25.01.2016

Corpus project of Finland´s sign languages

The aim of the corpus project, which started at the Sign Language Centre, University of Jyväskylä, is to document Finnish Sign Language (FinSL) and Finland-Swedish Sign Language (FinSSL). The project will describe the signing used by people living in different parts of Finland. A corpus is an electronic collection of edited and annotated written, spoken or signed languages, which is of help in researching the language’s vocabulary, use and linguistic structures.

The pilot stage of collecting the corpus of Finland’s sign languages started at the Sign Language Centre during spring 2013. Spring 2014 saw the beginning of a four-year (2014–2018) corpus project. The goal of the project is to collect conversations and narrations of 80 Finnish Sign Language users and 20 Finland-Swedish Sign Language users. The video will be made in the University of Jyväskylä studio.

While collecting the corpus data, also background information of sign language users will be gathered (e.g. age, gender, place of residence, education), which enables research of, for example, the signing used and the sign language’s linguistic features of sign language users of different age groups and people living in different parts of Finland. The corpus data will be annotated using the ELAN program, which enables to synchronize the annotations with the video. Compiling the corpuses will help speed up the research of FinSL and FinSSL writing dictionaries as well as advance the teaching of these languages.

The aim is to save the corpus data in the Language Bank of Finland administered by FIN-CLARIN and the data can be used for research and teaching purposes when permissible by language informants. The corpus project will document and store FinSL and FinSSL for both present and future generations.

 

For further information, please contact:

 

Juhana Salonen, Project Researcher
email: juhana.salonen[at]jyu.fi
phone (work): 040 805 4795 (text messages)

Ritva Takkinen, Professor
email: ritva.a.takkinen[at]jyu.fi
phone (work): 050 428 5268