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This page is part of the Proceedings of Wikimania 2005, Frankfurt, Germany.




Editing notes:

  • Will full paper be submitted?

WikiSIGN - Sign Language in the Wikisphere[edit]

  • Author(s):'' {{{...}}}
  • License: Wolfgang Georgsdorf
  • Slides: Wolfgang Georgsdorf
  • Video: {{{radio}}}
  • 'Note:' {{{slides}}}

About the slides: {{{agenda}}}

About license


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A free international SIGN LANGUAGE Dictionary is long overdue. Free content material available for deaf people, either in sign language or – for hearing people – to learn SIGN LANGUAGE, is little and comparatively poor. The Wiki model shows that a large community, when given the chance, can potentially create an adequate bidirectional or multidirectional Sign Language dictionary. That manifestly points to building the respective Wiktionary which again could even open up other Wikis to Sign Language. Furthermore Sign Language is still a widely and wildly underestimated cultural, communcational and lingual gem. It is a fully-fledged, strong and highly economic language with qualities, that partly even exceed the possibilities of spoken languages. Yet, when it comes to its cartography and lexicography, there is a map of a planet still spotted white within the planet of spoken languages. And after all Sign Language is a phenomenon with an immense potential to accelerate particular Wiki developments, boost international understanding and – on a large scale – fit to put new light to the polyglot communities of spoken and written languages too. Sign Language is by far not a thing for deaf and/or signing communities only, nor is it to be understood merely as an issue of handicapped. It is proven to run up visual intelligence.

Aside from that it seems predictable, that the Wiki endeavour with its vitality and dynamic growth will however demand a wider range of media and representation modes in the nearer future. To meet these inevitably forthcoming requirements, it is about time to bring the most crucial questions of that matter forward and get them set up as tasks. A Sign Language dictionary or encyclopedia can’t do with text only. Can Wiki? How can we implement apropriate tools to handle video and sound within Wiki? For this, the attempt to build a Wiki Sign communitiy, starting with a Sign Language Wiktionary, is an excellent model. That of course requires the overall Wiki community, which is mainly a hearing and reading community, to understand and appreciate the essence of Sign Language and it’s complementing power. How does Sign Language work? Why is it easier for deaf people of different nations to communicate with each other, than it seems to be the case for hearing people? Is Sign Language a global language? Why should we get into that? In which way can we benefit from it individually and as a community of free knowledge circulation?

The lecture will offer answers to these questions, containing a brief introduction into Sign Language, its possibilities and the main technical, social, political and lexicographical questions arising from the recently started project that begins with trying to build a Sign Language Wiktionary and aims at getting Wiki an also Sign Language compatible platform.


Soon to come here in full settlement :-)