Formational Units in Sign Languages (Book Review)
Rachel Channon & Harry van der Hulst (eds). Sign Language & Linguistics - Volume 15, Number 2, 2012, pp. 271-276. Copyright 2012: Sign Language & Linguistics, John Benjamins Publishing Company
Fanghella, Julia, Leah Geer, Jon Henner, Julie Hochgesang, Diane Lillo-Martin, Gaurav Mathur, Gene Mirus, and Pedro Pascual Villanueva. In Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Interactions between Corpus and Lexicon at Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC). pp. 57-62. Istanbul, Turkey, May 2012. Copyright 2012: European Language Resources Association (ELRA)
We describe an on-going project to develop a lexical database of American Sign Language (ASL) as a tool for annotating ASL corpora collected in the United States. Labs within our team complete locally chosen fields using their notation system of choice, and pick from globally available, agreed-upon fields, which are then merged into the global database. Here, we compare glosses in the database to annotations of spontaneous child data from the BiBiBi project (Chen Pichler et al., 2010). These comparisons validate our need to develop a digital link between the database and corpus. This link will help ensure that annotators use the appropriate ID-glosses and allow needed glosses to be readily detected (Johnston, 2011b; Hanke and Storz, 2008). An ID-gloss database is essential for consistent, systematic annotation of sign language corpora, as (Johnston, 2011b) has pointed out. Next steps in expanding and strengthening our database’s connection to ASL corpora include (i) looking more carefully at the source of data (e.g. who is signing, language background, age, region, etc.), (ii) taking into account signing genre (e.g. presentation, informal conversation, child-directed etc), and (iii) confronting the matter of deixis, gesture, depicting verbs and other constructions that depend on signing space.
Geer, Leah. In Lawrence, Aimee, Stout, Tammi and Chatterjee, Anindita (eds) Proceedings from SALSA XX: Languages and Societies in Contact. Volume 55, pp. 33-42
Clear evidence of variation among consultants emerged during data collection on Mongolian Sign Language (MSL). The present paper seeks to describe sources of variation in MSL and discuss the reasons for this variation. Here we describe the patterns of disagreement between language consultants and frame them with respect to source of variation. We hypothesize that there are a variety of factors that contribute to this variation, most of which fall under the umbrella of language contact. Additionally, it seems there are strong attitudes about signs, which might influence which forms are used in one context or another.
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