Clarification and Correction

I recently got interviewed by loQal about my research. You can read the article here. I guess I didn't explain some things clearly enough and I'd hate to give a false impression regarding the research. Here are some items I'd like to clarify or correct.

  • The Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Archive project is a collaboration between:
    1. Philippine Deaf Resource Center (PDRC) - an NGO
    2. Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) - an NGO
    3. Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Lab of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute
    4. Computer Vision and Machine Intelligence Group (CVMIG) of the Department of Computer Science

    DSP and CVMIG are both of the College of Engineering, UP Diliman.

  • The FSL Archive Project is a separate project from the Filipino Speech Corpus (PSC) project. For one thing, Sign is not Speech.
  • As far as I know, the linguistics research is being done by PDRC and PFD, not UP.
  • I don't have an application or system yet that can convert FSL into text. That is a long way off. What I have are experimental programs. Nothing practical. Also; syntax and semantics of FSL is currently poorly understood. Until we get a better handle on that, FSL to text sentences is not possible.
  • FSL vs ASL (vs SEE vs MCE). It cannot be denied that American Sign Language (ASL), Manually Coded English (MCE) and Signing Exact English (SEE) has a huge influence on FSL; however, many Filipino Deaf refer to their language as Filipino Sign Language. This is a social, cultural and political issue in addition to a technical issue. For example, the Deaf I met in Cebu called their sign language Cebu Sign Language. And yes, there is a lot of variation between regions, and provinces.
  • FSL vs English (vs Tagalog). This one confuses a lot of people. Sign is not Speech. FSL is not English. FSL is not Tagalog. FSL is a separate, distinct language. It helps if you think of Written English as a separate language from Spoken English. There is no equivalent "Written FSL". To facilitate research, signs are assigned a label called a GLOSS. It is a word or phrase borrowed from another language. Since many Deaf in the Philippines have Written English as a second language, the GLOSS is borrowed from Written English. It is often written in ALL CAPS to distinguish it from Written English (example: THINK-SKIP-MIND). Note that while the GLOSS is chosen to be as close to the meaning of the sign as possible, this is not a translation. This is one reason why you sometimes see Tagalog used as a GLOSS (example: LOLA).

I think that covers most of it. If you have more questions, leave a comment. Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Great to know that someone is doing a research combining sign language with the technology here in the Philippines.

    People often mistook FSL with either Tagalog or English. Even DepEd and some occasional stragglers like those who have no idea what they're talking about still insist on pushing the deaf against the wall and forcing them to swallow what they want. Deaf education has been in the Philippines for more than a century now and still there is no improvement in the lives of the deaf. Isn't it high time for us to understand and learn from them?

    Congratulations in advance and more power Sir Ed!