Thursday, July 28, 2011


We are pleased to announce a workshop titled “Building sign language corpora in North America”. 

Purpose of workshop: There are many definitions of a language corpus. One such definition offered by McEnery, Xiao and Tono (2006) is a collection of texts in a given language that is representative, comprehensive, accessible, machine-readable and searchable. There are several ongoing language corpora projects focused on the documentation of sign languages in countries like Australia, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. To date, there have been several workshops in Europe on various aspects of building a sign language corpus (e.g., the SLCN series of workshops co-organized by Onno Crasborn and colleagues). This workshop will provide a much needed opportunity for researchers based in the US and Canada to share experiences from their work in this area, as well as share ideas for future projects. 

Program information: The workshop will begin on Saturday, May 21, 2011, at 8:30 am and take place at Gallaudet University, in the Student Academic Center (SAC), Room 1011. The complete list of presenters is as follows: 

Ted Supalla (University of Rochester) Invited Presenter
Enhancing ASL Heritage Resources with Digital Database Materials

Christian Rathmann (University of Hamburg) Invited Presenter
The DGS Corpus Project: The State of Art

Trevor Johnston (Macquarie University), Adam Schembri (La Trobe University), Kearsy Cormier, Jordan Fenlon, and Ramas Rentelis (University College London) 

Rosalee Wolfe, John C. McDonald, and Jerry Schnepp (DePaul University) 

Ronnie B. Wilbur, Kadir Gokgoz and Robin Shay (Purdue University), Aleix Martinez (Ohio State University) 
Mechanics and Issues in Making ASL Databases Available

Carol Neidle - Invited Presenter, Joan Nash (Boston University), Christian Vogler (Gallaudet University)
Two Web-Accessible ASL Corpora

 Kearsy Cormier, Jordan Fenlon and Ramas Rentelis (University College London), Adam Schembri (La Trobe University), Trevor Johnston (Macquarie University) 

Jonathan Keane (University of Chicago), Susan Rizzo (University of Chicago), Diane Brentari (Purdue University), and Jason Riggle (University of Chicago) 
Phonetic coding of fingerspelling 

Adam Frost (Gallaudet University) 

Diane Lillo-Martin (University of Connecticut)  Invited Presenter
Building a Collaborative ID-Gloss Database for ASL

In addition, on Sunday, May 22, 2011, from 9 am to noon, there will be an ELAN training session by Julie Hochgesang for those who are interested. 

Conference languages: We welcome presentations in ASL or International Sign (IS), and will provide ASL/English and ASL/IS interpretation. 

Registration information: Registration is free but required and due by May 16, 2011. To register, please send an email to with the following 

(i) your name 
(ii) your affiliation 
(iii) your email address 
(iv) whether you wish to participate in the ELAN training on Sunday 

There is a fee of $10 for lunch on Saturday – please bring this in cash with you to the workshop. 

Lodging information: A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is located next to the New York Avenue/Gallaudet metro station on the Red Line and about 8-10 minutes walking distance from the workshop venue. For workshop participants, the hotel is offering a discounted rate of $129/night plus 14.5% taxes. The discounted rate is good until May 13, 2011. To make reservations, please call the toll-free number 1-800-HILTONS or the hotel directly at 202-408-4870 and identify yourself as a member of the Corpus Workshop group when making the reservation. Alternatively, you may book online at the following link and use the booking code CORPU. 

Julie Hochgesang, Gene Mirus, and Gaurav Mathur 
(Gallaudet University) 


We are most grateful to the following sponsors for their generous support of the Sign Language Corpus Workshop:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

ELAN Workshop

Sunday morning, May 22nd
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
SAC 1011

ELAN (EUDICO Linguistic Annotator) is a time-alignable video/audio annotation tool that can be used with different transcription systems with different analytical goals (i.e., from phonetics to discourse, from linguistic to anthropological). 

On Sunday morning (the 22nd of May), Julie Hochgesang will be providing a brief workshop introducing the use of ELAN to sign language researchers. This workshop assumes that participants have had no prior experience with ELAN and will provide step-by-step guidance to creating a transcription file connected to a video clip. This workshop will start with a brief lecture/demonstration (20-30 minutes). Then for the rest of the morning, participants will practice on their own (or with a partner if they have no computer) with guided tasks. 

At the end of this workshop, participants will have received a basic introduction to ELAN. Specifically, they will...
1) Know how to create an annotation file (.eaf) 
2) Be able to create annotations in ELAN
3) Be able to navigate ELAN
4) Learn how ELAN can benefit their work
5) Get a "quick guide" manual to ELAN (available digitally) 

It is strongly recommended that...
* People bring their own laptops along with digitized movies on their desktops. Additional computers or video data will not be made available.

* Participants download ELAN on their computers prior to the workshop. ELAN is free and available online at ELAN works on Mac, PC, and Linux. 

For participants who already have mastered basic use of ELAN, there will be an opportunity for people to meet and discuss "best practices" of ELAN (this can include template sharing, a discussion of unknown/new features, and tips on layered searching). This can occur in a separate area of the room or during lunch afterwards, depending on the wishes on the participants.