Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting


1. SignWriting Annual Membership Meeting
February 9, 1997. DAC staff members Darline Clark, Kevin Clark, and Dave Gunsauls presented SignWriting to 34 people in La Jolla, California. The three gave a summary of the accomplishments of 1996, which included Darline teaching SignWriting in Nicaragua. Janice Vasquez, who later traveled to Nicaragua, also attended the meeting and shared her plans to work with SignWriting as a part of her masters thesis in linguistics. Angela Payinger and Nancy Romero interpreted.

2. SignWriting Published in Vertical Columns
In January, 1997, Valerie Sutton announced that the DAC was officially switching over to writing vertically in all publications. Others agreed and decided to accept the change. Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa was the first to publish SignWriting written vertically in the foreword to the Brazilian children's story "Uma Menina Chamada Kauana" in January, 1997.

3. Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa, From Brazil, Visits the DAC
In June, 1997, Antonio Carlos, who helped establish the use of SignWriting in Porto Alegre, Brazil, traveled to La Jolla to meet with members of the DAC. Antonio Carlos presented a talk to the DAC on June 16th, and also met privately with Lucinda O'Grady Batch, Valerie Sutton and computer programmer, Richard Gleaves.

4. SignWriter Computer Program "Prints In Vertical Columns"
In July, 1997, Richard Gleaves created ColumnMaker, a small computer program that converts horizontal SignWriting to vertical SignWriting. Files can then be printed in either format. ColumnMaker is now included with the SignWriter Computer Program Package, version 4.3.

5. New SignWriter Computer Program In Java
In August, 1997, Richard Gleaves, who has been the sole programmer and designer of the SignWriter Computer Program for 11 years, passed the baton to programmer Richard Kadel, at DTAI, Inc. Kadel, and others at DTAI, will be creating a new version of SignWriter in the Java computer programming language. Sutton is redesigning and adding to the symbol set, expanding the program into a more sophisticated "sign language processor". It is hoped that a test version of SignWriter 5.0 will be ready in 1998. The program will be "cross platform", available on the Macintosh and Windows. It may be the forerunner to a "SignWriting Chat Room" on the world wide web.

6. The SignWriting Children's Stories Series began in 1997. It is a new collection of colorful booklets written in English and American Sign Language, by Darline Clark. This is the first time the DAC has published in color, which is now possible because printing in color is less expensive. Stories completed in 1997 were: Goldilocks & The Three Bears, Humpty Dumpty and Cinderella Part One.

7. Cursive SignWriting Starts To Take Form
In 1997, Cursive SignWriting began to evolve. It stems from the old SignWriting Shorthand, which is slowly changing from a "stenography system" for professionals, into a "cursive handwriting" for daily use. Cursive SignWriting is used by skilled writers.

8. New Video Series "Deaf Perspectives on SignWriting" Video Two.
In October, 1997, Sutton almost completed the final editing on the second video in the series, which will be an exciting program explaining the history of SignWriting. Yet to be added are the interpreter's voices and English captions.

9. SignWriting Seminar in Las Vegas, Nevada
On November 8, 1997, at the invitation of James Womack, a Deaf professor at the Community College of Southern Nevada, Valerie Sutton presented an 8-hour SignWriting Seminar to students, both Deaf and hearing. James Womack began by discussing the controversial issues surrounding SignWriting and Sutton then demonstrated the SignWriter Computer Program and taught basic symbols.

10. The SignWritingSite
1997 was the "year of the web" for Valerie Sutton, who enjoyed being webmaster to two web sites...one for SignWriting and one for DanceWriting. The SignWritingSite increased its daily hits as the year progressed. This was accomplished in two ways. First, Sutton posted a new free lesson online every first and third Monday of each month. Second, Sutton joined different internet discussion lists related to deafness and education, such as DEAF-L, SLLING-L, PARENTDEAF-HH and SIGN-SPEAK. Sutton announced the newly posted free lessons to these internet lists. Interest heightened and more people learned how to read SignWriting. The most popular postings were the children's stories and the article entitled "Deaf Opinions on SignWriting".

Postings on the SignWritingSite in 1997 were:

February 04, 1997 - Children's Story in Brazilian Sign Language
February 04, 1997 - SignWriting In Brazil
February 24, 1997 - Can SignWriting Be Written By Hand?
March 03, 1997 - Writing ASL Grammar, Lesson One: Topics
March 19, 1997 - Spring Newsletter: Salk Institute Uses SignWriting
April 07, 1997 - SignWriting Workshop In Brazil Broadcast On The Internet
April 14, 1997 - Article Written In ASL: "National Association of Deaf"
April 21, 1997 - Goldilocks & the Three Bears in ASL
April 21, 1997 - Questions & Answers About SignWriting
April 30, 1997 - First DanceWriting Web Site
August 04, 1997 - Article Written In ASL: "Fond Memories"
August 18, 1997 - SignWriting History Chapters 1-6
September 8, 1997 - Humpty Dumpty in ASL
September 22, 1997 - ASL Picture Dictionary, Part One
October 06, 1997 - Lessons In SignWriting, Lesson Two: Hands
October 19, 1997 - SignWriting Email List Archives
November 03, 1997 - Cinderella in ASL, Part One
November 17, 1997 - Deaf Opinions on SignWriting
December 01, 1997 - Lessons In SignWriting, Lesson Three: Contact Symbols
December 15, 1997 - Deaf Issues: "Protest at Gallaudet" by Kevin Clark

11. SignWriting Email List
The SignWriting Email List grew from around 50 members to over 500 in 1997. Every week messages are posted to the list discussing the issues surrounding SignWriting. It is hoped this will become an internet discussion list called SIGNWRITING-L in 1998.

12. With Heartfelt Thanks To Our 1997 Sponsors
Without them none of the above could have been possible! Many thanks to the R.C. Baker Foundation, the Lluella Morey Murphey Foundation, the George Hoag Family Foundation, the Briggs Foundation, the Edwards Foundation, the Legler Benbough Foundation, and all of the individuals and Board members who generously contributed to our success in 1997!