On the rhythm of head movements in Finnish and Swedish sign language sentences

Tommi Jantunen, Johanna Mesch, Anna Puupponen, Jorma Laaksonen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper investigates, with the help of computer-vision technology, the similarities and differences in the rhythm of the movements of the head in sentences in Finnish (FinSL) and Swedish Sign Language (SSL). The results show that the movement of the head in the two languages is often very similar: in both languages, the instances when the movement of the head changes direction were distributed similarly with regard to clause-boundaries, and the contours of the roll (tilting-like) motion of the head during the sentences were similar. Concerning differences, direction changes were found to be used more effectively in the marking of clause-boundaries in FinSL, and in SSL the head moved nearly twice as fast as in FinSL. However, the small amount of data means that the results can be considered to be only preliminary. The paper indicates the roll angle of the head as a domain for further work on headrelated rhythm.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on Speech Prosody
Subtitle of host publication8th Speech Prosody 2016
PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Speech Prosody - Boston, United States
Duration: 31 May 20163 Jun 2016
Conference number: 8

Publication series

NameSpeech prosody : an international conference
PublisherInternational Speech Communication Association
ISSN (Electronic)2333-2042


ConferenceInternational Conference on Speech Prosody
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Finnish sign language
  • Head movement
  • Rhythm
  • Sentence
  • Swedish sign language


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  • Finnish centre of excellence in computational inference research

    Xu, Y., Pesonen, H., Rintanen, J., Kaski, S., Anwer, R., Parviainen, P., Soare, M., Weinzierl, A., Vuollekoski, H., Rezazadegan Tavakoli, H., Yang, Z., Peltola, T., Blomstedt, P., Puranen, S., Dutta, R., Gebser, M., Mononen, T., Bogaerts, B. & Tasharrofi, S.


    Project: Academy of Finland: Other research funding

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