My interest in sign language linguistics began in 2006 when I found out that sign languages were fully-fledged languages. This fascinated me and led me to learn BSL at evening classes, and then I applied to be a volunteer at DCAL in 2013. Here, I documented the variation in signs for colours, numbers and places found in the BSL Corpus for addition to the BSL Signbank, our online lexical dictionary.
I went on to complete a MSc in Language Sciences specialising in Sign Language in 2016; I was keen to continue working with the Corpus since I recognised the value of capturing spontaneous use of BSL, so I used it as the basis of my MSc project investigating sociolinguistic variation in mouthing in the Corpus.
I am now studying for a PhD, investigating the structure of the noun phrase in BSL, again using the BSL corpus as a key resource but broadening my approach to include data elicited from native signers. This involves working closely with the BSL Syntax project team.
Aside from this, I have a BSc in Maths with Computing, and I have worked in IT for rail ticketing since 1992: there are parallels between the two fields, not least in the need for niche technical knowledge combined with precision and rigour of approach.
Direct contact: Heidi Proctor