19 Oct 2008 yosch   » (Master)

Open fonts for the deaf communities

I find it both heart-warming and mind-expanding to learn about a new writing system... But this one, well... we're reaching a whole new level!

A little while ago an experienced linguist working with sign languages around the world sent me information about an open font project designed specifically to enable sign language writing systems: ISWA 2008 (International SignWriting Alphabet).

The writing systems implementation (in which this font is a key element) uses a combination of iconic symbols to represent face, hands and body movements with meaning: it's called SignWriting.

And you have to recognize that the authors have their licensing strategy well thought out for maximum distribution and collaboration: GPL 3 for the software, OFL 1.1 for the fonts and CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike) 3.0 for the content. IHMO a great combination indeed!

Pretty amazing to see such a collaborative Free Software approach helping enable yet another writing system to be created and widely used. Sounds like a great step forward to bring increased literacy and means of expression to the deaf communities :-)

Now to learn some signs and try to write them down...

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