I am aware of some systems of sign writing (e.g. Sutton SignWriting). They are used in dictionaries, teaching materials, or scientific documentation. But did some Sign Language speech communities develop literature in sign writing?

  • 2
    This for example? signwriting.org/deaf/fond/fond01.html
    – user6726
    Oct 12, 2016 at 18:17
  • 1
    There's an ASL Wikipedia in Sutton SignWriting
    – TRiG
    Oct 16, 2016 at 5:52
  • @TRIG: Currently a test wikipedia in the incubator ( incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wp/ase ) but it looks promising. Oct 18, 2016 at 12:15
  • You're concerned only with materials that exist on paper?
    – jlawler
    Aug 9, 2019 at 1:39
  • Not necessarily on paper, but the means of communication should include a level of abstraction similar to writing on paper comparable to text messages, email or similar media. Video chats and video messages in sign language don't count. Aug 9, 2019 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


Yes. – However these communities are quite small. There seem to be active groups on Facebook for ASLWrite (315 members) and another for Sutton SignWriting (442 members). Sutton SignWriting is also used for teaching sign language in Brazil.

I have made an attempt at adapting the ASLWrite system for use with Swedish Sign Language (linked page in Swedish). Hopefully one day I'll manage to drum up some interest for it. :)

Comparison of handshape glyphs between different sign language writing systems The above image was taken from an article called “History of sign language writing” on handspeak.com. The table compares the symbols for five different handshapes in different sign language writing systems.

There also exists numerous systems for transcribing sign language for research or dictionary work, but as far as I know none of these systems are used by a wider community. (These would include HamNoSys, Stokoe notation, Swedish Sign Language Transcription and several others. – NOTE: The linked article on Swedish Sign Language transcription is in Swedish and was written by me.)

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