About SiLOrB

Sign Language Orthography Builder

(Versión en español aquí)


This site describes SiLOrB [ˈsɑɪ-lɔɹb], a transcription and writing system developed by Brenda Clark to be used in the documentation and description of signed languages.

(See FAQs page for more on why we should write sign languages and why this system is an improvement over previous ones.)

SiLOrB aims to be inclusive, visually transparent, and adaptable. Symbols representing hands, movements, and other aspects of signs appear in a grid format (see basic structure) to create a ‘signer’ facing the reader. A transcription system corresponds to coding for the software application Signotate, which combines the symbols shown here into full signs and texts. As with any form of writing, SiLOrB aims to provide symbols which can be used to create conventions for a specific orthographic system. In other words, language communities can establish a standardized way to write signs with the appropriate level of detail, using the pieces of SiLOrB that apply to that particular language. See examples page for examples of signs written with more or less detail.

The SiLOrB presented here is version 2.1. It has been updated from 1.0, used in A grammatical sketch of Sivia Sign Language, which relies heavily on English terminology and uses cruder graphics. Version 1.0 is now considered to be an example of a community-specific system, which corresponds to SiLOrB 2.1’s more standardized transcription and improved graphics. 2.1 has been updated from 2.0 to show forward and bodyward movement more clearly. As always, the goal is to improve future versions based on input from community members and researchers who may find it useful (see the wishlist for currently planned improvements). Feel free to explore using the menu to the right, and contact me with comments, questions, or suggestions.