ELAN and SignWriting - for Adam's presentation at Gallaudet this weekend

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Thu May 19 18:18:48 UTC 2011

SignWriting List
May 19, 2011

Hello Adam, Claudia, Steve, Charles, Shane and Cherie -
I found some of the messages related to ELAN and SignWriting. They are pasted below. Scroll down and down. And thank you, Claudia, for your recent message about ELAN, which is very useful. Your message is also pasted below. The message by Steve Slevinski below explains how the new encoding of SignWriting into UTF8 will help, until the final version of SignWriting in the UCS is approved by the Unicode-related committees. So, Claudia, your point is well taken that a font could help with all the symbols of SignWriting available to the user of ELAN, but that would only give us a string of symbols, rather than writing in the proper SignWriting clusters. But in time, I am sure we can use ELAN for the real SignWriting clusters. The details have to be programmed with a special "SignWriting Plug-In" for ELAN is my guess, which Steve Slevinski, or other software developers, can design and program...

So below are messages related to ELAN and SignWriting....I hope this will help with your presentation at Gallaudet University this weekend, Adam -

Val ;-)


On May 10, 2011, at 9:52 AM, Claudia S. Bianchini wrote:

> Hello all!
> I've followed an ELAN formation some times ago (at Univ. 
> Paris8) and I've a question: is our interest to use complete SW 
> transcriptions or just use SW to annotate some particular phenomenas?
> If the answer is that we just want to use SW to annotate eye gaze, 
> configurations, head movements... we can create a font containing the 
> SW glyphes we want (one for eyegaze, one for configurations...) and use 
> our personal font in ELAN's tiers (this is easy to do in ELAN, if I 
> well remember)
> But if our interest is to use a complete sign 
> transcribed with SW... the problem is different! I think it's 
> impossible to create a font where every "lettre" is a complete SW's 
> sign, because of the high variability of signs (if we want to use signs 
> like gloses, why don't we use directly gloses??? horrible idea! O_o ). 
> So we'll need something that connect our SW's transcription to ELAN. 
> Why not thinking of creating a video that is a chain of SW's signs, 
> synchronized with the video you have transcribed: is possibile to use 2 
> video at the same time in ELAN. So we'll have the original video and 
> the transcription in SW. Then we can also use SW to annotate specifics 
> phenomenas, but we will not reduce SW to a linear succession of symbols 
> (like Stokoe notation or HamNoSys).
> This is only an intuition. I've 
> never used ELAN for annotation. I use to annotate by hand or with a 
> software that Fabrizio Borgia has created for me.
> Claudia


From: Steve Slevinski <slevin at signpuddle.net>
Date: January 13, 2010 9:08:58 AM PST
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Subject: Re: [sw-l] ELAN & SignWriting
Reply-To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>

If you want to integrate SignWriting into ELAN, you can use UTF-8.  All SignPuddle data easily converts between Binary SignWriting and UTF-8. 
Open any puddle and view a sign or sign text.  Under the entry, find the meta data.  Hover over the UTF-8 link to view the data.  Copy and paste just like text.  With the SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin, you can paste the UTF-8 and use it just like any other Unicode string.  
View the UTF-8 test page in MediaWiki:
SignWriting: http://www.signpuddle.net/mediawiki/index.php/Unicode_test
UTF-8: http://www.signpuddle.net/mediawiki/index.php?title=Unicode_test&action=edit
Copy any data from SignPuddle and paste it into the Unicode test page to see the possibilities.

ELAN will need a special plugin to view the SignWriting.  The font engine Graphite may be available the end of this year or next.

For online servers, the SignWriting Image Server is available.

I should have the UTF-8 documents and implementation available in 2 weeks.



From: Shane Gilchrist <shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at gmail.com>
Date: January 11, 2010 8:55:17 AM PST
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Subject: [sw-l] ELAN & SignWriting
Reply-To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>


you can get in touch with Han Sloetjes, the ELAN guy at MPI


I am sure he ll be more than happy to help you out. He is familiar
with us sign linguists (not me personally) - if you want, we can
discuss it off-forum and then keep this list informed with the latest


2010/1/11 Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at yahoo.com>:
So is there any plan to contact ELAN and work out a SignWriting interface
that is searchable by particular SW feature?


From: Shane Gilchrist <shane.gilchrist.oheorpa at gmail.com>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Sun, January 10, 2010 1:09:36 PM
Subject: Re: [sw-l] Gallaudet transcription class


ELAN is now becoming popular with sign linguists now - because of the
video inset etc.

It appeals to deafies too.


2010/1/10 Charles Butler <chazzer3332000 at yahoo.com>:
I've just checked the ELAN software they talk about and it is entirely a
gloss-based system.  It has nothing to do with actual sign language
transcription but controlled glossing and description in English or other
spoken languages.  I am working with a project that will take Sign Writing
and put it into English descriptors (not glossing but descriptors) for
linguistic research by another method, but in addition, being able to add
whatever translation or glossing may be useful.  It's a different
methodology altogether.
The ELAN software is a medium for parsing a videotape so that it can be
annoted step-by-step, so as a software it could, conceivably, be able to
SignWriting as and "alternate primary language", but it would be
to write the company and see what they could do.  It is Java and XML
enabled, so an interface could be created (finding funding would be an
interesting challenge).
Charles Butler

From: Cherie Wren <cwterp at yahoo.com>
To: SignWriting List <sw-l at majordomo.valenciacc.edu>
Sent: Sat, January 9, 2010 12:41:52 PM
Subject: [sw-l] Gallaudet transcription class

PST 371-01
Transcription of Sign Languages (1 credit)
This course begins by providing a brief history on transcription practices
in signed languages, particularly that of ASL linguistics. This leads to
discussion and evaluation of the role of glass transcripts as data for ASL
studies. The course then introduces the theory of transcription and what
defines successful transcription practices. Attention is also given to
learning ELAN software, a dedicated transcription program, and applying it
to ASL data.
Tuition: $185
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Contact
Julie.hochgesang at gallaudet.edu
RID CMP: Professional, Introductory, 1.5 CEUs
Course Materials: Instructor provided materials (keynote presentation and
scanned articles) and software (free and available as web download).
Instructor: Julie Hochgesang
Questions: cpso at gallaudet.edu

Interesting, no mention of signwriting....  Anybody in DC want to take the
class and open their eyes?  ::grin::



Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
sutton at signwriting.org

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