I started at DCAL as an intern in April 2013 working closely with Dr Kearsy Cormier and Dr Jordan Fenlon on the BSL Corpus Project, annotating video data collected from eight regions looking at phonology details and variants, handshape functions of the sub-ordinate and dominant hand, movement, location, relative orientation and other linguistic functions. I was also involved in the process of the migration from BLD to BSL SignBank, supporting the population of the videos and developing our online dictionary.
This also led onto other research opportunities and developing my interest for sign language research, working closely with Professor Gary Morgan, Dr Pamela Perniss and Jenny Lu. I worked on three projects; Baby Iconicity Project, Toy Iconicity Project and Science Signs Project. The Baby Iconicity Project looked at the difference in fluency of BSL, rate of phonological errors, handshape levels and functions of Deaf Parents of Deaf Babies in comparison with Hearing Parents of Deaf Babies and vice versa. The Science Signs project, involved testing a small number of signs developed by the Scottish Sensory Centre and whether they support and enhance deaf children’s understanding of these concepts.
I have now joined DCAL as a full-time staff working as a Research Assistant on a new project with Dr Kearsy Cormier, Dr Jordan Fenlon and Sandra Smith titled “Digging into Signs: developing standard annotation practices for cross-linguistic, quantitative analysis of sign language data” and developing the reference grammar for SignBank as part of DCAL’s strand one.