Formal SignWriting

Document Type Expired Internet-Draft (individual)
Author Stephen Slevinski 
Last updated 2020-03-02 (latest revision 2019-08-30)
Replaces draft-slevinski-signwriting-text
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Expired & archived
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This Internet-Draft is no longer active. A copy of the expired Internet-Draft can be found at


Sutton SignWriting is the universal and complete solution for written sign language, ISO 15924 script code "Sgnw". It has been applied by a wide and deep international community of sign language users. Sutton SignWriting is an international standard for writing sign languages by hand or with computers. From education to research, from entertainment to religion, SignWriting has proven useful because people are using it to write signed languages. Formal SignWriting is one particular computerized design for Sutton SignWriting that envisions a sign as a two part word. Each word is written as a string of characters that can be recognized and processed by regular expressions. The design has been optimized for display, searching, sorting, text flow, and other character processing. Where as American Sign Language is a natural language, Formal SignWriting is a formal language. A formal language is useful in mathematics, computer science, and linguistics. This memo defines a conceptual character encoding map for the Internet community. It is published for reference, examination, implementation, and evaluation. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


Stephen Slevinski (

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