The Contemporary Portuguese Sign Language Dictionary: From the App to the Classroom


Sign languages are natural languages that use the visual-spatial modality, and Portuguese Sign Language (hereinafter LGP) is the natural language of the Portuguese deaf community. However, there is a clear lack and inadequacy of learning resources, which limits the literacy skills and appropriation of the linguistic system by Deaf people.

This project aims build the first Contemporary Dictionary of the LGP and deploy it in school practice. The Dictionary will feature innovative options such as searching for signs through the LGP hand shape, location, movement, palm orientation, and non-manual features. Searching by Portuguese words and themes will also be possible. At the microstructure level, it will include various information about each sign, such as examples of signs in sign language phrases, variants of signs, etymology and grammatical classification of signs. At the same time, we will develop an online platform to host the Dictionary, with the possibility of printing it on paper and an application (App) for mobile phones and tablets, making the consultation user-friendly. Associated to the Dictionary will be a crowdsourcing platform that enables the discussion of proposals for new gestures by the Deaf community and researchers duly accredited. The Dictionary is intended to be a central tool for teaching and learning LGP as the mother tongue of Deaf students and students who learn it as a second language. We will deploy the Dictionary in the oldest school for the Deaf in Portugal, the Jacob Rodrigues Pereira Institute (IJRP), to obtain evidence-based practice.

DCLGP is composed by an interdisciplinary team in a partnership between the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) and the Instituto Superior Técnico (ITI/LARSyS, IST-ID) research centres. The project aims to actively involve the Deaf community so that the Dictionary has a direct positive impact (i) on the acquisition of LGP by Deaf children, (ii) on the consolidation of the language in Deaf young people, (iii) ) in language learning by family members of Deaf children and young people, (iv) as a source of information for LGP interpreters and teachers of the Deaf and (v) in LGP learning by hearing people.


01/01/2023 - 31/12/2025

Funding scheme

Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

Project reference



Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP) and IST-ID

HCI Subfields

Accessibility and Aging