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Research

I will list research projects on this page. Both old and ongoing. (Updated August 12, 2017)

Interests I am generally interested in language documentation and phonetics/phonology of signed languages. I love it when my projects allow me to dig into both. I’m working on getting support for creating documentation for ASL video data which will then allow me to further investigate phonological alternations in ASL.

Sign Language Annotation, Archiving and Sharing (SLAASh) This is a grant headed by Diane Lillo-Martin on getting videos in her acquisition corpus annotated. Similar to Dr. Deborah Chen Pichler’s previous project (see BiBiBi below). Dr. Lillo-Martin’s corpus is the “sister” project at University of Connecticut. I’ve been asked to supervise the completion of annotations as well as standardizing what’s in the annotations. We will be working on creating a database of ASL signs as well – ASL signbank! (see links for something like this: http://ijl.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/04/24/ijl.ecv008.short?rss=1 and example http://www.auslan.org.au or http://bslsignbank.ucl.ac.uk/dictionary/ ). Also follow us on Twitter here or check this site.

Philadelphia Signs This is a grant headed by Jami Fisher and Meredith Tamminga of University of Pennsylvania. They are starting a documentation project of the ASL used by Deaf people living in the Philadelphia area. I am assisting them with documentation activities – e.g., digital organization of data and annotation of videos. I also hope to use this data for studying phonological alternation in ASL.

Haitian Sign Language Documentation Project From May to September of 2014, I am coordinated a language documentation project which collected and examined naturalistic data in order to begin the language documentation of Haitian Sign Language (LSH). Members of the Gallaudet linguistics department worked alongside with Deaf Haitian community members in actively documenting their language. The goal of this short project was to produce an initial grammatical sketch of LSH as well as initiate ongoing language documentation efforts that will be continued by the Deaf community itself in Haiti. Team members at Gallaudet University included Kate McAuliff, Elizabeth Steyer, Amelia Becker and Megan Kish. Current status: trying to continue annotation efforts and seeking funding.

Dissertation  In August of 2013, I defended my dissertation which tested phonetic/phonological notation systems by using them to analyze the handshapes in an acquisition data set.

BiBiBi Language Acquisition Study  From 2006 to 2010, I worked as a research assistant then lab manager for Professor Deb Chen Pichler’s child acquisition project known as the BiBiBi project. “BiBiBi” stands for “bilingual, bimodal and bi-national.”  “Bilingual” because we observe children acquiring more than one language from a very early age (often starting at birth), “bimodal” because these children are acquiring one spoken language and one signed language, “binational” because we are working with another university in another country (along with University of Connecticut). In our lab, we filmed a few children each week in spontaneous play sessions. The target language alternates each week. That is, one week it’ll be ASL and then the next, English. This longitudinal and extensive project has generated a large and rich body of data that is slowly being transcribed and analyzed.

ID Gloss Project We have been constructing an American Sign Language ID Gloss Database, which will enable sign language researchers and Deaf community members to access standard glosses for common signs, as found in corpora such as those we are currently building. Our aim is to create a database which is flexible and powerful enough to be used by people in varying fields (e.g., linguistics, language teaching, interpreter training, preservation of Deaf heritage, etc.). (See Hochgesang et al 2010 – http://www.lrec-conf.org/proceedings/lrec2010/workshops/W13.pdf or Fanghella et al 2012 http://www.lrec-conf.org/proceedings/lrec2012/workshops/24.Proceedings_SignLanguage.pdf)

There are always other projects in the works.