The Brazilian Sign Language digital encyclopedia contains a databank of fifty-six hundred signs glossed in Portuguese and English, along with descriptions and illustrations of their sign form (sublexical structure) and meaning (referent). The encyclopedia includes a sublexical- component indexing system and a menu-based sign-retrieval system. These allow deaf users to locate specific signs based on five parameters, their cheremes, and allochers: (1) hands: articulation (e.g., 1–9, A–Z), orientation, and relationships; (2) fingers: type and articulation; (3) place; (4) movement: type, frequency/intensity, hand, finger, and body; and (5) facial expression. By taking advantage of imagery and linguistic processes involved in mental-lexicon access, the sign-retrieval system takes sign language dictionaries beyond the traditional alphabetical indexing of glosses. Utilizing the extensive sign bank, an eye-blink, air-puff-operated communication and telecommunication system allows deaf users with quadriplegia to select automatically scanned animated signs, compose messages, and have them printed and spoken with digitized speech in Portuguese and English.


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pp. 393-430
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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