see and sign?

August 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the posts and pages of bling, you will have noted how frequently we have examined data from dictionaries. Obviously many linguists, not just ones who call themselves lexicographers are interested in compedia of words, their forms and meanings, but not many have commented yet on the possibilities of new media dictionaries. You ahve seen here reference to the wiki, The urban dictionary, which is a valuable source of not only new slang but also social attitudes behind new word formation, but perhaps more interesting than that intriguing site is the possibility of new ways of making dictionaries for signed languages. Obviously capturing movement would make the mechanics of the sign much easier to acquire  -you can see handshape, facial arrangement and most importantly the movement elements (phonemes) of the sign.

A project is already underway to make a video dictionary of NZSL, lead by linguists at the Deaf Studies Research Unit at Victoria University. There they have carefully thought out and canvassed stakeholders what the dictionary should contain and what it should look like. 

There are already many examples of signed language dictionaries, and inevitably a phone app or two. Have a look at a video dictionary of American Sign Language.

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