ELAR turns 50

The latest, and fiftieth, deposit to go online at the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) is Trevor Johnson’s magnificent Auslan Corpus. Auslan is Australian Sign Language and the corpus consists of over 900 bundles (including over 850 video recordings) of one hundred native or near-native deaf signers filmed in pairs between mid-2004 and mid-2007 in five cities across Australia (Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney). The materials include interviews, retelling stories, recalling personal events, responding to a questionnaire, engaging in spontaneous conversation, and responding in Auslan to various stimuli such as a picture-book story, a filmed cartoon, and a filmed story told in Auslan.

The corpus was originally deposited at the Endangered Languages Archive in late 2008 (following completion of an ELDP-funded Major Documentation Project) and during the intervening years Trevor Johnson and fellow researchers have been glossing, translating and annotating parts of the corpus using the software tool ELAN in order to make it machine readable and searchable. The corpus is now being published for researchers, signers and interested others to access; parts of the video deposit are publicly accessible and other parts are accessible to subscribers on application to the depositor. The glossing, translation and annotation work on the corpus will take many more years to complete and updates will be added as they become available.

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