Fri, 05/03/2010 - 14:25 — petri
The launch of the world's first online Animated Sign Language dictionary prototype was a huge success. We are entering the second phase now and plan to add 1500 Sign Language terms.
This revolutionary dictionary will finally allow Deaf children to look up vocabulary according to their own, primary language – sign language - along with the English vocabulary counterpart, without having to rely on adults for definitions. An animated rabbit (created by Braam Jordaan) signs the words and a magician provides the definitions and signed words in sentences with the option for English and voice over. Hearing children can also learn sign by finding words according to the English alphabet in a creative way with full live-action sign in motion rather than through photographs. It is noted for its creativity both in animated presentation as well as unique ability for how to find signed words – a fist of its kind!
The Animated Dictionary for Children has the attention of the world as it is a landmark resource for Deaf children and their families accessible online for free at www.aslphabet.com©. The dictionary has gained media attention on Rogers Cable TV, in Mediacaster Magazine and in the Globe and Mail, national newspaper as well as by academics at Gallaudet University, U.S.A., international leader in education for Deaf students. It is a ground breaking initiative for Deaf children and their families as well as for hearing individuals wishing to learn Sign Language. Its animations make it user friendly for children – a feature not done before with Sign Language as the primary language.
This animated dictionary has been a collaborative process between the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, marblemedia Inc. and educators in Canada, with Deaf linguist, Dr. Sam Supalla, in the United States and award winning Deaf animator, Braam Jordaan in South Africa. As such it is a significant cross-national initiative marking a powerful new resource for Deaf children with potential significant impact on their literacy. The process of creating this dictionary was itself a momentous feat in promoting cross-linguistic and cross cultural understanding between Deaf and hearing individuals in South Africa, the United States and Canada and its result is momentous with far reaching consequences to improve literacy of Deaf children, understanding between Deaf and hearing adults and children not only of signed language but also of Deaf culture embedded in word definitions.
Since its launch in December 2009, it has already been used in schools with Deaf children across Canada and in the United States and serves as a prototype for such a dictionary in South Africa and other countries. We plan to expand it to 1,500 words for young children kindergarten to grade 3 but it has found appeal with youth and adults as well! Mr. Jordaan has been instrumental in working towards creating the same available product for children in South Africa. Braam Jordaan’s outstanding animation role in creating this dictionary was critical to its phenomenal impact as a unique, educational language tool to promote the language of Deaf people, increase literacy, increase understanding of Deaf and hearing children and adults of each other and to foster positive language interactions across Deaf and hearing individuals.
The Deaf Culture Centre, a project of the Canadian Cultural Society of the Deaf, celebrates Deaf life, promotes the arts, languages, literature and heritage of the Deaf community and understanding between Deaf and hearing individuals. Rooted in the Deaf community and open to the public, it features a museum, art gallery, gift shop, library and multimedia production studio at the historic culture, arts and entertainment Distillery Historic District in the heart of Old Town Toronto.