An Action-Based Concept for the Phonetic Annotation of Sign Language Gestures


Communicative actions are specific movements or gestures which are accomplished by vocal tract articulators (lips, tongue, velum etc.) for speech, by facial articulators (eye brows, eye lids etc.) for co-verbal facial expression and by other bodily articulators (hands, arms etc.) for co-verbal gesturing. While action-based approaches already exist for spoken language processing it is the aim of this paper to adopt action theory for signed language processing (i.e. production and perception of sign language). Method: An action-based method for the phonetic annotation of sign language has been developed and a 100 sentence American Sign Language corpus has been analyzed using this method. Results: Five basic types of sign actions were identified, all indicating the importance of movement phases even if the goal of a gesture is to reach a specific target (e.g. specific hand shape, orientation, location, and/or direction). Conclusion: This study is a starting point for investigating sign language production quantitatively in terms of a unified action theory.

Year: 2010
In session: Multimodal Communication
Pages: 33 to 39