Greetings: The email below is now on public record in Sweden.
As the Queen of Sweden said at the launch of spreadthesign.com
in late March 2009:
“Imagine if all deaf children could be united under one language worldwide, A kind of Esperanto. But of cause due to different cultures it remains just a dream.”
Initially when I did the application for this project I had the idea of a European sign language. But since sign language has to develop from the group of deaf users we cannot invent new signs in spreadthesign.com
. We can just gather them and present them accessible on our web page. That is a big job enough. But we have invented one sign on our web page. That is the sign for “spread the sign”. – http://www.spreadthesign.com/us/leonardo/
Queen Silvia of Sweden:
May I humbly introduce myself? My name is Ramon Garcia and I’m a hearing person from the State of Arizona, USA. Two years ago, I decided to learn sign language, as a means of keeping my mind active and sharp. Within 6 months of self-study, my perception began to change and a flurry of ideas came pouring in. One of these ideas is related to a Universal Sign Language, very similar to your vision. Imagine if all deaf children AND all hearing children could be united under one language worldwide. I believe my idea can achieve this, which I humbly offer for your consideration.
Spread The Sign seeks to make sign language accessible to everyone, and my idea would accomplish this through several steps, one starting with SpreadTheSign.com and its logo. Spread The Sign has already amassed a large number of signs from around the Western world and its logo can be used to distinctly represent Universal Sign Language.
What is needed now, is a mechanism to create worldwide users, which would also need to include Asia and the Middle East. These users accounts can be created, managed, and verified by Deaf teaching institutions, to ensure that the most qualified in the Deaf community provide the input for voting up or down the signs that best represent a concept or word. In addition, this distributes the burden of user management to the Deaf institutions who all have their own email service.
Deaf participants have the option of voting for the sign from their own country or region, or they can vote for one from another country or region, if they decide it is a much better one than their own. This will rank all signs and the one voted to the top, becomes the USL sign for that concept or word. This would be a global collaboration of the highest scale for the global Deaf community.
After several years, the voting should stabilize, then USL can be further codified with grammar suggestions from Worldwide Deaf institution participants. In addition to the voting mechanism, a forum and chat mechanism should be integrated into SpreadTheSign, to further facilitate collaboration among the worldwide Deaf community. Google+ Hangouts can be leveraged for this purpose.
In this manner, it is the global Deaf community that comes together to forge USL and galvanize a new worldwide Deaf culture that in time will merge with each distinct regional Deaf culture when they choose to.
The second step would be to teach USL to all children worldwide as early as possible. Young minds learn quickly. Yes, there will be resistance by some, but I believe USL can become not only a common language uniting all people of the world, but will become the next human computer interface to replace the keyboard and mouse.
Keyboards, mice, touch pads, etc, will soon be obsolete. Those who cannot sign, will be much like those who cannot touch type today. To refuse learning sign language, will be like refusing to learn touch type and continue to hunt-and-peck type.
The technology making sign language computer input is on the edge of perfection. Science fiction has shown us how gestures can be used to control and manipulate virtual objects. What they have failed to show, is how people will type written language extensively using such a gesture interface. Speech recognition will be utilized by some, but it will not be as efficient as both gesturing to manipulate virtual objects and signing to enter written input.
A company founded by Deaf people is developing such an interface right now. This company located in the State of California, USA, is using Leap Motion technology to make this possible.
“BY USING GESTURE RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY, THE NEXT GENERATION OF DEAF COMMUNICATION TOOLS ARE HERE. COMMUNICATE EFFORTLESSLY WITH YOUR PEERS.” – http://www.motionsavvy.com/
“The Leap Motion Controller senses how you naturally move your hands and lets you use your computer in a whole new way. Point, wave, reach, grab. Pick something up and move it. Do things you never dreamed possible.” – https://www.leapmotion.com/
This technology will be perfected and miniaturized in a few years. It will then be coupled with other types of sensors, making it possible to sign and gesture computer input being anywhere near a computing device, even wearable computing devices like Google glass.
The future is here, but people will need to adapt to this new technology. Everyone who is proficient with sign language will have a significant advantage with this new technology over those who do not sign. In order to prepare for this future, sign language must be taught to everyone, which is why it is important to standardize with USL. However in the short term, learning the local sign language is a head start while USL slowly comes into being. The sign will be spread, and it will help all humanity evolve to a higher level.
The final step is to support the companies and organizations making the pieces that will fit together to make all this possible. To urge governments around the world to begin teaching sign language at all schools as the secondary language to their local spoken language. Having USL as the secondary language, instead of another spoken language, allows everyone to keep their local spoken language and concentrate on signing that will become a human computer interface as well as a language of global unification.
No longer will people need to learn difficult to pronounce foreign language, discrimination and ridicule for having foreign accents, sign language will bridge us all.
I reached out to Thomas Lydell-Olsen, Founder and coordinator of Spread The Sign. I told him of my idea. Here is his response:
At the moment we in Spread the sign are only trying to gather what signs are out there in the world. To make them accessible on the web. To be involved in a project to develop a new sign language is not an aim for us or something we can spend time and resources on at the moment. Right now we are struggling to find resources so we can develop a improved mobile app and improved web site as well survive as an NGO. We have no gouvernmental support and our product is for free. Most of us are volunteers. So time and resourses are the limitation for us. Sorry about that. Hope you find the people you need for your project. Good luck!
Founder and coordinator
European Sign Language Centre
702 22 ÖREBRO
Can you reinvigorate SpreadTheSign.com with funding and convince Thomas Lydell-Olsen of adopting my ideas?
Please consider my idea and its merits. If such an idea were to come to fruition, it would have an enormous impact on humanity, as well as accomplish what you have envisioned yourself.