In January 2012, the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies applied for “The Government Fund under the Control of Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare to implement Public Education Activities on Rehabilitation 2012-13” in order to establish a Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) online platform which aims at promoting inclusion of deaf and hearing people as well as to provide supporting services for deaf people. With the funding from Labour and Welfare Bureau from May 2012 to January 2013, the Hong Kong Sign Language Browser (HKSL Browser) is published on 23rd January 2013. This Browser is the first comprehensive online database of HKSL and it collects data of lexical signs and variations of HKSL.
HKSL Browser is an online platform based on sign linguistics. In Phase I (2012-2013), it collects about 1200 HKSL lexical items. The Browser provides two indexes, Chinese strokes and initial handshapes of the signs. The use of initial handshapes highlights the linguistic properties of signs. This is also the kind of index found in recent sign language dictionaries published worldwide. The Browser is devoted to the recording of lexical signs and their background, including the frequency of usage, the age distributions, the origin of the signs, etc. The database also includes videos of demonstrations and lexical variations used by different deaf organizations. The major goals include promoting HKSL to the public and supporting sign language related activities, such as deaf education and sign interpretation, as to fit the need of deaf community. Different deaf organizations might use different lexical variations to express the same meaning. HKSL Browser collects the lexical variations comprehensively and analyzes how they are used by different deaf organizations. Through the use of the Browser, it is hoped that the deaf people can receive more supports.
In order to collect more HKSL lexical signs and their background, CSLDS invited different deaf organizations to join the working group from June 2012. The data are collected through an online questionnaire. The general public will be able to understand the usage of the collected signs by looking at the lexical variations used by different deaf organizations, frequency of use by the members of these deaf organizations, distribution of age of users, etc. With the support from “The Government Fund under the Control of Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare to implement Public Education Activities on Rehabilitation 2013-14”, HKSL Browser (Phase II) is now under progress. The research team is now analyzing about 700 lexical signs and variations which were uploaded to the platform by the collaborative deaf associations in 2012. These 700 lexical signs will be published in January 2014.
For the development of sign language professions, the long term goal of HKSL Browser is to develop different modules in the sign language lexical database. These modules include law, medicine, computer and technology, etc. This will promote the development of sign language professions and support the deaf services, in addition to recording HKSL. In the current phase, we are now collecting HKSL data of legal terms from deaf people with different sociolinguistic background, hearing interpreters who had worked at court or police station, and hearing fluent signers born of deaf adults. These data are aimed to be published in 2015-2016 under the Module of Legal Terms of HKSL Browser.
|Interface of HKSL Browser||Above the clip: different lexical variations are represented by different colours|
|Press Conference on 23rd January 2013|