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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Sep 4, 1999  12:30 am
Subject:  SW Question-Response on "TeachASL List" Sept 3 99

>Question for Valerie--
>Is the SW software expensive? Do you offer training sessions? Do you know
>if any high school ASL teachers are using SW as a means to meet the "writing"
>element of the foreign language depts??


Hello Maggi :-)

Thanks for your questions...

The SignWriter software is free as shareware. The shareware version of
SignWriter is the ASL version, which includes an ASL dictionary with 3100
signs typed in SignWriting, by three Deaf native signers. It also includes
documents and lessons typed in SignWriting in ASL and the American
Fingerspelling keyboard. It is in MS-DOS. There is no registration fee. To

Download SignWriter Shareware
version 4.3 for MS-DOS

The International version of the SignWriter Computer Program comes in 9
spoken languages and 15 signed languages. The International version
includes 7 floppy disks, which includes an add-on called ColumnMaker, which
turns horizontally typed files into vertically typed files, which is the
new standard for publishing Sign Language Literature. You can read about
the package on the web:

SignWriter Computer Program Package
version 4.3 for MS-DOS

You can take a look at some of the Fingerspelling Keyboards that come with

Fingerspelling Keyboards
SignWriter Computer Program

If you become a SignWriting Member for $15.00, then you receive half price
on publications.

SignWriting Membership

There is an order form online too:

SW Publications Catalog

In regards to training...a lot can be accomplished through the internet,
and through experience. We have a SignWriting List, where List members
discuss general issues about writing ASL, but they also ask me technical
questions and I give Tech support online that way. It is a free way to
learn on your own.

Recently we were talking about offering real courses over the internet,
where we would give a person assignments and they would type those
assignments with SignWriter, and then send us the attached files and we
would correct the work and send the corrected file back to the student. The
only problem with that, is that we would have to charge a fee, because the
teacher needs to be paid. So learning through the SignWriting List with me
is the most immediate and inexpensive - since it is free.

In regards to the "foreign language" question...James Womack, who is also
on the SignWriting List, mentioned that SignWriting should help in
establishing ASL as a foreign language in college departments - of course I
agree with him, although I cannot point to a department and say that it is
"because of SignWriting" that ASL got established - that has not happened
yet, but it probably will someday. SignWriting is still pretty new for a
writing system. It is 25 years old this October - my first SignWriting was
done in Denmark to record Danish Sign Language back in 1974.

I do think that SignWriting could become one added bonus in the struggle
for ASL's acceptance as a foreign language, but people will have to insist
upon it, and that will take time -

Thanks for your questions :-)

Valerie ;-)

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