- Welcome to the SIGN-HUB Platform!
This platform was conceived as a hub of resources for sign languages, and it was created and developed by the SIGN-HUB project (2016-2020), funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 framework program.
The platform displays four major types of contents:
- Grammars: digital grammar descriptions of 7 sign languages, produced with a new online grammar writing tool that implements the Sign-Gram Blueprint;
- Atlas: an interactive digital atlas of linguistic structures of the world's sign languages;
- Assessment: online sign language assessment tools for professionals;
- Life stories: the first digital archive of life narratives by elderly signers from the participating countries, partly subtitled and partially annotated for linguistic properties, as well as the documentary movie We were there, we are here, based on those interviews.
Most contents are immediately accessible to anyone, while other contents require applying for restricted access (all contents are available for free, though). See the corresponding instructions for each type of content.
The materials on the platform are hosted by ORTOLANG, a French public research infrastructure.
The SIGN-HUB consortium that created the contents and the platform was formed by: University of Amsterdam, Boğaziçi University, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, University of Milan-Bicocca, CINI (Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per l’Informatica), CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Georg-August University of Göttingen, University of Paris, Pompeu Fabra University and Tel Aviv University.
- What is the SIGN-HUB Platform?
The SIGN-HUB platform is an innovative and inclusive resource hub for the linguistic, historical and cultural documentation of European sign languages and their Deaf communities' heritage. This platform has been developed during the SIGN-HUB project which was funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant Agreement No 693349. If you would like to find out more about the SIGN-HUB project itself and the consortium of institutions and countries that developed this platform, please visit the section “SIGN-HUB Project” in the upper right corner.
The platform provides four major sections that can be used independently as an information resource for researchers, scholars, teachers, interpreters, and anybody interested in sign languages.
The Atlas of Sign Language Structures presents a comprehensive array of grammatical features and phenomena across a wide variety of sign languages of the world. This is the first attempt to offer such a broad and uniform cross-linguistic coverage of grammatical core properties of sign languages.
Through four broadly distributed online questionnaires, we collected and elicited data from as many sign languages as possible, no matter whether they are well investigated or under-researched. The features in the questionnaires addressed different areas of grammar and socio-historical background:
- Questionnaire 1: Phonology and Lexicon
- Questionnaire 2: Morphology
- Questionnaire 3: Syntax
- Questionnaire 4: Pragmatics and Socio-historical Background
Based on these data, we designed the interactive Atlas Tool on this platform. With animated functional maps, we show the grammatical structures of the sign languages of the world. The amount of grammatical features accessible for a sign language depends on the current status of its description. So, for some well-investigated sign languages you will find more grammatical features than for some less-investigated sign languages.
The Atlas of Sign Language Structures is designed in such a way that information on sign languages other than those represented here can be added in the future.
Lead partners: Jana Hosemann (University of Göttingen) and Markus Steinbach (University of Göttingen).
Until very recently, there were no extensive descriptive grammars for European sign languages. We tried to change that situation. This section of the platform hosts the grammar descriptions of 7 sign languages that have been developed during the SIGN-HUB project: Catalan Sign Language (LSC), French Sign Language (LSF), German Sign Language (DGS), Italian Sign Language (LIS), Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), Spanish Sign Language (LSE), and Turkish Sign Language (TİD). These are available for consultation and download.
These grammars have been written with a grammar writing tool that was also developed during the SIGN-HUB project. This tool is based on the SignGram Blueprint, which provides a very detailed Table of Contents for sign language reference grammars as well as a comprehensive guide for writing a sign language grammar.
The platform is designed in such as way that new grammars can be added in the future.
Lead partners: Meltem Kelepir (Boğaziçi University) and Josep Quer (Pompeu Fabra University).
In this area of the platform, you can find interviews conducted with elderly Deaf signers on their life experiences. All interviews have been conducted by Deaf interviewers and have been filmed by Deaf film crews in six different sign languages: Catalan Sign Language (LSC), German Sign Language (DGS), Italian Sign Language (LIS), Sign Language of the Netherlands (NGT), Spanish Sign Language (LSE), and Turkish Sign Language (TİD).
This area of the platform also contains a digitalized version of interviews by the University of Haifa Sign Language Research Lab and the digitalized version of three French documentary movies belonging to the Académie de la Langue des Signes Française.
Finally, the platform also hosts the 40-minute documentary movie ‘We were there, we are here’, which is based on all these materials.
Lead partner: Roland Pfau (University of Amsterdam)
The production of the documentary has been coordinated by the SIGN-HUB team at Bogazici University: Vincenza Iadevaia Gökgöz (producer), Aslı Göksel (assistant producer), Burcu Saral (assistant producer), Affan Taner (editor), and Ali Kanat (assistant editor).
The platform hosts 42 tests that assess linguistic skills of signers in four sign languages: Catalan Sign Language (LSC), French Sign Language (LSF), Italian Sign Language (LIS), and Spanish Sign Language (LSE). 37 of the tests target adults and 5 target children.
These are not yet clinical tests and they are intended to be used only in a research environment. There are plans to develop some of them into clinical tools in the near future.
These tests have been used to collect data from 3 groups of Deaf participants: Native signers (exposed to sign language from birth); Early signers (exposed to sign language before the age of 6); and Late signers (exposed to sign language between the age of 6 and 15). The results so far indicate that an early exposure to sign language has a positive impact on several language skills.
Lead partners: Caterina Donati (University of Paris) and Naama Friedmann (Tel Aviv University)