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Network performance, web server storage capacity, and the power of personal computers now make possible the exchange of video in fluid sign language. Remote communication between signers is operational, as along with access to pre-recorded content in sign language. On the other hand, enabling sl cyberspace interactions between user and software resources remains to be accomplished. The absence of writing in sign language must be compensated for by researching methods and tools that facilitate the chain-editing of sl documents and thereby feed sl content into cyberspace. Access to such content must be sl-interactive, which requires the development of research into the recognition of requests in sl so that users can initiate, as well as the generation by the system of contextual responses produced by virtual signers. Under these conditions, cyberspace will become a real resource for the deaf, allowing them access information in their own language, and a real opportunity for sign languages by multiplying and enriching their fields of expression.

Annelies Braffort & Patrice Dalle BIBLIOGRAPHY [ALON 2009] Alon J., Athitsos V., Yuan Q. & Sclaroff S. (2009). A Unified Framework for Gesture Recognition and Spatiotemporal Gesture Segmentation, IEEE Transactions of Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) vol. 31 no 9 p. 1685-[ARAN 2009] Aran O., Ari I., Akarun L., Sankur B., Benoit A., Caplier A., Campr P., Carrillo AH., Fanard FX. (2009). SignTutor : An Interactive System for Sign Language Tutoring, IEEE Multimedia, vol. 16 p.81-93.

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[GUITTENY 2007] Guitteny P. (2007). Langue des signes et schmas, revue Traitement Automatique des Langues (TAL) Vol 48 2007. 3. Modlisation et traitement des langues des signes. http://www.atala.org/-Modelisation-et-traitement-desAnnelies Braffort & Patrice Dalle [JOHNSTON 2008] Johnston T. (2008). Corpus linguistics and signed languages : no lemmata, no corpus. 3rd Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages : Construction and Exploitation of Sign Language Corpora, 6th edition of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC).

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Annelies Braffort & Patrice Dalle TJEERD DE GRAAF HOW ORAL ARCHIVES BENEFIT ENDANGERED LANGUAGES The work of the Fryske Academy (Frisian Academy) and the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning is dedicated to the study of minority languages in Europe. The list of languages being at risk of extinction has increased dramatically in Central and Eastern Europe, and more in Russia and eastern Siberia.

This article presents the scientific projects aimed using linguistic materials from archives or harvested from fieldwork data.

Original article in English.

TJEERD DE GRAAF holds doctoral degrees in arts, in linguistics, as well as in theoretical physics. He was an associate professor of phonetics in the language department of the University of Groningen from to 2003. He now conducts his research in the Frisian Academy and the European Mercator Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning.

he Fryske akademy (Frisian Academy) and the Mercator European Research Centre on Multilingualism and Language Learning are deTvoted to the study of minority languages in Europe. The Academys primary involvement lies in the history, literature and culture related to the West-Frisian language. Speakers of its nearest relatives, the East- and North-Frisian languages in Germany, are less numerous and these languages are included into the list of endangered languages of Europe. This list increased significantly after the extension of the European Union with new member states in Central and Eastern Europe. Further eastwards, in the Russian Federation and Eastern Asia, a large number of endangered languages can also be found. This report presents existing and potential projects related to some of the endangered languages in the Russian Federation, in particular those based on the use of material from sound archives and fieldwork data.

HISTORICAL DATA IN SOUND ARCHIVES In the last half of the XIXth century, Thomas Edison drastically changed the possibility of doing linguistic research [DE GRAAF 1997, 2002C] with his 1880s invention of the phonograph, which could record sounds. For the first time, people were able to store and rehear acoustic data, in particular speech, and to reproduce it for other sound carriers. Not long after this invention, ethnologists, folklorists, linguists, composers, and amateurs began to use the new machine to collect information on the oral and musical data of cultural groups at home and abroad.

Prior to 1890, linguists in the field had to take notes by hand, which required many repetitions of spoken utterances, a laborious process for both investigator and informant. The phonograph changed all this ; linguists Tjeerd de Graaf could now obtain an accurate, objective and instantaneous record of a single performance. It was possible to capture the nuances and subtleties of the spoken word, duplicates could be played repeatedly for transcription and analysis, and the original recordings preserved for future use.

For best results in the reproduction of sound from the old wax cylinders, several modern cylinder players have been built which employ lightweight pick-up cartridges for mechanical extraction of the signal. In order to minimise degradation of cylinders by replay, and to make contents retrievable from broken cylinders, several optical methods have been developed for contactless, non-destructive replay. The first was introduced by a Japanese research group [ASAKURA ET AL. 1986]. In 1988 I was invited to work a few months with this group in Sapporo (Japan) where I could apply this method to some wax cylinders and learn from the experience of my Japanese colleagues.

Using the phonograph over the years from 1902 to 1905, the Polish anthropologist Bronisaw Pisidski recorded the speech and songs of the Ainu people on Sakhalin and Hokkaido on wax cylinders to study their culture. These wax cylinders were discovered in Poland and taken to Japan, where Prof. Asakuras research group contributed to the reconstruction of this valuable material. During my stay in Japan Prof. Kyoko Murasaki introduced me to the last speakers of Sakhalin Ainu, who were living on Hokkaido [MURASAKI 2001] and suggested that we might go together to Sakhalin to conduct fieldwork. Until 1988 Sakhalin was completely isolated from the outside world ; Gorbachovs perestrojka made it possible to organise the first international ethnolinguistic expedition to the island, which I joined in 1990 [DE GRAAF 1992]. We found no remnants of the Ainu population, but visited various parts of Sakhalin where the Nivkh people are living. The following sections of this article will report on the projects related to the use of sound archives for the study of minority languages.

SOME PROJECTS RELATED TO ENDANGERED LANGUAGES AND SOUND ARCHIVES Our research group on Phonetics and Ethnolinguistics has investigated various aspects of the languages spoken in the Russian Federation. In this report we shall describe a few projects that have been undertaken by the research group and elsewhere for the study of the minority peoples of Tjeerd de Graaf Russia and for the description of endangered languages. For this purpose, data from archives have been used and combined with results of modern fieldwork in several parts of the Russian North, Siberia, the Russian Far East and the border areas of Russia and Japan. Since 1992, these projects have been financially supported by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (nwo), the Organization intas of the European Union, and the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company ltd. We have collaborated with colleagues in Russia and Japan and part of our work is simultaneously related to Japanese research projects.

When recordings were made, it became obvious that a central facility was needed to preserve the valuable data that had been collected. At the beginning of the XXth century, this led to the establishment of sound archives, the earliest of which in Europe were located in Vienna, Berlin and St. Petersburg. The sound archives of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the Museum of Russian Literature (Pushkinsky Dom) in St. Petersburg contain about 7,000 wax cylinders of the Edison phonograph and more than 500 old wax discs. In addition, an extensive fund of gramophone records and one of the largest collections of tape-recordings of Russian folklore represent the history of Russian ethnography and contain a wide range of materials [DE GRAAF 2001, 2002A]. Many of these recordings form one of the basic collections used in our joint projects with St. Petersburg.

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