Promoting Better Deaf/Hearing Communication Through an Improved Interaction Design for Fingerspelling Practice

  • Rosalee WolfeEmail author
  • John McDonald
  • Jorge Toro
  • Souad Baowidan
  • Robyn Moncrief
  • Jerry Schnepp
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9175)


Fingerspelling is a manual system used by many signers for producing letters of a written alphabet to spell words from a spoken language. It can function as a link between signed and spoken languages. Fingerspelling is a vital skill for ASL/English interpreters, parents and teachers of deaf children as well as providers of deaf social services. Unfortunately fingerspelling reception can be a particularly difficult skill for hearing adults to acquire. One of the contributing factors to this situation is a lack of adequate technology to facilitate self-study. This paper describes new efforts to create a practice tool that more realistically simulates the use of fingerspelling in the real world.


Deaf Deaf accessibility American sign language Fingerspelling Voice input 


  1. 1.
    Battison, R.: Lexical Borrowing in American Sign Language. Linstok Press, Silver Spring (1978)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Padden, C.: The acquisition of fingerspelling by deaf children. In: Siple, P., Fischer, S. (eds.) Theoretical Issues in Sign Language Research, pp. 191–210. University of Chicago, Chicago (1991)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Caulderon, R.: Parental involvement in deaf children’s education programs as a predictor of child’s language, early reading, and social-emotional development. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ. 5(2), 140–155 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Strong, M., Prinz, P.: A study of the relationship between American sign language and English literacy. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ. 2(1), 37–46 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Meyers, J., Bartee, J.: Improvements in the signing skills of hearing parents of deaf children. Am. Ann. Deaf 137(3), 257–260 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ramsey, C., Padden, C.: Natives and newcomers: gaining access to literacy in a classroom for deaf children. Anthropol. Educ. Q. 29(1), 5–24 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Napier, J.: University interpreting: linguistic issues for consideration. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ. 7(4), 281–301 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Quigley, S.: The vocational rehabilitation of deaf people. SRS-72-25037, Washington, DC (1972)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wilcox, S.: The Phonetics of Fingerspelling. John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Grushkin, D.: Lexidactylophobia: the irrational fear of fingerspelling. Am. Ann. Deaf 143(5), 404–415 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Jones, T., Ewing, K.: An analysis of teacher preparation in deaf education: programs approved by the council on education of the deaf. Am. Ann. Deaf 147(5), 71–78 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hitch, M.: Educational interpreters: certified or uncertified. J. Law Educ. 34, 161–165 (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schick, B., Williams, K., Kupermintz, H.: Look who’s being left behind: educational interpreters and access to education for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. J. Deaf Stud. Deaf Educ. 11(1), 3–20 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    McKee, R., McKee, D.: What’s so hard about learning ASL?: students’ & teachers’ perceptions. Sign Lang. Stud. 75(1), 129–157 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shaffer, L., Watson, W.: Peer mentoring: what is that? In: Maroney, E. (ed.) Proceedings of the 15th National Convention Conference of Interpreter Trainers (CIT), CIT, Still shining after 25 years, Washington, DC, pp. 77–92 (2004)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shipgood, L., Pring, T.: The difficulties of learning fingerspelling: an experimental investigation with hearing adult learners. Int. J. Lang. Commun. Disord. 30(4), 401–416 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hernandez, R.A.: New ideas of teaching and learning fingerspelling. In: McIntire, M. (ed.) New Dimensions in Interpreter Education: Curriculum and Instruction, pp. 121–124. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Silver Spring (1987)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Jerde, T., Soechting, J., Flanders, M.: Coarticulation in fluent fingerspelling. J. Neurosci. 23(6), 2383–2393 (2003)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Smith, C., Lentz, E.M., Mikos, K.: Signing Naturally Student Workbook Level 1. Dawn Sign Press, San Diego (1988)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Reed, C., Delhorne, L., Durlach, N., Fischer, S.: A study of the tactual and visual reception of fingerspelling. J. Speech Lang. Hear. Res. 33, 786–797 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Guillory, L.: Expressive and Receptive Fingerspelling for Hearing Adults. Claitors Publishing Division, Baton Rouge (1966)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jaklic, A., Vodopivec, D., Komac, V.: Learning sign language through multimedia. In: International Conference on Multimedia Computing and Systems, Washington, DC, pp. 282–285 (1995)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Vicars, B.: Dr. Bill Vicars’ American sign language (ASL) fingerspelling practice site. Accessed 2005
  24. 24.
    McDonald, J., Alkoby, K., Carter, R., Christopher, J., Davidson, M.J., Ethridge, D., Furst, J., Hinkle, D., Lancaster, G., Smallwood, L., Ougouag-Tiouririne, N., Toro, J., Xu, S., Wolfe, R.: An improved articulated model of the human hand. Vis. Comput. 17(3), 158–166 (2001)CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Su, A.: VRML-based representations of ASL fingerspelling on the world-wide web. In: The Third International ACM SIGCAPH Conference on Assistive Technologies, Marina del Rey, CA (1998)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Dickson, S.: Advanced animation in mathematica. Math. J. 15(2) (2013)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Adamo-Villani, N., Beni, G.: Automated finger spelling by highly realistic 3D animation. Br. J. Educ. Technol. 35(3), 345–362 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Toro, J.A., McDonald, J.C., Wolfe, R.: Fostering better deaf/hearing communication through a novel mobile app for fingerspelling. In: Miesenberger, K., Fels, D., Archambault, D., Peňáz, P., Zagler, W. (eds.) ICCHP 2014, Part II. LNCS, vol. 8548, pp. 559–564. Springer, Heidelberg (2014)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kukich, K.: Techniques for automatically correcting words in text. ACM Comput. Surv. 24(4), 377–439 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Parhi, P., Karlson, A., Bederson, B.: Target size study for one-handed thumb use on small touchscreen devices. In: Proceedings of the 8th Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, pp. 203–210 (2006)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Registry of interpreters for the deaf: NAD-RID National Interpreter Certification. Accessed 2014
  32. 32.
    Hauptmann, A., Rudnicky, A.: A comparison of speech and typed input. In: Proceedings of the Speech and Natural Language Workshop, Stroudsburg, PA, pp. 219–224 (1990)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Rebman Jr., C., Aiken, M., Cegielski, C.: Speech recognition in the human-computer interface. Inf. Manag. 40(6), 509–519 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cherubini, M., Anguera, X., Oliver, N., De Oliveira, R.: Text versus speech: a comparison of tagging input modalities for camera phones. In: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (MobileHCI 2009), Bonn, Germany, pp. 1–10 (2009)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kieras, D.: A guide to GOMS model usability evaluation using COMSL and GLEAN3, Ann Arbor (1999)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Peacocke, R., Graf, D.: An introduction to speech and speaker recognition. Computer 23(8), 26–33 (1990)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Geer, L., Keane, J.: Exploring factors that contribute to successful fingerspelling comprehension. In: Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC), Reykjavik, Iceland, pp. 68–69 (2014)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Fawcett, T.: An introduction to ROC analysis. Pattern Recogn. Lett. 27(8), 861–874 (2006)MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Carnegie Mellon University: The CMU pronouncing dictionary.
  40. 40.
    Jamrozik, D., Davidson, M., McDonald, J., Wolfe, R.: Teaching students to decipher fingerspelling through context: a new pedagogical approach. In: Proceedings of the 17th National Convention Conference of Interpreter Trainers, San Antonio, TX, pp. 35–47 (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosalee Wolfe
    • 1
    Email author
  • John McDonald
    • 1
  • Jorge Toro
    • 2
  • Souad Baowidan
    • 1
  • Robyn Moncrief
    • 1
  • Jerry Schnepp
    • 3
  1. 1.DePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Worchester Polytechnic InstituteWorchesterUSA
  3. 3.Bowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Personalised recommendations