Making an Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language

Rachel Locker McKee, David McKee

Abstract


The Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (ODNZSL), launched in 2011, is an example of a contemporary sign language dictionary that leverages the 21st century advan­tages of a digital medium and an existing body of descriptive research on the language, including a small electronic corpus of New Zealand Sign Language. Innovations in recent online dictionaries of other signed lan­guages informed development of this bilingual, bi-directional, multi­media dic­tionary. Video content and search capacities in an online medium are a huge advance in more directly repre­senting a signed lexicon and enabling users to access content in versatile ways, yet do not resolve all of the theoretical challenges that face sign language dictionary makers. Con­sidera­tions in the editing and production of the ODNZSL are discussed in this article, including issues of determin­ing lexemes and word class in a polysynthetic language, deriving usage exam­ples from a small corpus, and dealing with sociolinguistic variation in the selection and perform­ance of con­tent.

Keywords: sign language lexicography, online dictionaries, multimedia dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, learner dictionaries, new zealand sign language, video content, sign language corpus, polysynthetic mor­phology, polysemy, sociolinguistic variation, sign language lin­guistics, user profile


Keywords


sign language lexicography, online dictionaries, multimedia dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, learner dictionaries, new zealand sign language, video content, sign language corpus, polysynthetic mor­phology, polysemy, sociolinguistic variation, sign la

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5788/23-1-1227

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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