Monthly Archives: March 2014

UMD Visit (3/11/14)

On Tuesday, March 11, we visited the University of Maryland Linguistics Department and saw lectures on various topics.

We learned about crowdsourcing from Alex Quinn.

Slideshows from Alia Biller on music and tone language acquisition here and here.

Chris Heffner‘s slideshow on phonetic category learning is here.

Zoe Schlueter and Liz Nguyen spoke to us about MEG/EEG. Zoe’s slideshow on EEG and prediction is here.

More slideshows coming soon!

ASL Discourse (Guest Speaker Kristin Mulrooney, 3/19/14)

Kristin Mulrooney, Linguistics Professor at Gallaudet University, concluded our ASL series with a lecture on the challenges of creating signing avatars, in particular facial expressions. Her slideshow can be seen here.

NOTES (thanks to AC):



Linguistics Academia applied to the real world
The Facial Action Coding SystemApplication of Linguistics to the Real World

ASL Math Definition Dictionary

  • The face conveys many important aspects of ASL
    • emotion
    • grammatical information
    • ASL mouth gestures
    • English mouthing
    • discourse level information
  • The facial coding system
    • What is it?
      • Developed in the 1970’s to codify facial expressions by Dr. Eckmen
      • Segmented portions of the human face and mapped its movement
    • Found six basic expressions
      • Happiness
      • Fear
      • Anger
      • Surprise
      • Sadness
      • Disgust
    • Use of the facial coding system
      • Can be used to determine lying
      • When someone lies, there are tell signs which can be tracked using FACS
  • Example of Application: VCom3D and Dr. Mulrooney
    • Broad goal: determine another method of language exposure to deaf children
    • Specific goals
      • Create a life like avatar that accurately convey facial expressions
  • FACS and VCom3D
    • After being trained in using FACS, VCom3D began using FACS to create facial expressions
    • The facial expressions were not exactly accurate because certain facial expressions could convey multiple emotions
  • Year 1: Began indexing the facial expressions from previous projects
    • Done!
  • Year 2: Review math definitions that were signed
    • They are currently waiting for the Avatars to be delivered to the researchers

ASL Syntax (Guest Speaker Miako Rankin, 3/12/14)

Gallaudet University Assistant Professor of Linguistics Miako Rankin discussed research in ASL syntax. Dr. Rankin was supposed to visit last month, but had to reschedule because of the ice day. If you didn’t get a chance to skim through the reading last time, you can find it here.

We had a nice discussion about various aspects of ASL syntax and culture. We watched videos of ASL stories and poems.