Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Corpus and pilot grammar of the Slovene Sign Language

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.05.02  Humanities  Linguistics  Theoretical and applied linguistics 

Code Science Field
H350  Humanities  Linguistics 

Code Science Field
6.02  Humanities  Languages and Literature 
Slovene sign language, sign language corpus, sign language grammar
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (6)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  31121  PhD Mateja Jemec Tomazin  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2013  254 
2.  29031  MSc Boštjan Jerko  Manufacturing technologies and systems  Researcher  2011 - 2014  13 
3.  33827  Marjetka Kulovec  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  28 
4.  20453  PhD Špela Vintar  Linguistics  Head  2011 - 2014  265 
5.  25651  PhD Mojca Žagar Karer  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  256 
6.  12845  PhD Andreja Žele  Linguistics  Researcher  2011 - 2014  861 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0581  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts  Ljubljana  1627058  98,181 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  63,142 
The Slovene Sign Language Corpus and Grammar project will build a balanced and representative corpus of annotated video recordings of the Slovene Sign Language (SSL) and then exploit this corpus to produce, firstly, a standardised inventory of SSL signs and their glosses, and secondly, a pilot grammar of SSL. The collection of corpus data will take existing materials as a starting point and will then collect new recordings from a large balanced sample of native signers in Slovenia. The corpus will collect both spontaneous and prepared signing data, from signers representing all age, gender and regional groups. The data will be hand annotated with glosses using the ELAN toolbox, then the corpus of glosses will be semi-automatically part-of-speech tagged. In the second step we shall construct a frequency list of signs and then determine a core standardised inventory of SSL signs. Furthermore the data will be linguistically analysed in order to establish common syntactic patters and to explore selected areas of SSL semantics and pragmatics. These findings will then be used for the creation of a pilot grammar of SSL. The project will collaborate with the main Slovenian actors in this field: the Research institute of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences as project partner (ZRC SAZU) and the Association of the Deaf oand Hard of Hearing of Slovenia, the Association of Interpreters of SSL of Slovenian and the Slovenian Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as users.
Significance for science
The project represents an important milestone in the research of SZJ, especially because prior linguistic studies of SZJ were scarce and, more importantly, failed to include researchers from the Deaf community. The research team of this project included apart from the leader two researchers, Boštjan Jerko and Marjetka Kulovec, the former a child of Deaf parents and interpreter, and the latter a Deaf teacher of SZJ. The mobile recording team consisted of two Deaf students. The inclusion of the Deaf community was crucial for the success of this project because the trust of the Deaf informants could not have been gained otherwise. The SIGNOR corpus now offers answers to numerous questions: the use patterns of individual signs and their variants across regions or age groups, the frequency and distribution of new signs which appear particularly within the educational environment, the use of fillers, mouthing and gestures, typical syntactic structures and many more. The recordings are annotated on multiple layers and accessible through the iLex server environment. For lay users and the general audience we also developed a web-based corpus query system which currently does not display the recordings themselves for reasons of data protection, however gives access to transcriptions and metadata as well as displays signs via an animated agent. The published research results of the lexical properties of SZJ show that the basic frequency characteristics of SZJ comply with those found for other sign languages in the world. The project results allow Slovene and foreign linguists, teachers and interpreters to access empirical data about SZJ, while the Deaf community gained an important resource documenting the use of their language.
Significance for the country
The project results will importantly influence the development of Slovenia in the following segments: - Through numerous past and future public presentations of the project we raise the awareness about the role of SZJ within Slovenian cultural identity, - Through the publication of the corpus and linguistic studies we reinforce the belief that SZJ is a fully developed language fulfilling all communicative functions, - Through future corpus-based activities teaching aids can be developed which will enhance the language competence in SZJ in Deaf children and youngsters, - The SIGNOR corpus may be used to build a better and up-to-date dictionary of SZJ which would help learners, teachers and interpreters, - An indirect impact of the project is better inclusion of the Deaf community and the emergence of new forms of cooperation in research.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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