Making an Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language

  • Rachel Locker McKee Deaf Studies Research Unit, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  • David McKee Deaf Studies Research Unit, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
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

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
Published
2013-12-20
Section
Projekte/Projects