Representing Coordination and Non-Coordination in an American Sign Language Animation

Matt Huenerfauth


University of Pennsylvania, USA


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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