Assessing an Automated Tool to Quantify Variation in Movement and Location: A Case Study of American Sign Language and Ghanaian Sign Language

Autor/a: FRAGKIADIS, Manolis
Año: 2023
Editorial: Sign Language Studies, 23(1), 98-126
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Lingüística » Lingüística de otras Lenguas de Signos, Medios de comunicación y acceso a la información » Nuevas Tecnologías


Signs in sign languages have been mainly analyzed as composed of three formational elements: hand configuration, location, and movement. Researchers compare and contrast lexical differences and similarities among different signs and languages based on these formal elements. Such measurement requires extensive manual annotation of each feature based on a predefined process and can be time consuming because it is based on abstract representations that usually do not take into account the individual traits of different signers. This study showcases a newly developed tool named DistSign, used here to measure and visualize variation based on the wrist trajectory in the lexica of two sign languages, namely American Sign Language (ASL) and Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL), which are assumed to be historically related (Edward 2014). The tool utilizes the pretrained pose estimation framework OpenPose to track the body joints of different signers. Subsequently, the Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) algorithm, which measures the similarity between two temporal sequences, is used to quantify variation in the paths of the dominant hand’s wrist across signs. This enables one to efficiently identify cognates across languages, as well as false cognates. The results show that the DistSign tool can recognize cognates with a 60 percent accuracy, using a semiautomated method that utilizes the Levenshtein distance metric as a baseline.