Sign language lexicography: a case study of an online dictionary

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/slo2.0.2021.1.90-122

Keywords:

sign language, lexicography, dictionary, methodology

Abstract

As a growing field of study within sign language linguistics, sign language lexicography faces many challenges that have already been answered for audio-oral language material. In this paper, we present some of these challenges and methods developed to help navigate the complex lexical classification field. The described methods and strategies are implemented in the first Czech sign language (ČZJ) online dictionary, a part of the platform Dictio, developed at Masaryk University in Brno. We cover the topic of lemmatisation and how to decide what constitutes a lexeme in sign language. We introduce four types of expressions that qualify for a dictionary entry: a simple lexeme, a compound, a derivative, and a set phrase. We address the question of the place of classifier constructions and shape and size specifiers in a dictionary, given their peculiar semantic status. We maintain the standard classification of classifiers (whole entity and holding classifiers) and size and shape specifiers (SASSes; static and tracing specifiers). We provide arguments for separating the category of specifiers from the category of classifiers. We discuss the proper treatment of mouthings and mouth gestures concerning citation forms, derivation and translation. We show why it is difficult in sign language to distinguish synonyms from variants and how our proposed phonological criteria can help. We explain how to construct a semantic definition in a sign language and what is the solution for multiple meanings of one form. We offer simple guidelines for forming proper examples of use in a sign language. And finally, we briefly comment on the process of the translation between sign and spoken languages. We conclude the paper with a summary of roles that Dictio plays in the ČZJ-signing community.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Battison, R. (1978). Lexical borrowing in American sign language. Linstok Press, Silver Spring.

Čermák, F. (1995). Paradigmatika a syntagmatika slovníku: možnosti a výhledy. In F. Čermák & R. Blatná (Eds.), Manuál lexikografie. Jinočany: H&H, 1, 90–115.

Dictio: Multilingual Online Dictionary. (2020). Brno: Masaryk University. Retrieved from https://www.dictio.info

Le Dico Elix – Le dictionnaire vivant en langue des signes française (LSF). (2020). Retrieved from https://dico.elix-lsf.fr/

e-LIS: Electronic bilingual dictionary Italian Sign Language – Italian. (2020). Retrieved from http://elis.eurac.edu/index_en.html

Fenlon, J., Cormier, K., & Schembri, A. (2015). Building BSL SignBank: The lemma dilemma revisited. International Journal of Lexicography, 28(2), 169–206. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/276164152_Building_BSL_SignBank_The_lemma_dilemma_revisited

Filipec, J. (1995). Teorie a praxe jednojazyčného slovníku výkladového. In: F. Čermák in R. Blatná (Eds.), Manuál lexikografie. Jinočany: H&H, 1, 14–49.

Hanks, P. (2016). Definition. In P. Durkin (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of lexicography. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199691630.001.0001

Johnston, T., & Schembri, A. C. (1999). On defining lexeme in a signed language. Sign language & linguistics, 2(2), 115–185.

Kristoffersen, J. H., & Troelsgård, T. (2012). The electronic lexicographical treatment of sign languages: The Danish Sign Language Dictionary. In S. Granger in M. Paquot (Eds.), Electronic Lexicography. Oxford University Press.

Langer, J., Ptáček, V., & Dvořák, K. (2005). Znaková zásoba českého znakového jazyka k rozšiřujícímu studiu surdopedie se zaměřením na znakový jazyk (I, II). Olomouc: Palacký University.

Langer, J., Ptáček, V., & Dvořák, K. (2005a). Znaková zásoba českého znakového jazyka k rozšiřujícímu studiu surdopedie se zaměřením na znakový jazyk (III, IV). Olomouc: Palacký University.

Langer, J., & Kukolová, P. (2008). Slovník vybraných pojmů znakového jazyka pro oblast biologie člověka a zdravovědy. Praha: Fortuna.

Mandel, M. (1981). Phonotactics and morphophonology in American Sign Language. PhD dissertation, University of California. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/content/qt90v1j5kx/qt90v1j5kx.pdf

Mareš, J. (2011). Orální komponenty v českém znakovém jazyce. Bc. thesis, Charles University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11956/50230

McKee, R., Vale, M., Hanks, P., & de Schryver, G. M. (2017). Sign language lexicography. International Handbook of Modern Lexis and Lexicography. Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319881867

Mladová, P. (2009). Kompozita v českém znakovém jazyce. Bc. thesis, Charles University.

Pfau, R., & Quer, J. (2010). Nonmanuals: their grammatical and prosodic roles. In D. Brentari (Ed.), Sign Languages (pp. 381–402). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Potměšil, M. (2002). Všeobecný slovník českého znakového jazyka, A–N. Praha: Fortuna.

Potměšil, M. (2004). Všeobecný slovník českého znakového jazyka, O–Ž. Praha: Fortuna.

Potměšil, M. (2004a). Všeobecný slovník českého znakového jazyka, O–Ž – doplněk. Praha: Fortuna.

Půlpánová, L. (2007). Kategorizace v českém znakovém jazyce. Mgr. thesis, Charles University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11956/13566

Quer, J., Cecchetto, C., & Donati, C. (2017). SignGram Blueprint: A guide to sign language grammar writing (p. 896). Berlin: De Gruyter. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321962244_SignGram_Blueprint_A_Guide_to_Sign_Language_Grammar_Writing

Sandler, W. (1989). Phonological Representation of the Sign: Linearity and Non-linearity in American Sign Language. Dordrecht: Foris.

Sandler, W. (2006). Phonology. In W. Sandler & D. Lillo-Martin (Eds.), Sign Language and Linguistic Universals, 1, 111–278. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sandler, W. (2006). Entering the lexicon: lexicalization, backformation and cross-modal borrowing. In W. Sandler & D. Lillo-Martin (Eds.), Sign Language and Linguistic Universals, 1, 94–107. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sandler, W., & Lillo-Martin, D. (2006). Classifier constructions. In W. Sandler & D. Lillo-Martin (Eds.), Sign Language and Linguistic Universals, 1, 76–93. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Stokoe, W. C. (1960/2005). Sign language structure: An outline of the visual communication systems of the American deaf. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 10(1), 3–37.

Supalla, T. (1986). The classifier system in American sign language. Noun classes and categorization, 7, 181–214.

Zeshan, U. (2002). Towards a notion of ‘word’ in sign languages (pp. 153–179). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zeshan, U. (2004). Interrogative and Negative Construction in Sign Languages. Language, 80(1), 7–39.

Zwitserlood, I. (2010). Sign Language Lexicography in the Early 21st Century and a Recently Published Dictionary of Sign Language of the Netherlands. International Journal of Lexicography, 23(4), 443–476.

Zwitserlood, I. (2012). Classifiers. In R. Pfau, M. Steinbach & B. Woll (Eds.), Sign Language. An International Handbook (pp. 158–186). Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/291214641_Classifiers

Downloads

Published

01.07.2021 — Updated on 06.07.2021

Versions

How to Cite

Vlášková, L., & Strachoňová, H. (2021). Sign language lexicography: a case study of an online dictionary. Slovenščina 2.0: Empirical, Applied and Interdisciplinary Research, 9(1), 90–122. https://doi.org/10.4312/slo2.0.2021.1.90-122 (Original work published July 1, 2021)