Donovan Catt


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Back and Forth between Theory and Application: Shared Phonological Coding Between ASL Signbank and ASL-LEX
Amelia Becker | Donovan Catt | Julie A. Hochgesang
Proceedings of the LREC2020 9th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Sign Language Resources in the Service of the Language Community, Technological Challenges and Application Perspectives

The development of signed language lexical databases, digital organizations that describe different phonological features of and attempt to establish relationships between signs has resulted in a renewed interest in the phonological descriptions used to uniquely identify and organize the lexicons of respective sign languages (van der Kooij, 2002; Fenlon et al., 2016; Brentari et al., 2018). Throughout the mutually shared coding process involved in organizing two lexical databases, ASL Signbank (Hochgesang, Crasborn and Lillo-Martin, 2020) and ASL-LEX (Caselli et al., 2016), issues have arisen that require revisiting how phonological features and categories are to be applied and even decided upon, and which would adequately distinguish lexical contrast for respective sign languages. The paper concludes by exploring the inverse of the theory-to-database relationship. Examples are given of theoretical implications and research questions that arise from consequences of language resource building. These are presented as evidence that not only does theory impact organization of databases but that the process of database creation can also inform our theories.