Nov 29

Now hiring a postdoc to work with us on the BSL Syntax project! Duties include annotation and analysis of BSL Corpus data and collection, annotation and analysis of supplementary elicitation and judgement data.

The position is available from January 2017 to 30th November 2019 in the first instance.

Closing date: 28 December 2016.


Informal queries

More details and application


Nov 14
New project on BSL syntax
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A new project “A broadly usage-based account of British Sign Language syntax” aims to document and describe word order and non-manual feature in different types of BSL sentences. The project, led by Kearsy Cormier with co-investigators Adam Schembri and Jordan Fenlon, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK and will run for 3 years from December 2016. More…

Jul 14

Annotation updates are available as of July 2015 – for details see Updates on CAVA (particularly the release notes).

Jun 2

The Digging into Signs project (2014-2015) final report is now available.

Jan 16

The Digging into Signs team is hosting a workshop on 30-31 March 2015 at University College London to share our joint annotation standards with other sign language corpus projects and to get some feedback on them. The programme consists of presentations and posters by researchers who have sign language corpus projects underway and have begun annotation.

Sep 25
BSL SignBank now online
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The latest output from the BSL Corpus is BSL SignBank, the first usage-based dictionary of BSL based on signs occurring in the BSL Corpus. For more, see our press release:

Jun 23

A new project called Digging into Signs, a partnership between UCL and Radboud University Nijmegen aims to create clear standards for annotation of sign language corpus data in order to help make cross-linguistic corpus research possible. The project, led by PIs Kearsy Cormier and Onno Crasborn and running for one year from June 2014, will use data from the recently collected BSL Corpus and also Corpus NGT (Sign Language of the Netherlands). For more information, see the project website:

Apr 24

England’s regional sign language dialects ‘in decline’

Apr 23

Hot off the press!
New paper on lexical variation and change in BSL in PLOS ONE,
by Rose Stamp, Adam Schembri, Jordan Fenlon, Ramas Rentelis, Bencie Woll & Kearsy Cormier

Lexical Variation and Change in British Sign Language
This paper presents results from a corpus-based study investigating lexical variation in BSL. An earlier study investigating variation in BSL numeral signs found that younger signers were using a decreasing variety of regionally distinct variants, suggesting that levelling may be taking place. Here, we report findings from a larger investigation looking at regional lexical variants for colours, countries, numbers and UK placenames elicited as part of the BSL Corpus Project. Age, school location and language background were significant predictors of lexical variation, with younger signers using a more levelled variety. This change appears to be happening faster in particular sub-groups of the deaf community (e.g., signers from hearing families). Also, we find that for the names of some UK cities, signers from outside the region use a different sign than those who live in the region.

See also press release “Language isn’t what it used to be (British Sign Language – that is)”, both in English and BSL

Oct 29

A new project based on the BSL Corpus Project data will begin in December 2012 on directional verbs: a corpus-based study of variation and change in the use of directional verbs in BSL, led by Kearsy Cormier (DCAL, UCL) and Adam Schembri (La Trobe University, Melbourne), working with Jordan Fenlon (DCAL, UCL). The project runs from Dec 2012 to May 2014. For more info:

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