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Welcome to the British Sign Language Corpus Project

The British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus is a collection of video clips showing Deaf people using BSL, together with background information about the signers and written descriptions of the signing in ELAN. The video clips were collected as part of the original  BSL Corpus Project, funded between 2008 and 2011 by the Economic and Social Research Council. The BSL Corpus is based at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, University College London.

The BSL Corpus is a publicly accessible, on-line record of BSL used by Deaf people in the UK. We know that BSL is changing rapidly due to changes in the Deaf community, so it is important that we have a record for the future. In the past, sign language researchers carried out their research by filming Deaf people, but often the videotapes and the data collected was never shared with other researchers or with the Deaf community. Having the BSL corpus on-line means that anyone with a computer and an internet connection is able to see the video data and also background information about the signers involved. This will allow for a greater exchange of ideas and information between sign language researchers in universities and the Deaf community.

Having a corpus is also useful for several other reasons: it will directly lead to an improved understanding of BSL structure and use. This information is important for the education of Deaf children, for training sign language interpreters, and for BSL teachers.

The original BSL Corpus Project ended in 2011, and video data and some annotations are available. However, work on the Corpus is by no means finished! There is much left to be done – for follow-up and current projects see the Projects page.

2 days ago
@AdamCSchembri @kearsycormier @DCAL_UCL @rosestamp @katerowley0 @erincarrie Oh I meant dialect then! So interesting. I love watching the “what’s your sign?” clips on the #BSLcorpus page, sometimes there looks like there are slight differences in the same signs, fascinating. Thanks Adam, always a pleasure to read your work 👍
2 days ago
@rj_peaks @kearsycormier @DCAL_UCL @rosestamp @katerowley0 @erincarrie Kearsy’s thread covers all we’ve done. Our data suggests this variation is very much the result of differences between schools for deaf children. E.g., Manchester has the most distinctive number signs but it’s not particularly far from any of the other sites in the #bslcorpus.
2 days ago
@rj_peaks @DCAL_UCL Yes! @rosestamp 2014 documented lexical variation in the #bslcorpus, and did 2 followup studies looking at comprehension and accommodation. https://t.co/Cd3srYzSwT All 3 studies published as journal articles. Also have some info about BSL signers’ awareness of these issues (1/5)
2 days ago
I’d love to find out comparable data on BSL, does the #BSLcorpus project @DCAL_UCL look at these things? https://t.co/fz74BQro2q
2 days ago
@rj_peaks @DCAL_UCL @rosestamp And finally, in some work in progress we are finding in #bslcorpus interviews, signers are aware of all this – general views are signers from different regions understand each other, and signers notice that English mouthing helps @katerowley0 (5/5) https://t.co/p0EbVW6l9s