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Representing coordination and non-coordination in American Sign Language animations

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While strings and syntax trees are used by the Natural Language Processing community to represent the structure of spoken languages, these encodings are difficult to adapt to a signed language like American Sign Language (ASL). In particular, the multichannel nature of an ASL performance makes it difficult to encode in a linear single-channel string. This paper will introduce the Partition/Constitute (P/C) formalism, a new method of computationally representing a linguistic signal containing multiple channels. The formalism allows coordination and non-coordination relationships to be encoded between different portions of a signal. The P/C formalism will be compared to representations used in related research in gesture animation. The way in which P/C is used by this project to build an English-to-ASL machine translation system will also be discussed.
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Keywords: Accessibility technology for the deaf; American Sign Language; Gesture generation; Machine translation; Multimodal generation; Partition/Constitute formalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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