Wikisigns is a colaborative, multilingual, wiki based online dictionary for sign languages (languages used by deaf people). As many as 70 million deaf people have a sign language as their mother tongue.
The dictionary will allow deaf people to see the sign language equivalent of a given word in a written language. At the same time it can be used by people willing to learn a sign language.
The costs of making a sign language dictionary on paper makes it almost impossible in developing countries to have dictionaries for sign languages. Therefore, for the mayority of sign languages in the world there is no dictionary at all.
The signs will be presented in video format. The words in a written language that match the sign will be added to the video.
The search and listing of signs will be in a reverse way, from the written word to the video.
Keys about sign languages
If you are familiar with sign languages and deaf culturea you can skip this section, if not, we recommend you to read carefylly:
- There is no universal sign language.
- Sign languages differ as much as oral/written languages.
- Geographical distribution of sign language does not match geographical distribution of oral/written languages.
- None of the existing sign languages has a recognized written form. Therefore, deaf have to learn a oral language writting system to access the written media (books, newspapers, magazin, internet)
- Sign languages are often not recognized as official languages by the governments, and therefore recieve less or no support from them.
- For the mayority of sign languages in the world there is no dictionary at all.
- The costs of making a sign language dictionary are very high.
Multilingual Wikisigns has to allow the existence of more than one sign language for a written language (deaf in english speaking countries USA and Great Britain use totally different sign languages) and more than one written language for a sign language (american sign language used in spanish speaking cuntries like Mexico).