ASLwrite provides free and accessible information about written American Sign Language to the signing community and to anyone interested in learning it.
ASLwrite was originally established in 2011 as the American Sign Language Writing Dictionary, a joint project by Adrean Clark and Julia Dameron, which promoted the early Si5s method. After publication of How to Write American Sign Language Robert Arnold decided to pursue a different path for Si5s with ASLized.
Today, ASLwrite is committed to keeping written ASL freely available in the public domain by providing resources for writers of all ages.
Why does American Sign Language need a written form? Don’t we already have technology that can record ASL?
The same question could be asked of written English! It is needed for the same reason why you are reading this sentence — the ability to think and converse in one’s own language at any pace.
Even with today’s technology, filming and viewing ASL requires special technology. Written ASL can be put on almost any surface, and is dependent on technology that has survived centuries of usage.
For more information, see the Why Write American Sign Language? post.
What is the difference between ASLwrite and Si5s?
Long story short, the “early Si5s” tree split into two branches: the open source ASLwrite branch featured on this website, and another, monitored branch with a different digibet that carries the “official” Si5s name. The community-given name ASLwrite is intended to help identify which particular source it comes from, but for all intents and purposes it is written ASL.
Who owns the rights to written ASL?
Anyone is free to write in or create handbooks on written ASL, even in the method offered by ASLwrite! Written ASL belongs to the signing community, and cannot survive without eager writers. For that reason the methods and version of written ASL shared on this website is in the public domain.
The only thing from ASLwrite not in the public domain is specific creative content created by contributors, such as artwork and written statements. Please request permission from the writers and artists before reposting.
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