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Conference Papers Year : 2014

Annotating sign language using a dedicated glyph system

Annotation de la langue des signes par un système de glyphes dédiés

Annotazione della lingua dei segni tramite un sistema di glifi dedicati


Few systems are able to annotate sign language (SL): HamNoSys (Prillwitz et al. 1989), SignWriting (Sutton 1995, Bianchini 2012), BTS (Slobin et al. 2001). They are either based on symbols representing SL specific parameters that are often difficult to write, or they are based on linear alpha-numerical arbitrary encodings. The question of annotation is widely debated (Johnston 2008, Hoiting & Slobin 2002, Hanke 2004, Konrad et al. 2012) and remains an essential requirement for linguistic analysis whether in the form of ID-gloss or shape description. Typannot aims at giving better typographic tools by creating a dedicated glyph system that allows users to annotate the different SL parameters in an iconic way thanks to the expertise of linguists, type designers and a robotics engineer (Miletitch et al. 2013).We will present the concepts and rules behind our glyphic system and show how we are able to design 237 hand shapes glyphs allowing their annotation in 10 SL (based on the organization made by Eccarius & Brentari 2008). The components and the rules are limited and organized in order to maximize the system economy and learning curve, both in writing and reading (McMonnies 1999; Noordzij 2006).We will also present a glyphic system for annotating the orientation of the palm allowing combination with hand shapes and hand movements representations. Those three graphematic levels once unified in a common writing space should open new perspectives in researching a writing system aimed at the deaf community. We will present a typographic system that will reach a phonological level of representation in order to qualify as a viable transcription of SL.A low-cost motion capture system will be used to enrich the glyphs adding more information than just configuration, i.e. speed, acceleration and orientation. We are also considering the latest font format (opentype) to allow dynamic font features like contextual glyph replacement.Bibliography[1] Prillwitz, S., R. Leven, H. Zienert, T. Hanke, J. Henning. Hamburg notation system for sign languages: an introductory guide. Signum Press. Hamburg, 1989.[2] Sutton V. 1995. Lessons in SignWriting: textbook & workbook. Deaf Action Committee for Sign Writing, La Jolla (CA)[3] Bianchini, Claudia S., Christian Cuxac, Dominique Boutet, Margherita Castelli, Elena Antinoro Pizzuto. Analyse métalinguistique de l’émergence d’un système d’écriture des Langues des Signes: SignWriting et son application à la Langue des Signes Italienne (LIS). Paris 8 et CNR-ISTC-LLS, 2012.[4] Slobin, Dan I., Nini Hoiting, Michelle Anthony, Yael Biederman, Marlon Kuntze, Reyna Lindert, Jennie Pyers, Helen Thumann, Amy Weinberg. Signlanguage transcription at the level of meaning components: the Berkeley Transcription System (BTS). Sign Language & Linguistics 4, no 1-2 (2001): 63-104. doi:10.1075/sll.4.12.07slo[5] Johnston, Trevor. Corpus linguistics and signed languages: no lemmata, no corpus. In 3rd Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages, 82-88. Onno Crasborn, Eleni Efthimiou, Thomas Hanke, Ernst D. Thoutenhoofd, Inge Zwitserlood, 2008.[6] Hoiting, N., D.I. Slobin. Transcription as a tool for understanding: the Berkeley Transcription System for sign language research (BTS). Directions in sign language acquisition, 2002, 55-75.[7] Hanke, Thomas. HamNoSys — Representing sign language data in language resources and language processing contexts. In Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages on the occasion of the 4th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation, 1-6. Lisbon: ELDA, 2004.[8] Konrad, R., T. Hanke, S. König, G. Langer, S. Matthes, R. Nishio, A. Regen. From form to function: a database approach to handle lexicon building and spotting token forms in sign languages. In LREC, 2012.[9] Miletitch, Roman, Claire Danet, Morgane Rébulard, Raphël de Courville, Patrick Doan, Dominique Boutet. Photocalligraphy: writing sign language. In Electronic Visualisation in Arts and Culture, Jonathan P. Bowen, Suzanne Keene, KiaNg eds, 167-180. Springer Series on Cultural Computing. Springer London, 2013.[10] Eccarius, Petra, Diane Brentari. Hand shape coding made easier: a theoretically based notation for phonological transcription. Sign Language & Linguistics 11, no 1 (2008): 69-101.[11] McMonnies, Charles W. Chart construction and letter legibility/readability. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics 19, no 6 (1999): 498-506. doi:10.1046/j.1475-1313.1999.00460.x[12] Noordzij, G. The stroke, theory of writing. Hyphenpress 2006.


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hal-02343005 , version 1 (15-05-2020)


  • HAL Id : hal-02343005 , version 1


Dominique Boutet, Patrick Doan, Ilaria Renna, Claire Danet, Claudia S. Bianchini, et al.. Annotating sign language using a dedicated glyph system. 4th Australasian Deaf Studies and Research Symposium, Oct 2014, Renwick NSW, Australia. ⟨hal-02343005⟩
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