Sign Language Linguistics

The Sign Language research group at the Centre for Language Studies is an enthusiastic group of hearing and deaf linguists who investigate the structure and use of Sign Language of the Netherlands, the language of the deaf community in the Netherlands. While the central focus is on (psycho)linguistic research, we also invest a lot in the development of innovative methodologies to develop and work with sign language corpora. We have a strong commitment to make our research results accessible for a general audience and in particular for the deaf community itself, by websites such as Gebareninzicht and Just Deaf.

Research projects

Kinderen oefenen gebaren in de klas

Teaching materials on sign language and deafness for primary schools

Researchers develop teaching materials about sign language and deafness in this project.

People using sign language

EASIER – Intelligent Automatic Sign Language Translation

EASIER proposes an innovative, intelligent translation framework that places deaf individuals at the center of interaction, whether it takes place at school, workplace, or home.


We have worked on several projects creating or enhancing technologies for sign language research:

  • We have developed a connection between Signbank and ELAN (to be implemented separately for each Signbank installation)
  • We have developed more flexible ways of switching between different visual preferences in ELAN, allowing for the creation and selection of 'tier sets'
  • We have developed new ways of using lexical data in ELAN by improving the way that External Controlled Vocabularies are displayed
  • We have created a multilingual version of Signbank, the open-source lexical database for sign languages first designed by Trevor Johnston for Auslan. The Global Signbank stores datasets from various sign languages, and is open to hosting new datasets under certain conditions.
  • We have set up an ASL Signbank for the University of Connecticut and Gallaudet University.
  • With University College London, we have created a joint standard for glossing sign language videos (Digging into Signs)

Data sets

We have created some data collections; some for or with others. Most of these collections are archived at The Language Archive. The Signbank is hosted on our own server.

Data sets created by us

Data sets archived by us

Corpus NGT for researchers

The Corpus NGT is an open access online corpus of (partly annotated) dialogues between native users of Sign Language of the Netherlands (abbreviated as SLN or NGT).

Contact information


Erasmus building

Erasmusplein 1
6525HT Nijmegen
Postal address
Postbus 9103