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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Dr Onno Crasborn [Radboud University Nijmegen]: Ethical Questions about the Creation of a Sign Language Corpus

27th April 2010, 15:30, ER142, Elvet Riverside I, Durham University

Dr Otto Crasborn, Associate Professor, Radboud University Nijmegen is the current holder of the Mary Brennan Memoral Fellowship for 2010.  He will be giving a seminar entitled "Ethical Questions about the Creation of a Sign Language Corpus" on Tuesday 27 April in Durham.

Recent technologies in the area of video and Internet are allowing the creation and online publication of large signed language corpora. While primarily addressing the needs of linguists and other researchers, these data collections are sometimes also made accessible online for a general audience, because of their unique character in history. This ³open access² publication may benefit the language communities from which the recordings stem, yet they also raise some ethical concerns. In particular, informed consent is hard to obtain if, due to future technological developments, the consequences of online publication cannot be foreseen. While this problem cannot be resolved, I propose that the benefits of open access publication outweigh the possible objections. The first-time availability of large-scale language resources to not only researchers but also members of the deaf communities that are involved opens up a new era for sign language. Other types of question relate to language politics. To what extent do such projects automatically lead to language standardisation? What are the consequences of recording only a subset of the total community of signers?

These questions will be discussed in the context of the broader question about hte influence of linguists on language communities.

Contact j.m.collins@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

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