Eye Gaze and Eye Movement in Japanese Sign Language

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Eye gaze and eye movement in JSL (=Japanese Sign Language) are linguistic elements, as they are in American Sign Language (Thompson 2006) and German Sign Language (Hosemann 2009). But the linguists have not yet clarified the system and rules of these elements.I conducted eye tracking experiments to examine how 10 native signers and 10 non-native signers produced eye gaze and eye movement while they were signing the same sentences. Firstly, I tracked their eyes by the head mounted eye-tracking technology, Eye-mark Recorder ("EMR-9", nac IMAGE TECHNOLOGY, inc.), and at the same time, I also developed a way to record positions and movements of pupils in the images on the TV monitor by auto-tracing device of animation software (PV Studio 20, L.A.B.inc). I found the distinctive eye movements of native signers; gazing the recipient, tracking the hand movements and gazing or tracking the trace of the hand signs previously made. Using the descriptions and measurements by the above two devices, I analyzed eyes of JSL on images of ELAN, the software which creates complex annotations on video resources.I found the following eye grammar. Signers gaze at the manual sign and move eyes along classifiers or the trace of the manual sign, when the sentence implies the signer is/was experiencing what the sentence states. Signers gaze at the recipient if the signer is/was not experiencing by himself/herself what the sentence states. There are eyes as free morpheme, eyes as prosodic morpheme, and eyes as bound morpheme.


  • Journal of social policy and social work

    Journal of social policy and social work (20), 5-21, 2016-03

    Japan College of Social Work


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