Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language Project

The multimedia Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL Online) was launched in 2011, developed by the Deaf Studies Research Unit (DSRU), in collaboration with partner organisations. The project (2008-2011) was publicly funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, “Encouraging and Supporting Innovation (ESI)” fund.

NZSL Online builds upon the database of A Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (1998), and A Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (2002), (still available in print). In the development of NZSL Online, content was updated and video clips were added to demonstrate how each sign is produced. Example sentence videos illustrate how each sign is used in a natural context. A large proportion of the usage examples are based on a corpus of authentic NZSL conversation and narrative data.

A "User Requirements Survey" pdf118KB was undertaken prior to making NZSL Online, to determine dictionary user needs and preferences.

The dictionary has over 5,000 entries and expansion of content is ongoing through specific projects; for example, adding signs relevant to young children, and New Zealand geographical place names.

The dictionary can be searched in several ways: by English word, by Māori word, by features of a sign (handshape and location), by topics, and by other categories.

NZSL Online was Highly Commended in the Australia NZ Internet Awards, 2011.

The development of NZSL Online is described in more detail in this article:

McKee, R. and D. McKee. (2013). Making an Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language. Lexikos, 23.

Technical queries about the database or content inquiries can be made via the Contact Us link on the dictionary website.