Report on first ViCom project workshop: “Establishing a lexical database for psycholinguistic research on German Sign Language (DGS)”

The goal of this workshop was to lay the foundations for establishing a collaborative database for psycholinguistic research on German Sign Language (DGS) as part of ViCom, similar to already existing databases for other sign languages.

When? October 11th-12th 2023

Where? University of Göttingen


Workshop report

The first internal ViCom workshop on “Establishing a lexical database for psycholinguistic research on German Sign Language (DGS)” took place on October 11th and 12th at the University of Göttingen. This workshop was jointly organised by the projects “The Gesture-to-Sign Trajectory“ and “Parts of Speech and Iconicity in DGS“ funded via the ViCom priority programme.

The main goal of the workshop was to bring together different researchers working on DGS from within ViCom and beyond who have already collected subjective rating data for different psycholinguistic variables (e.g., iconicity, transparency, age of acquisition, etc.) or are currently planning to do so.

Day 1 started with a general introduction of all participants and the relevant data sets that they have collected in the past or are planning on collecting in the foreseeable future. This was followed by a guest talk by Naomi Caselli on the past, present, and future of ASL-LEX—a lexical database for American Sign Language (ASL) of which Caselli is one of the co-creators. Workshop co-organiser Patrick Trettenbrein then started the general discussion amongst participants with a short kick-off presentation about what a possible collaboratively created “DGS-LEX” could look like.

On Day 2, the participants recapitulated insights from the first day of the workshop and jointly discussed technical and organisational issues such as, for example, how different datasets can be combined, how such a joint effort for a lexical database should be organised and coordinated, as well as what legal and licensing issues may arise in the process. This discussion was followed by a session in which concrete next steps were jointly formulated with the declared goal to create a first version of a lexical database for DGS (i.e., a “DGS-LEX”) throughout the course of the next year.

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