Phonetics of Negative Headshake in Russian Sign Language: A Small-Scale Corpus Study

We analyzed negative headshake found in the online corpus of Russian Sign Language. We found that negative headshake can co-occur with negative manual signs, although most of these signs are not accompanied by it. We applied OpenFace, a Computer Vision toolkit, to extract head rotation measurements from video recordings, and analyzed the headshake in terms of the number of peaks (turns), the amplitude of the turns, and their frequency. We find that such basic phonetic measurements of headshake can be extracted using a combination of manual annotation and Computer Vision, and can be further used in comparative research across constructions and sign languages.

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