 20:29, 15 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

STRUCK - Moving to support - I have been talking with Gerard M. and others who shall remain nameless, and I realise that objecting to this one, and then having the balls to request one in another language is absolutely wrong. I know Signing is an essential to many people in their daily lives, from my own experiences of it, and for me to be a complete freaking hypocrite and do what I did here sucks gas, backwards. I apologise to those I have offended with my remarks, and hope that you will not hold this against me. BarkingFish 00:20, 2 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Wow. Yeah, let's nuke every minority-wiki since they refuse to use the language of "their country". Seb az86556 00:18, 16 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I think you're being too narrow here; Chinese is far and away the most common language of Earth, so why should we cater to a section of society which chooses not to read the primary language of their own planet?--Prosfilaes 22:19, 27 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]
OK, well let's see how narrow we really can get. Based on the proposal and subsequent result that this language is eligible for a Wikipedia, i've filed a request for a Wikipedia in British Sign Language, ISO 639-3 bfi. British Sign Language is the active first language of about 85-90% of the UK's deaf population, and since it is not interchangable with ASL, a Wikipedia in BSL would be required to not discriminate against deaf people who don't use ASL. BarkingFish 18:44, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Requests for Wikipedias should be done by users who want to create them, not users who just want to make a point.--Prosfilaes 22:43, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
I wouldn't have proposed it unless I wanted to make it, Prosfilaes. Please don't assume I'm out to make a point, the reasoning for the creation of a BSL wikipedia is as perfectly valid as the creation of this one. I've just left a job in Social Care & Welfare after several years, and whilst I'm not a native user, nor indeed deaf, I have had to learn basic BSL to have conversations with some of the people I have been working with, both staff and clients. And as I said, BSL and ASL are not interchangeable, so a BSL wikipedia makes some sense. BarkingFish 22:56, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
A BSL Wikipedia is eligible under the same requirements as a ASL Wikipedia request is. Thanks, GerardM 23:55, 1 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Oppose X-X-X-TREME Oppose - Are U Stupid?! There's NO need for it,Wikipedia isn't a "Language Playground". — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wikidexel2 (talk)
I X-X-TREMELY Oppose this "comment". Are U Seriously making this comment after proposing your own weird "Old Wikipedia" thing?! There is NO need for this insult to the signing (and Deaf) community. If you wish for your comment to be taken seriously, please write it seriously. πr2 (tc) 14:46, 9 February 2013 (UTC)[reply]
And I'm sorry for writing a rude comment like that. I'll hope you'll forgive me. However, Langcom has already marked this as eligible. We're just waiting for technical details (isn't that fun?). PiRSquared17 (talk) 21:53, 27 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]
One could easily say: "Many minority spoken languages are not commonly used for writing. Only sounds." ... and yet we do not oppose their having Wikipedias, and so why should we prevent ASL from having one? Espreon (talk) 19:10, 31 October 2014 (UTC)[reply]
@Espreon: People write Norfuk and Scots in Norfolk Islands and Scotland, respectively. So what other wikis do you have as proof to persuade me? You don't see very many people writing ASL in any country. --AmaryllisGardener talk 03:06, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Oppose Unfortunately, I have to oppose this one, Wikipedia is for written languages, ASL is written in English, just as languages that are spoken but not written are not eligible for Wikipedia, hand signals are not a form of writing, but rather a form of non-verbal speaking. Abrahamic Faiths (talk) 17:53, 18 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I agree that signing isn't a form of writing, but neither is speaking. All sign languages are a form of non-verbal speaking. What does that have to do with writing? Using language, we express concepts on paper or computer screen. The concepts are not expressed directly from brain to brain, but through language.
Regarding the idea that ASL is written in English, this is wrong on many levels. If I write "FATHER", I have not written the sign for father. If I describe the 5-handshape touching the forehead, I have not written ASL. English is what hearing people may use to write ASL, but it is not ASL that they write.
If you are interested, please check out the SignWriting Symposium 2014 presentation 15 from Tunisia. Long story short, two different groups of Deaf kids were given the same test, written in different languages. Neither group was given help during the exam. The first group's exam was written in the spoken language. The second group's exam was writing in sign language using SignWriting. The kids taking the spoken language test failed miserably, even though they had been exposed to the spoken language in written form during their education. The kids taking the sign language test written in SignWriting passed with amazing results, even though they had never seen SignWriting before. I was entranced by Wafa Laajili's passion, even though I needed the translator to understand her presentation. You can watch the presentation online starting at the 3 hour and 33 minute mark. -Slevinski (talk) 02:30, 19 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]



There was a large discussion here before. I moved it to the discussion tab. -Steve 21:29 January 24, 2008 (UTC)

Why not an ASL Wikipedia with several different writing methods and modes?


This request is to have a Wikipedia for American Sign Language. We have discussed several ways to do that: Stokoe Notation, Sutton SignWriting, HamNoSys, and even a video section. What's wrong with using all of those to make this Wikipedia the most accessible to all ASL users? I know that Chinese has a simple and traditional. Why not we have something like that? We can talk about what we think works better than something else, and we will never agree. I personally don't see anything wrong with any of these methods. True, it will mean that there has to be someone to do each of these methods to get this Wikipedia going. Somehow, I don't think that will be a problem because everyone has mentioned a favor for one of these methods. And unless I am mistaken, there has not been one comment that has been against the idea of a Wikipedia in ASL. If this is the case, why not let the readers (or viewers) choose which method they wish to read (or view) an ASL Wikipedia. Everyone will have different opinions about how to go about it, but if we agree to have it why not just have each method go for it?--Icemandeaf 20:35, 11 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • I agree. But automatic conversion must be a priority from the start; it would be very unfortunate if we developed a segregated mishmash of ASL articles in different systems that were only intelligible to one segment of the community. I do think, though, that videos should be secondary to written text, just as the spoken article sound recordings on Wikipedia are secondary to the written text. This is because videos, like sound recordings, are fundamentally unwiki-editable (incidentally, this seems to have been the main reason the first ASL Wikipedia proposal was rejected, because it was too video-centric). I do think though, considering that most ASL users are not yet familiar with any of the various writing systems, we could have a "holding pen" for video uploads without text, that could then be transcribed by experienced persons and formally published as articles.--Pharos 21:21, 11 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]
    • "Automatic conversion" what do you mean by this? Automatic conversion of the English Wikipedia to ASL? Not possible. Automatic conversion between SignWriting, Stokoe, and HamNoSys? I am not a programming expert, but the systems are VERY different-- it would be highly doubtful. My personal opinion- the only writing system for ASL that is fully capable of writing every nuance of the language AND has an ease of reading/learning/writing that will make it useable by a wide community is SignWriting. It is not accepted 100% by all deaf people yet, but it is used by more than any of the other choices, and it is the only one (my opinion remember?) that has a ghost of a chance to become THE writing system for ASL, and any other Sign Language. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
      • Actually, I know of a project that will be designed to do exactly that ... transfer between various methods of transcribing/writing sign languages. It is still in its conceptual stages at this point, so it is not something that is available right now. When I hear more about that, I can let you know. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Thiessenstuart (talk)

ASL video practicalities


In researching methods for representing sign language on video, I discovered MobileASL, a system intended for ASL video compression on mobile phones. It is I think a proprietary system, largely based on giving higher resolution to the face and hands than to the rest of the picture. But one of its developers, Richard Ladner, though he expressed skepticism at the usefulness of sign writing systems, was kind enough to give some general advice on ASL videos and compression. He pointed to their research (PDF), which suggests that 10 frames per second on a 320 x 240 field is a good standard, with their best results at 25kbps. He recommended against using signed avatars as "not up to the task yet". He also recommended H.264 as a compression standard; Wikimedia projects currently use Ogg Theora for videos. To be frank, there is a lot of that paper that's beyond my experience, both in signing and in image compression; I'm sure it would be profitable for others to look at it.

It also strikes me that there are a couple of differences between Wikipedia's goals and that of a mobile phone video system. For one, Wikipedia is not real-time, so we could theoretically use more computationally intensive video compression. Also we can expect our contributors to record videos in a structured way, so that a contributor could consciously "confine" their signing to a smaller space if that would help. And because personal touches are irrelevant for an encyclopedia, we could get way with black-and-white videos if that was necessary.--Pharos 18:29, 20 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The MobileASL project is a research project that uses the open source x264 implementation of the H.264 standard [5]. The particular suggestions of 10 frames per second, 320 x 240 resolution and 25 kbps are only for current cell phones that have limited bandwidth and computer speed. For broadband, more frames per second, higher resolution, and bit rates would be preferred. We do recommend more bits be allocated for the face because of the subtle facial expressions that are important in sign language. We believe, but have not confirmed, that the hands may need more bits when the signer is finger spelling. --Ladner 04:47, 21 March 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The WMF has just put out a press release (see foundation:Wikipedia Invites Users to Take Part in Open, Collaborative Video Experiment) on a project that could finally make collaborative video editing possible. This would be very good news for the video aspect of an ASL Wikipedia, and hopefully for other sign language Wikipedia in future..--Pharos 18:52, 21 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]



Hello, some consensus on the format is needed before the wiki can be approved. Here are some points I've thought of while reading through information; hopefully it will help jump start discussion.

  • Video is a poor format as the primary content for a wiki, since it's not easily editable. However, it would be a very good feature alongside another format, like the spoken text project on en-Wikipedia.
  • HamNoSys is not intended for common use, and is not widely used. HamNoSys text is long and difficult to decipher, and is largely unfinished[6].
  • Stokoe notation is linearly arranged and uses Latin characters, which makes it easy to edit on a wiki. However, it is not widely used and cannot show facial expression, which is critical for American Sign Language. It does not provide for relationship between signs, so it is limited to strings of isolated concepts. Inflection is difficult to notate.
  • SignWriting is widely used. It allows complex sentences (are strings of symbols called sentences?), inflection, and facial expression. However, it is complexly arranged— this is both good (since it is easier to interpret) and bad (since it is difficult to represent in a text box).
  • Using multiple primary formats simultaneously may result in disjointed articles, multiple communities, conflicting policies, disputes, and general difficulty.

Based on these points, I think the best format choice would be SignWriting (if a way can be found to edit it easily) with secondary video representations. —{admin} Pathoschild 23:32:10, 08 April 2007 (UTC)

    • You certainly make a good point that we need to have an agreement as to how to have an ASL Wikipedia. I have to agree that SignWriting with secondary video representations seems to be the best way. The other options just don't do our language justice. I am sure that SignText (an online SignWriting text editor) could be easily incorporated into the ASL Wikipedia for easy editing. Just my thoughts. --Icemandeaf 07:56, 11 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]
      • Absolutely, SignWriting with video as a secondary method is the best option at this point. I'm rather encouraged to see evidence of some collaboration (or at least communication) with Valerie Sutton. – Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 23:34, 15 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]



Why wouldn't we start with an ASL wiktionary? That would be immensely useful, especially since the use of ASL with young children is becoming more common. There has also been progress on an in-wiki video player [7] -Ravedave 02:55, 11 April 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I would strongly suggest a SignText version of the Wikipedia in SignWriting which would allow a corpus to grow in ASL and other signed languages. The larger the body of text, the more accurate the translation. Only SignWriting is widely used and has the capacity to include facial expressions and iconic location markers and other linguistic markers for which English has no equivalent (tone of expression, rapidity of sign). [Charles Butler, 06:32 11 April 2007 (EDT)]

I'm also in favor of an ASL wiktionary; we're just dealing with individual signs, which can be shown as a video clip, and the corresponding definitions can written in English, or a similiar writing system for ASL. Or, add the ability for users to submit ASL video clips to individual English words in the main Wiktionary. unsigned by 18:54, 24 February 2008.

I agree that an ase.wiktionary would be a great idea, but that's not what this proposal is about. – Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 23:21, 15 March 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Wouldn't that be asl.wiktionary? Either way, an ASL Wiktionary would be a good idea. -- Imperator3733 17:14, 19 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]
According to SIL, asl is the code for the Asilulu language.. ase is the code for ASL. Thanks, GerardM 07:00, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
An ASL Wiktionary might be a better "jumping off point" for the general idea of ASL wikis; it would allow the community to test out everything on a site smaller than an encyclopedia, though a dictionary is still sufficiently sizable to provide plenty of opportunities to work the kinks out. EVula // talk // // 19:13, 19 May 2008 (UTC)[reply]
A Wiktionary does not provide them anything they not already have. The SignWriting organisation has its own dictionary project. GerardM 07:00, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Of course it does! English has had numerous dictionaries prior to Wiktionary; why shouldn't the same happen for ASL? I actually think a Wiktionary is a better project to open than a Wikipedia for now.  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 09:53, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Wiktionary sounds like a better idea than Wikipedia for this language. —Giggy 09:57, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Why is it that you want to decide for others what they should do ? Why should they listen to your preferences, are you going to make a difference here ? Thanks, GerardM 17:40, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, I find your comment extremely rude regardless of whether or not I would contribute to the proposed project. Furthermore, I would indeed contribute to ase.wiktionary if it existed!  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 20:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]
for open wiktionary wait the consensus for wikipedia --Ilaria - scrivimi 06:48, 1 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

As I explained on Foundation-l, a Wiktionary is closer to being realized than a Wikipedia at this point. Work on skinning and translation will have to be done, but the basic input of SignWriting is sufficient for writing a dictionary. Interested readers should see "[Foundation-l Signal languages Wikimedia projects"].  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 22:13, 24 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I have several issues with that:
  • There are already dictionaries for sign languages in SignWriting, so it is a repetition of an existing effort
  • You are telling others what to do. They are volunteers and chose to do a Wikipedia.
  • Wiktionary is not that great an idea because so much effort is duplicated, it makes more sense to use OmegaWiki..

Thanks, GerardM 22:23, 24 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I am not telling anyone to do anything, and I am a volunteer editor, as are you. If you haven't noticed, I am not objecting to the creation of this project (in fact, I support it quite strongly) - however I also believe that at this point in time a better option would be a Wiktionary. As to whether your personal hobby horse is better than Wiktionary or not... We spoke about this already. I happen to believe that the OED is better than enwiktionary, but I do not argue on that basis that enwiktionary shouldn't exist. Even if OmegaWiki or pre-existing paper ASL dictionaries are better than Wiktionary, that is no reason to oppose creating a wiktionary. While I'm sure you find nothing wrong with your attitude, I do (again). It'd be nice to have minimal respect from others involved in Wikimedia, especially among those on the same side of some dividing line such as this one.  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 00:51, 2 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]
It didn't seem like anyone was jumping at the idea of proposing one... so I went ahead and did it anyway... Requests for new languages/Wiktionary American Sign Language -- — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Working for Him (talk)

My thoughts


@Jon Harald Søby, Kneiphof, Teemul, and Carsrac: @Working for Him, Shii, Alison, and PiRSquared17: Pinging some that this might apply to. Most of the oppose reasons are nonsense, but a few users have reasonable, relevant rationales, IMO including me. Maybe if you don't take it from me, you'd take it from referenced statements at Wikipedia, including... "there is no well-established writing system for ASL", "written sign language remained marginal among the public". Don't take this the wrong way, ASL is a language and should be treated as one. But it should not be considered a written language. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think most people who can sign ASL, know how to write ASL. If you believe otherwise, then do you think that if one can sign it but cannot write it, that they don't know ASL? As always, if you what I say into consideration, then I'll do the same for you. Regards, --AmaryllisGardener talk 04:20, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

This proposal is already marked as eligible. It is definitely true that sign language is mostly signed (that goes without saying/signing), but SignWriting is almost usable enough for this purpose. If another standard for encoding signs is developed, such as Unicode, would you be able to support? PiRSquared17 (talk) 04:32, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Replying to the question "If another standard for encoding signs is developed, such as Unicode, would you be able to support?", if so I don't think I'd support it, but I don't think I'd keep my stance either, more like move to neutral. If the code is finished, (not trying to be negative, but since it has been worked on for a while, I doubt it will happen anytime soon.) maybe then it would look more like a regular Wikipedia. I still think that ASL is limited to signing, but anyway. P.S. even though it's eligible, it doesn't necessarily mean that it would be used by ASL signers. Thanks for the reply. Regards, --AmaryllisGardener talk 04:40, 9 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Sign languages are written languages. There is no possible debate. When applying for the ISO script code of "sgnw", the committee was overwhelmed by the amount of material that was submitted from around the world and asked that no further examples be submitted. They said that the amount of written material for SignWriting was staggering and dwarfed other minority language examples. Regarding Unicode, the symbols of the International SignWriting Alphabet 2010 have been formally approved for Unicode 8 and will be included in the next release in 2015. Additionally, there are TrueType Fonts available that support the Unicode 8 specification. Regarding someone who knows how to sign but not to write, they are properly called illiterate. Being called illiterate does not mean that they do not know the sign language, it means they are unable to read and write. A better term might be semi-literate, because SignWriting's iconicity makes reading natural and easy from the start. Just saying. -Slevinski (talk) 03:49, 10 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I always like to cite WP: "Sign languages do not have a traditional or formal written form. Many deaf people do not see a need to write their own language", and "So far, there is no formal acceptance of any of these writing systems for any sign language, or even any consensus on the matter. None are widely used." --AmaryllisGardener talk 05:05, 10 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Wikipedia on Writing, Another featural script is SignWriting, the most popular writing system for many sign languages. I understand that people who write sign language are the minority of a minority. We haven't reached the tipping point. As writing becomes easier and more prevalent, more people will automatically join. There is an excellent paper titled A Survey of Those in the U.S. Deaf Community about Reading and. Writing ASL. The results, 1/3 strongly support writing, 1/3 strongly oppose, and 1/3 see the benefit but aren't interested yet. I believe the participants might have been skewed towards those who support writing, but the conclusions are definite and obvious. Chapter 6 conclusion shows that there is a snowball effect with writing. The ASL Wikipedia can help with this effect. I am a firm believer in the benefits of literacy that includes read, writing, and editing. I am a firm believer in the benefits of group editing wiki style. -Slevinski (talk) 14:42, 10 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
  • Chapter 6 conclusion: "The widespread use of a written form of ASL emerged as a factor that would persuade most of the respondents to adopt a written form of ASL . The majority of the respondents would want to learn to read ASL if reading materials existed. Also, most agreed that they would want to learn to read and write ASL if (1) their friends, (2) the local community, (3) the national Deaf community, (4) individuals they respected, or (5) Gallaudet University adopted a writing system for ASL. Therefore, if the majority of people in the Deaf community accepted literacy in ASL, then even the respondents who lack a personal motivation would learn to read and write ASL."

SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin


It's 2010 and time for the next step. 2 main hurdles remain before we can have a Wikipedia for American Sign Language. First, we need a working localized wiki in sign language. Second, we need a vibrant community of writers/translators that can complete 300 articles that can stand up to academic review. I'm working on the first step. So far, I can add basic SignWriting content to MediaWiki. There are 2 parts to the plugin. A viewer and an editor. The viewer works with with the Binary SignWriting open standard. The data is entered as hex wrapped with simple markup or as UTF-8 wrapped text. With the UTF-8 wrapper, sign language can be used as standard text within MediaWiki or anywhere UTF-8 is used. Take a look at Hello world. or the analysis page to get an idea of how the UTF-8 wrapper works. All of the content of SignPuddle Online is available as BSW (hex) or UTF-8 data.

In March, 2 flavors of the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin will be available: a viewer and an editor. It would be great if we could get the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin viewer up and running on the official WikiMedia Incubator. An official incubator project will make final approval that much quicker. An official incubator will allow the sign language proponents a chance to work on the localization and the content without concerns for backup and maintenance. -Steve 17:26, 21 January 2010 (UTC)

Submitted a bug for getting the extension reviewed and committed to SVN. Do you have a bugzilla account so you can track changes to bugs? Next I'll open one to deploy it for testing on incubator.  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 18:59, 21 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, I'll join Bugzilla. The current beta of the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin is not ready to deploy yet. I should be ready in March 2010 with a deploy-able beta 2. We can deploy the viewer by itself or include the editor as well. - Steve 20:33, 21 January 2010 (UTC)
It's such a pity that no incubator has started. It's been 4 months since the plug-in is available. Hopefully we will start soon. Kanzler31 03:56, 24 July 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Any developments since then? --eugrus (talk) 22:00, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
This project was a false start. See the ASL Wikipedia Project instead. Slevinski (talk) 19:26, 20 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

ASL Wikipedia Project on Wikimedia Labs


We have started the ASL Wikipedia Project on Wikimedia Labs. Slevinski (talk) 19:25, 20 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

The wiki seems to now be locked... --Yair rand (talk) 03:33, 27 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Two things may be going on here. First, Ryan Lane requested that we don't allow anonymous edits on Wikimedia Labs. Only registered users with confirmed emails are allowed to edit. Second, Labs is undergoing maintenance right now and in not available at this time. Later today, they are hoping to be done with the upgrade and they will reboot the instance which should restore connectivity. You can access the Wikimedia Labs chat on freenode to follow the action. --Slevinski (talk) 21:45, 27 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Catastrophic failure on Mediawiki Labs during upgrade. Rebuilding server. --Slevinski (talk) 20:54, 28 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Server repair complete. --Slevinski (talk) 20:24, 29 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The content language on that wiki appears to be set to "en". Are there plans to change this? --Yair rand (talk) 19:45, 3 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, there are plans to change this. We need to rebuild the server, install the language tools, and pull the "ase" interface from TranslateWiki. Work in progress. Slevinski (talk) 13:01, 19 March 2013 (UTC)[reply]

ASL Wikipedia started on Incubator


The ASL Wikipedia Project has moved from Wikimedia Labs to Incubator. The new SignWriting Gadget makes it possible for Incubator to support SignWriting. Development continues. Slevinski (talk) 20:56, 31 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]

ASL Wikipedia: SVG or Unicode


Currently the ASL Wikipedia on Incubator uses a lite ASCII markup (known as Formal SignWriting) as the source of the written sign and converts the ASCII to SVG on the client side. This approach is used rather than Unicode for two reasons. First, the 672 accepted Unicode characters are insufficient to fully define a sign. Second, the fonts available only deals with the individual symbols that make up a sign and can not handle the 2-dimensional nature of the written sign.

In an ideal world, any script that seeks wide spread acceptance would use Unicode. Towards this end, the Center for Sutton Movement Writing is proposing an additional 17 Unicode characters to complete the script encoding of Sutton SignWriting. Before the official proposal is sent to the Unicode Technical Committee, a 2-D font must first be created to prove the utility of the additional characters. For the 2-D font development, a Wikimedia grant project proposal has been created. This project would build on the 1-D fonts available for SignWriting. Please view the grant project page for more information. Comments and endorsements are appreciated. -Slevinski (talk) 16:07, 9 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Site is broken


The test website is completely broken. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Σιδέρης10 (talk)

No, it's not, you just likely have a browser that can't render it correctly. It displays and functions fine, but only for certain users. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:28, 27 November 2023 (UTC)[reply]

See also