FOR PROGRAMMERS: sign language parsing

Deaf Action Committee dac at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Mon Nov 3 16:51:09 UTC 2003

SignWriting List
November 3, 2003

Dear SW List -
Recently on the SLLING List (Sign Language Linguist List), they were
discussing "Sign Langauge Parsing", and Antonio Carlos gave such an
good answer to them, that I wanted to share it with our programmers on
the SW List. Here is his message posted on SLLING:

On Nov 1, 2003, Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa wrote:

> We are not yet able to parse sign language texts,
> but we are already able to search signs in sign language
> texts.
> I think everybody would agree that searching texts is
> the most basic text processing task. That's why we
> started with it.
> We are usign the SignWriting system
> to record sign language in written form. Such documents
> are stored in the SWML format
> which is an XML-based format for storing SignWriting texts.
>   The search procedure is very basic:
>   1) it can either match signs that have the symbols in the
> same absolute position in their respective sign boxes
>   2) or else it can match signs considering the relative
> positions of the symbols in the sign boxes, taking one of
> the symbols in the signs as a reference (usually the head).
>   The algorithm is very simple and not optimized. It is
> implemented just to demonstrate the idea that searching
> sign language texts is possible (which is obvious, as soon
> as you understand the principles of the SignWriting system).
>   We are a Computer Science group, not a Linguistics group.
> When we enter the parsing and semantic analysis tasks (which
> we will have to, sooner or later) we will need the participation
> of linguists.
>   Sorry for sending this first message without having introduced
> myself before. I've just been reading messages in the list, for a long
> time now. This is the first time I feel I can contribute something
> possibly interesting.
>   All the best,
>   Antonio Carlos
> ---------------------------------
> Antonio Carlos da Rocha Costa
> Escola de Informica
> Universidade Catolica de Pelotas
> Pelotas, RS, Brazil.

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