Various enterprises and personal interests, such as Man-Machine Interaction (MMI), gesture studies, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Category: Signed Storytelling

ITV Signed Stories

I got an email from Adele Hopper that read:


Just wanted to drop you a line to let you know about a brand new interactive project bringing the best children’s literature to deaf children. is beautifully animated fully interactive website backed by stage, screen, sporting and literary icons including the Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen and sponsored by some of the UK biggest publishers – with 70 more stories to be added this year.

Attached is our press release and logo. Please contact me if you would like any more information

Kind regards

A piece of the homepage of signed stories

I checked out the site, and watched the story ‘Not now, Bernard’ (here). I think they did a marvellous job. It all looks really nice, it works well, and I would guess that this is going to provide many happy hours to deaf children and their parents. I wish someone in the Netherlands would pick up on this initiative and copy it for Dutch deaf children.

My BSL Books

The British are doing it again. Leading the world to a better place. This time it concern books, or stories might be a better word, in sign language, BSL to be exact. I wonder why they keep calling it books? Although my hearing kids sometimes listen to ‘Spoken Books’ on CDs, hmm. Thanks to Gavin Howard for the link.

MyBSLbooks: Welcome to – the World’s first free online library of signed books. We are delighted to share with you a range of popular children’s books, available for the first time in British Sign Language. This site offers D/deaf children, their families and schools wider access to their favourite stories in the preferred language of the Deaf Community.

Well, the site only contains about eight DVD’s so far. And it’s hardly a library since it doesn’t cover any books published by anyone else, and I don’t know if lending instead of buying is an option. The site is copyrighted by Lexicon/Signstream, so I guess they somehow own it.

Come to think of it, the Dutch site Vi-Taal – De Gebarenwinkel has had a similar offering out there for years, and also offers a lot of other sign language goodies. And the Nederlands Gebarencentrum has a few DVDs as well. But well done all the same, you wonderful Britons.

Nijntje Signs

Nijntje DVD in Nederlandse Gebarentaal (NGT)

There is a new DVD for kids created and sold bij Nederlands Gebarencentrum with translations or enactments of ten Nijntje stories in NGT.
It is the first of it’s kind in NGT, but similar to this ASL video of Click-clack Moo. In both cases the images of the children’s books animate the story. But in the Nijntje example the ‘storyteller’ dressed up like the Nijntje character. Funny though that may be it seems a bit beside the point. The voice-over in spoken Nijntje DVD’s does not represent the voice of Nijntje but is a storyteller. But here I go again with the sour comments. Stop it! It’s fun and good.

ps. It reminded me of Woof woof way, an ASL DVD where the storyteller dressed up as Paws, the dawg.

Plains Indian Sign Language, Browning 1930

A wonderful collection of videos with Plains Indian Sign Language has been put on YouTube by Tommy Foley.

A short ‘teaser’ with subtitles

The videos were recorded in 1930, Browning Montana, when sign talkers from 14 different Plains nations gathered as participants in a conference organized by General Hugh L. Scott for the purpose of demonstrating their use of sign language.

The first four videos (see this playlist) contain material from the participants at the conference themselves: Indians telling stories.

Another six videos are a video version of a dictionary of the language (see this playlist).

Following the 1930 Plains Indian Sign Language Conference, General Scott intended to produce a cinematic dictionary of over thirteen hundred signs. Due to the Great Depression it would have been too difficult to get a second appropriation bill passed through congress to finish the cinematic dictionary. He did manage to get over three hundred signs filmed. (Note from Tommy Foley)

An important documenter of the Plains Indian Sign Language was Col. Garrick Mallery. He wrote ‘Sign Language Among North American Indians Compared With That Among Other People And Deaf-Mutes’ a report for the Smithsonian Insitute which was published in 1881, which is avaliable for free download as an e-book via Project Gutenberg.

Signed Story Click, Clack, Moo

This wonderful multimedia video is a signed children’s book. Ah, the revolution that is YouTube.

Perception of Fidgeting during Signing

Do signers fidget during signing? This is a question I often pondered. How do signers handle fidgeting during signing. I have often witnessed that signers were fidgeting (rubbing their nose, or other self-adaptors) during signing. Even for me, a hearing non-signer, it seemed easy to spot such fidgeting movements as not being part of the signing. Now, luckily I came across a nice joke told in ASL at by Kenton Hoxie, a Deaf vlogger (one of a fast growing group of ASL video bloggers cruising on YouTube). Obviously I cannot follow the joke, maybe you can.

But I will propose a game of my own to you: Spot the Fidgeting!: Try to spot the fidgeting in this video, and ask yourself what makes you see it.

Is sign perception hampered or disturbed in any way by fidgeting? I would find it hard to believe, as even I can filter it out, and ignore it while trying to understand the signing.

It is also interesting to check whether fidgeting is like saying ‘ehm’. Surprisingly, fidgeting occurs with one hand while the other is signing. But it does seem to occur at pauses in the signing (between phrases?). It might therefore be related to utterance planning (which I think saying ‘ehrm’ is as well). If anyone has suggestions about this, they are more than welcome.

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