Third International Conference on Spoken Language Processing (ICSLP 94)

Yokohama, Japan
September 18-22, 1994

An Electronic Dictionary of Japanese Sign Language: Design of System and Organization of Database

Yumiko Fukuda (1), Wako Ikehara (2), Erniko Kamikubo (2), Shizuo Hiki (3)

(1) Research Institute, National Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled, Tokorozawa, Japan
(2) Graduate School of Human Sciences
(3) School of Human Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan

The design of a system and the organization of a database for an electronic dictionary of Japanese sign language is discussed, as part of a study concerned with language supplements to compensate for disabilities in using speech. The sign language vocabulary used in this dictionary is a set of about 900 sign words which are highly frequent in daily use of Japanese sign language. Each of the selected sign words was labeled with a descriptive system which consisted of a new combination of symbols for shape, position and movement of hands and arms, as well as phonetic and orthographic descriptions of corresponding speech. Pictures of these words, signed by a female native signer, were recorded on a laser disc. These recorded pictures were linked to a computer program through a computer controlled laser disc player, so that the corresponding pictures in the sign language vocabulary could be retrieved instantaneously from any of the descriptive items in the database. The system is being used to analyze details of sign gestures, and to refine the descriptions. The possibility of coordinating traditionally used descriptive symbols in different sign languages with kinematic properties of hand and arm movements is also investigated.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Fukuda, Yumiko / Ikehara, Wako / Kamikubo, Erniko / Hiki, Shizuo (1994): "An electronic dictionary of Japanese sign language: design of system and organization of database", In ICSLP-1994, 1987-1990.