Weird and non-WEIRD: Introducing the Corpus of Indonesian Sign Language (BISINDO)

Nick Palfreyman

University of Central Lanchasire

We have entered the age of the sign language corpus, with several comprehensive corpora already available -including for Australian Sign Language, NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands) and British Sign Language. However, there is currently a noticeable bias towards SLs of WEIRD (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) countries. This presentation introduces the BISINDO Corpus, which features over 45,000 tokens from spontaneous conversation between 131 participants using Indonesian Sign Language. For this corpus, data were collected between 2010 and 2017 from six Indonesian cities/islands. I begin by discussing some of the challenges in compiling the BISINDO corpus, including - in some cases - finding deaf sign language users in the field. Other challenges are not particular to sign language research and seem to be faced by corpus linguists in many non-WEIRD societies, especially around ethics. I then move on to look at two examples of how the corpus can shed light on processes of language change in BISINDO. First, I look at the grammatical domain of negation, and second at signs based on BISINDO's two manual alphabets.

Week 10 2019/2020

Thursday 12th December 2019

Management school LT5