Sign Linguistics

SIGN-HUB

Preserving, researching and fostering the linguistic, historical and cultural heritage of European Deaf signing communities with an integral resource.

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An innovative and inclusive resource hub

SIGN-HUB is a 4-year research project (2016-2020) funded by the European Commission within Horizon 2020 Reflective Society 2015, Research and Innovation actions. It has been designed by a European research team to provide an innovative and inclusive resource hub for the linguistic, historical and cultural documentation of the Deaf communities’ heritage and for sign language assessment in clinical intervention and school settings.

A fundamental step towards sign language preservation and dissemination

In spite of a renewed interest and legal recognition in some European countries, sign languages are for the most part still under threat, as the result of remnants of traditional policies marginalizing sign language use. Deepening the knowledge on sign language grammars with a theoretically informed comparative approach is a fundamental step towards sign language preservation and dissemination, while contributing to the characterization of the human faculty of language, whose study is severely biased towards spoken languages.

To this end, it will create an open state-of-the-art digital platform with customized accessible interfaces. The project will initially feed that platform with core content in the following domains, expandable in the future to other sign languages:

  1. digital grammars of 6 sign languages, produced with a new online grammar writing tool;
  2. an interactive digital atlas of linguistic structures of the world's sign languages;
  3. online sign language assessment instruments for education and clinical intervention, and
  4. the first digital archive of life narratives by elderly signers, subtitled and partially annotated for linguistic properties.

Participation of 7 countries

These components, made available for the first time through a centralized platform to specialists and to the general public, will help explore and value the identity and the cultural, historical and linguistic assets of Deaf signing communities, advance linguistic knowledge on the natural languages of the Deaf and impact on the diagnosis of language deficits within these minorities. The project involves participation of seven countries: Spain, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey and Israel. The project includes four so-called Working Packages dedicated to management, content, technology, and dissemination. 

Published by  Faculty of Humanities

13 June 2017