It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
I would like to introduce a syntax project which is now available online. The 'Syntax Student's Companion' is a project first intended for syntax students and teachers, which takes the form of a Java applet/application. Because of this, any computer environmen supporting a Java Virtual Machine should be able to run the program, and any Java-enabled browser to run the applet.
The SSC could be a support tool for introductory syntax courses, as well as a tree editor to produce bitmaps for handouts or assignments. The main feature of the program is to allow visual syntactic tree building and manipulation. Context-free grammars can also be edited and used to check the validity of trees. Trees and grammars can be saved in XML packages with the application version. The program also supports exercices from XML packages (unambiguous tree drawing, ambiguous tree drawing, and transformations).
The project was developed with students in mind, thus it is entirely free of use. In order to become really useful, it needs contributions from people involved in Linguistics, under the form of exercices, grammars and trees (detailed explanations on how to produce such resources can be found on the website). The idea behind this would be to have a repository of exercices as free material for students to practice syntax exercices online. Practically, teachers could produce their own exercices, add them to the repository and tell their students to do the exercices contained in their package.
The program also supports language resource files so that it can be run in any language that can be encoded into UNICODE (provided the client system has the necessary fonts). It can now be used in English and French, but any contributors who would like to take a bit of their time to translate the template file would be very welcome.
The URL for the SSC website is http://wwwetu.utc.fr/~maxaurel/welcome.html . On the website, you can get more details about the program, see the latest additions, run the applet, download the application, browse the online manual, and learn more about how you can contribute to the project. I sincerely wish that this project could be useful, so any feedback on anything related to the project would be much appreciated.
Thanks for reading, Aurelien MAX
/------------------------------------------------------------ | The Syntax Student's Companion homepage | | http://wwwetu.utc.fr/~maxaurel/welcome.html | | | | Syntactic tree drawing and grammar checking on the web | \------------------------------------------------------------/
ANNOUNCEMENT : NEW LANGUAGE RESOURCES INTERNET SERVICE
ELAN: European Language Activity Network (EU-funded MLIS 121 Project)
A new language resources internet service is to be launched soon: The European Language Activity Network (ELAN).
************************ What is new about this service?
For a user with network access to various linguistic resources, exploration is often hampered by the fact that each provider grants access to his data by means of an exploration environment that is specifically designed for the local resources. The aim of the projec ELAN is to eliminate this problem by forming a convergence of the technological achievements so far.
ELAN aims at the design of a common query language (ELAN-CQL) which will reinforce or, where necessary, create international standards.
************************* The Benefit.
That means ELAN will provide a userfriendly online service for querying European language resources using a single uniform interface. The default operating language of the graphical interface will be English but translations of the operating terms into many of the languages involved will be available, too, to enable members of the User Community belonging to different language communities to do research ON their language as well as IN their language.
************************ Language Resources: the basis of ELAN.
ELAN will provide standardised resources of the following languages: Belgian French, Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovakian, Slovene, Swedish, Turkish and Ukrainian.
They will comprise textual resources (corpora) ranging from 1 - 4 million words or more for each language, and lexical resources (several kinds of lexicons) ranging from 5000 to 20 000 entries or more for each language.
************************* Service: ELAN User Community.
To guide the User through its various facilities and and help with any problems or questions, ELAN will offer a User Community. Members of this Community will have full access to the ELAN Network, an e-mail user group, and a hotline they may turn to with questions and requests.
************************* More information?
Anyone interested in the new service who would like more information or would like to become a member of the ELAN User Community, please visit our website http://solaris3.ids-mannheim.de/elan/ or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Susanne Lenz Project Manager ELAN Dept. for Lexical Studies Institut fuer deutsche Sprache R5, 6-13 68161 Mannheim