Building the British Sign Language Corpus

Adam Schembri, Jordan Fenlon, Ramas Rentelis, Sally Reynolds, Kearsy Cormier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents an overview of the British Sign Language Corpus Project—the rst endeavor to create a machine-readable digital corpus of British Sign Language (BSL) collected from deaf signers across the United Kingdom. In the eld of sign language studies, it represents a unique combination of methodology from variationist sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics. Unlike previous large-scale sign language sociolinguistic projects, the dataset is being annotated and tagged using ELAN software, given metadata descriptions, and the video data has been made accessible, with long-term efforts to make the dataset searchable on-line. This means, however, that participants must consent to having the video data of their sign language use made public. This puts at risk the authenticity of the linguistic data collected, as signers may monitor their production more carefully than usual. We discuss our attempt to minimize this problem by creating a dual-access archive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-154
Number of pages19
JournalLanguage Documentation and Conservation
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


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