Deaf Action Committee For SignWriting


1. SignWriting Annual Membership Meeting
Twenty people attended our annual SignWriting Membership meeting on February 7, 1999 in La Jolla, including members of the Deaf Community, sign language students, scientists, and people working in marketing and fund raising. Darline and Dave Gunsauls told about their work with the DAC in 1998. Phil Carmona & Nancy Romero interpreted. Refreshments were donated by Jonathan's, a local market.

2. New Publication: Learn To Read American Sign Language in SignWriting
Transcribed from the video: "SignWriting Children's Stories Series", signed in ASL by Darline Clark Gunsauls, this new collection includes 3 colorful booklets plus the video, in a white video case.

3. National Association of the Deaf Acquired 4 SignWriting Video Titles
The Captioned Media Program is an arm of the National Association of the Deaf, funded by the Department of Education. Videos are captioned and then distributed on a loan basis to deaf people in the US. The Captioned Media Program purchased four SignWriting video titles in 1999: the Lessons In SignWriting Video Series (2 titles) and the Deaf Perspectives on SignWriting Video Series (2 titles).

4. SignWriter 5.0 Software Development
Programmer Larry Peranich started the year making it possible to convert old SignWriter files into the new SignWriter 5.0 format. Then a new programmer, Richard Johnston, took over the entire project June 1st, 1999. Richard programmed a brand new, very flexible, multi-lingual user interface in Java.

5. International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Computer programmers refer to the "ISO 639-2 Registration Authority" for the standard codes used to represent the world's languages. This helps standardize software development. At present, Sign Languages are not included in this listing. In September, 1999, with the help of Michael Everson in Dublin, Ireland, the Deaf Action Committee for SignWriting (the DAC), and the Irish National Body, applied to the Registration Authority requesting that the world's Sign Languages be included. The application is currently waiting for approval.

6. Moved DAC Web Sites & Email Accounts to DeafVision
DeafVision is owned by a Deaf woman, and all employees are Deaf. We are proud to place all of our web sites and email accounts on a deaf-owned web server. DeafVision gives excellent service.

7. SignWriting Table at DeafExpo Conference in San Diego
The weekend of November 18, 1999 was a busy one. The Deaf Expo is a big gathering of Deaf people, filled with booths and presentations from the Deaf Communty. Dave Gunsauls and Valerie Sutton managed the SignWriting table, offering free SignWriting literature.

8. SignWriting Literacy Project in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Cecilia Flood's students in the Albuquerque Public Schools started learning SignWriting in ernest in 1999. Excellent feedback was received when Silent News journalist Alexandra Han interviewed Cecilia and her students. Their interview was published in an important article in Silent News, November 1999.

9. SignWriting Literacy Project in New York State
Deborah Holden is teaching Deaf students at the Algonquin Middle School in Averill Park.

10. SignWriting Literacy Project in Michigan
Dawn McReynolds is homeschooling her Deaf daughter in Michigan, developing special materials, working with Pastor Ronald Dettloff at the Deaf Church in St.Clair Shores.

11. SignWriting Literacy Project in Georgia
Cynthia Frey is teaching the Deaf at Jordan Vocational High School, Columbus, Georgia.

12. SignWriting Literacy Project in In Canada
Private tutor Kathy Akehurst gave terrific feedback on the SignWriting List, being the first teacher to try our new publication: "Learn To Read American Sign Language in SignWriting". Kathy explained in detail the positive reaction of her seven native-signing Deaf students to the color-coded symbols.

13. SW Literacy Project in Germany
Teacher Stefan Woerhmann at the "Landesbildungszentrum für Hörgeschädigte Osnabrück", has diligently learned SignWriting, creating the beginning of a German Sign Language Dictionary. Stefan is teaching SignWriting to his young Deaf students, who seem to be enjoying it and learning well.

14. SW Literacy Project in Peru
Julianna Palmer visited in the Fall, carrying a large pile of books and software home to Peru, where native-signing Deaf adults, and also a local school for Deaf children, are learning SignWriting.

15. The SignWritingSite
The SignWriting Web Site is a reference library for written Sign Language Literature and free SignWriting Lessons Online. It is designed and managed by webmaster Valerie Sutton. There are over 250 pages. Below are some important postings in 1999 (about half the list):

January 04, 1999 - Writing Straight Movement On The Diagonal Plane
January 24, 1999 - Children's Story: A Giraffe Named Ivan, by Nancy Romero
February 1, 1999 - "Sign Dic" Program, by Daniela Remião de Macedo, of Brazil
February 9, 1999 - The Runaway, a poem by 12 year old Gabriel Tollette
April 15, 1999 - SignWriting In Nicaragua: expanded directory of articles and photos
April 27, 1999 - Silent News Article: "SignWriting: An Alphabet"
May 3rd, 1999 - Learn To Read ASL, SW Level 3: Advanced Reading
May 24, 1999 - Interviews with Patty Duke & William Schallert About Deafness
September 14, 1999 - New Web Site: The SignBankSite
September 15, 1999 - SignWriting In Germany: Literacy Project Begins In Osnabruck
October 4, 1999 - SignWriting In Brazil Directory: Brazilian Sign Language Dictionary November 1, 1999 - Master's Degree Thesis by Amy Rosenberg
November 17, 1999 - Comparing Transcription Systems: Stokoe, HamNoSys, SignWriting
December 1, 1999 - Silent News Article: SignWriting: Controversial Way To Teach Literacy
December 15, 1999 - Frosty The Snowman by Deaf Author Lourdes Tollette

16. Thanks To The DAC's 1999 Sponsors...
Without them none of the above could have been possible! Many thanks to the R.C. Baker Foundation, the Seuss Foundation, the George Hoag Family Foundation, the Parker Foundation, the Edwards Foundation, Hewlett-Packard Corporation, Macromedia, and several other foundations and individuals.

All in all, 1999 was a pretty terrific year!!

Who Else Used SignWriting In 1999?
... some other projects around the world...

Spanish Sign Language Publications in Madrid & Alicante, Spain

Several SignWriting publications were produced in Spain in 1999: "Primeras Lecciones de SignoEscritura" is an adaptation of the Lessons In SignWriting Textbook, by Irma Maria Munoz Baell, & Dianne & Steve Parkhurst, published at the University of Alicante. The textbook "SignoEscritura" by the Parkhursts is an excellent instruction text. Monthly magazines written in SignWriting are distributed in Madrid.

Irish Sign Language Dictionary
Deaf signer Patrick Matthews asked Valerie Sutton to edit the new Irish Sign Language Dictionary, which includes life-like illustrations combined with SignWriting. The dictionary still needs funding. http://www.SignWriting.org/

Brazilian Sign Language Dictionary
Professor Fernando Capovilla, the director of the Brazilian Sign Language Dictionary Project, has coordinated two teams of hearing and Deaf people to work on, and edit this large dictionary, which should go to press in the year 2000. The dictionary will include an Introduction to SignWriting. http://www.SignWriting.org/

SignBible Site in American Sign Language
Pastor Ron Dettloff of the Deaf Church in Michigan and web designer Jerry Spillman have created the SignBible Site, regularly posting Bible passages written in American Sign Language in SignWriting.

SignWriting in Two Schools in Nicaragua
A long list of publications were translated into Nicaraguan Sign Language in SignWriting.

...and there were quite a lot more.....