The Hamburg Sign Language Notation System (HamNoSys) is a system for transcribing signs in signed languages. HamNoSys was developed by scholars at the Universität Hamburg to be a quasi-phonetic transcription system in the mold of the Stokoe Notation System, which was developed by the father of sign language linguistics, William Stokoe, published in Stokoe (1960) as well as Stokoe and colleagues (1965). The roots of HamNoSys in the Stokoe Notation System are recognizable in its predominantly linear arrangement and in its division of the sign into the sublexical categories of handshape, location, movement, and orientation—the first three of which formed the basis of Stokoe’s system.
HamNoSys has been in use for more than two decades, existing alongside the other main sign language transcription system in use today, SignWriting. Whereas SignWriting has probably found more widespread use in the creation of digital and print sign literature, HamNoSys has been adopted in large-scale scholarly projects, such as the German Sign Language corpus project (DGS-Korpus-Projekt) and the Polish Sign Language dictionary project (Korpusowy słownik polskiego języka migowego).
The appeal for using HamNoSys with corpora is found in the system’s computer-readability and unicode compatibility.