About NZSL Dictionary
This NZSL Dictionary can be cited as follows:
McKee, D., McKee, R., Pivac Alexander, S., Pivac, L., & Vale, M. (2011). Online dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language. Wellington: Deaf Studies Research Unit, Victoria University of Wellington.
Material from this dictionary, including the drawings and videos, is licensed under a Creative Commons license. This means that you can use and adapt dictionary content provided that you:
- attribute this website (http://nzsl.nz) as the source, and indicate any changes that you have made.
- do not use the material for commercial purposes
- If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.
Examples of acceptable use:
- using drawings or videos from NZSL dictionary in teaching / learning resources for a class
- using drawings from NZSL dictionary for signage or posters in a school
- using drawings from NZSL dictionary for creating a free multilingual vocabulary booklet for parents.
- creating a free flashcard app using some or all of the signs in NZSL Dictionary.
The drawings in NZSL Dictionary are in screen resolution and may not print well. You can download a higher resolution print-readyversion of individual signs by clicking on the blue download arrow underneath the image. Contact email@example.com if you need further assistance.
Purpose of the Dictionary
The Online Dictionary of NZSL is a multimedia digital resource designed for use by learners and teachers of NZSL, Deaf people, families and associates of Deaf people, interpreters, researchers, and public agencies, among others. The dictionary is a reference tool that allows users to search for NZSL vocabulary through either English / Te Reo Māori words or by the visual features of signs themselves. Te Reo Māori translations have been added to each entry, making the dictionary accessible in three languages.
Dictionary users are bound to find some gaps for concepts that are not yet included, because the documentation of NZSL remains a work in progress. As with any language, NZSL vocabulary constantly changes and grows in response to the experiences of the language community. This online format will allow for the dictionary to be updated more readily than in the past.
An online dictionary provides information about the lexicon or words of a language, and creates an historical record of its development through time. However, it is not designed to be a stand-alone tool for teaching, learning or translating NZSL. These activities require more extensive and structured exposure to ‘live’ use of NZSL, supported by reference to the contents of the dictionary.
Dr. David McKee
Dr. Rachel McKee
Sara Pivac Alexander
Dr. Mireille Vale
Sara Pivac Alexander
Te Haumihiata Mason (Te Taura Whiri)
Kararaina Uatuku (Te Taura Whiri)
Original development: 3Months Ltd
Redevelopment and maintenance: Ackama
NZSL Online Dictionary has been made possible by an Encouraging and Supporting Innovation (ESI) grant from the Tertiary Education Commission.
The content of this online Dictionary is substantially based on A Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (1997) and A Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (2002). The project owes a huge debt of gratitude to the original General Editor of those dictionaries, Professor Graeme Kennedy, and to editorial team members: Richard Arnold, Pat Dugdale, Shaun Fahey and David Moskovitz. Compilation of data in the original 1997 Dictionary was assisted by over 90 members of the New Zealand Deaf Community who are acknowledged by name in that work.
We want to acknowledge the contributions of staff members of our partner organisations who supported the project and facilitated the validation of additional signs in this dictionary.
- Deaf Aotearoa NZ: Della Buzzard, Rachel Noble, Victoria Lessing, Catherine Greenwood
- Van Asch Deaf Education Centre: Paul Buzzard, Tess Hilmer, Janet Stokes
- Kelston Deaf Education Centre: Hilda Baker, Sarah Cameron, Shona McGhie, Pam Croskery, Jan Howard
- Auckland University of Technology: Debbie Corder
Support from the following organisations and individuals is also gratefully acknowledged:
- Research Office, Victoria University of Wellington
- Dr. Peter Andreae, School of Engineering and Computer Science, Victoria University of Wellington, for his advice on IT issues and development of a prototype online dictionary.
- Bridget Williams Books (publisher of the Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (1997) and the Concise Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language (2002)
- The Danish Sign Language Dictionary editorial staff: Jette H. Kristoffersen, Thomas Troelsgård, Bo Hårdell, Janne Boye Niemelä
- Dr Diane Bardsley, The New Zealand Dictionary Centre
- School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies