LINGUIST List 11.64

Sun Jan 16 2000

Calls: Endangered Languages, Machine Learning

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>

As a matter of policy, LINGUIST discourages the use of abbreviations or acronyms in conference announcements unless they are explained in the text.


  1. Nicholas Ostler, Endangered Languages and Literacy
  2. Seth Rogers, International Conference on Machine Learning/ Final CFP

Message 1: Endangered Languages and Literacy

Date: Sat, 15 Jan 2000 22:59:47 +0000
From: Nicholas Ostler <>
Subject: Endangered Languages and Literacy

 Fourth International Conference
 hosted by the
 Foundation for Endangered Langauges

 "Endangered Languages and Literacy"

 Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - 21-24 September 2000


When a language is endangered, it is because the community who
use it may cease to do so the foreseeable future. This is often
because new generations of the community are not acquiring the
language, or if they do, are not using it so much as speakers in
the past.

Literacy, the ability to read and write a written form of the
language, has often been viewed a necessary first step in
maintaining and promoting use of the language. The introduction
of literacy is predicated upon the development of an acceptable
written form of a language, a step considered by many essential

- the creation of grammars, dictionaries, and teaching materials;
- the preservation of traditional oral literature in communities
 where the younger generations lack the patience to learn the
 texts orally.

However, efforts to develop a written language and instill
literacy may encounter cultural obstacles and have unforeseen
consequences. For example:

- the development of literacy may, over time, fundamentally alter
 or interrupt the oral transmission of a community's knowledge
 and beliefs;
- the members of the community may resist efforts to introduce
 literacy due to cultural beliefs about, for example, the
 spiritual or mystical nature of oral communication;
- the introduction of literacy may create divisions within the
 community between the literate and the illiterate that
 ultimately may have social or economic implications.

Even within communities that are receptive to the introduction of
literacy, the development of an acceptable written language may
pose challenges:

- there may be difficulties selecting one of several dialects
 upon which to base the written language;
- there may be problems adapting existing alphabets, syllabaries
 or other writing systems to the sound system of the language;
- the availability of typewriter or computer fonts may force
 unacceptable compromises in the orthography for the language;
- the language may lack acceptable vocabulary or syntactic
 structures to replace in the written language suprasegmental,
 kinetic, and paralinguistic components of oral, face-to-face

Modern technologies, however, have brought additional choices to
endangered language communities. For example, with tape
recorders, compact disk recorders, video recorders, television,
radio, and computers, it possible to create "talking"
dictionaries, grammars and books, thereby eliminating the need
for a written language and literacy. But these technologies are
not without their own limitations:

- the costs of acquiring and maintaining desired technologies may
 be prohibitive;
- the community may lack members with the expertise to employ the
 desired technologies, or the resources to train members in the
 technologies or hire outsiders;
- the community may not be willing to accept/use the chosen

All these issues, and more, are relevant to our conference this

The workshop will provide a forum for researchers and activists
working for the maintenance of indigenous languages that face an
uncertain future. (It is the fourth in a series of annual
workshops and conferences hosted by the Foundation for Endangered

The Foundation for Endangered Languages is a registered charity
in England and Wales. FEL conferences, besides being
opportunities to discuss the issues from a global viewpoint, are
working meetings of the Foundation, defining our overall policy
for future years. Participants at the conference therefore need
to be members of the Foundation. There are full facilities to
join on arrival, but all proposers are strongly urged to join as
soon as possible, and so take full part in the Foundation's
activities in the lead-up to the conference.

The dates will be 21-24 September 2000. In keeping with the
theme of this year's meeting, the workshop will take place near
the homeland of Sequoyah, the father of Cherokee literacy, at
University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the United States.
There will be a preliminary volume of proceedings distributed at
the Conference.

Presentations will last twenty minutes each, with a further ten
minutes for discussion. All presentations should be accessible
largely in English, but use of the languages of interest, for
quotation or exemplification, may well be appropriate.


 Blair Rudes (chair) University of North Carolina at Charlotte
 Nicholas Ostler Foundation for Endangered Languages, Bath,
 Christopher Moseley BBC Monitoring Service
 Karen Johnson-Weiner St. Lawrence University, Canton, New
 York, USA
 Hassan Ouzzate Ibn Zohr University, Agadir, Morocco

Programme Committee:

Margaret Allen, McKenna Brown, Karen Johnson-Weiner, Tony McEnery,
Eugene McKendry, Christopher Moseley, David Nash, Nicholas
Ostler, Hassan Ouzzate, Jon Reyhner, Mari Rhydwen, Blair Rudes,
Jane Simpson, Tasaku Tsunoda, Anthony Woodbury, Akira Yamamoto


Abstracts should not exceed 500 words. They can be submitted in
one of two ways: hard copy or electronic submission. They
should be in English.

A) Hard copies (or faxes):

One copy should be sent to:

 Blair A. Rudes
 Department of English
 The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
 9201 University City Boulevard
 Charlotte, North Carolina 28223-0001

 FAX: 1-704-547-3961
 TEL: 1-704-547-4230

This should have a clear short title, but should not bear
anything to identify the author(s).

On a separate sheet, please include the following information:
NAME : Names of the author(s)
TITLE: Title of the paper
EMAIL: Email address of the first author, if any
ADDR: Postal address of the first author
TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any
FAX: Fax number of the first author, if any

The name of the first author will be used in all correspondence.

If possible, please also send an e-mail to Blair Rudes at
<> informing him of the hard copy
submission. This is in case the hard copy does not reach its
destination. This e-mail should contain the information
specified in the section below.

B) Electronic submission:

Electronic submission should be in plain ascii text email message
giving the following details:

# NAME : Name of first author
# TITLE: Title of the paper
# EMAIL: E-mail address of the first author
# ADDR: Postal address of the first author
# TEL: Telephone number of the first author, if any
# FAX: Fax number of the first author

and in a separate section

# ABSTR: Abstract of the paper


Abstract submission deadline March 21
Notification of Committee's decision April 21
Authors submit camera-ready text July 21
Conference Sept 21-24

- --------------------------------------------------------------
 Nicholas Ostler
 Linguacubun Ltd
 "technology for the languages of the world"

 Batheaston Villa, 172 Bailbrook Lane
 Bath BA1 7AA England
 +44-1225-85-2865 fax +44-1225-85-9258
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Message 2: International Conference on Machine Learning/ Final CFP

Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 14:54:25 -0800 (PST)
From: Seth Rogers <>
Subject: International Conference on Machine Learning/ Final CFP

A final reminder- only 12 days until the submission deadline.

 Call for Papers


 June 29-July 2, 2000
 Stanford University

The Seventeenth International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML-2000) 
will be held at Stanford University from June 29 to July 2, 2000, in the
heart of Silicon Valley. The conference will bring together researchers 
to exchange ideas and report recent progress in the computational study
of learning.

Topics for Submission

ICML-2000 welcomes submissions on all facets of machine learning, but
especially solicits papers on problem areas, research topics, learning
paradigms, and approaches to evaluation that have been rare at recent 
conferences, including: 

- the role of learning in natural language, vision and speech, planning 
 and scheduling, design and configuration, logical and spatial reasoning, 
 motor control, and more generally on learning for performance tasks 
 carried out by intelligent agents; 

- the discovery of scientific laws and taxonomies, the construction of
 componential and structural models, and learning at multiple levels
 of temporal and spatial resolution; 

- the effect of the developers' decisions about problem formulation, 
 representation, data quality, and reward function on the learning 

- computational models of human learning, applications to real-world 
 problems, exploratory research that describes novel learning tasks, 
 work that integrates familiar methods to demonstrate new functionality, 
 and agent architectures in which learning plays a central role; 

- empirical studies that combine natural data (to show relevance) with 
 synthetic data (to understand conditions on behavior), along with formal 
 analyses that make contact with empirical results, especially where the 
 aim is to identify sources of power, rather than to show one method is 
 superior to others. 

Naturally, we also welcome submissions on traditional topics, ranging 
from induction over supervised data to learning from delayed rewards, but
we hope the conference will also attract contributions on the issues above. 

Review Process

The ICML-2000 review process will be structured to encourage publications
covering a broad range of research and to foster increased participation 
in the conference. To this end, we have instituted:

- area chairs who will be responsible for recruiting papers in their area
 of expertise and overseeing the review process for those submissions; 

- conditional acceptance of papers that are not publishable in their initial
 form, but that can be improved enough for inclusion in time to appear in
 the proceedings; and

- a review form that requires referees to explicitly list any problems 
 with a paper, what it would take to overcome them, and, if they recommend
 rejection, why it cannot be fixed in time for inclusion. 

The overall goal is to make the review process more like that in journals, 
with time for the authors to incorporate feedback from reviewers. Each 
submitted paper will be reviewed by two members of the program committee, 
with the decision about its acceptance overseen by the responsible area
chair and the program chair. 

Paper Submission

Authors should submit papers using same format and length as the final 
proceedings version. The detailed instructions for authors at

include pointers to templates for LaTeX and Word documents. These specify 
two-column style, Times Roman font with 10 point type, vertical spacing 
of 11 points, overall text width of 6.75 inches, length of 9.0 inches,
0.25 inches between the two columns, top margin of 1.0 inch, and left 
margin of 0.75 inch. (The right and bottom margins will depend on whether
one uses US letter or A4 paper.) Papers must not exceed eight (8) pages 
including figures and references. We will return to the authors any
papers that do not satisfy these requirements.

The deadline for submissions to ICML-2000 is MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2000.
Submission will be entirely electronic by transferring papers to the
ICML-2000 ftp site, as explained in the detailed instructions for
authors. Authors must submit papers in POSTSCRIPT format to ensure
our ability to print them out for review.

Each submission must be accompanied by the paper's title, the authors'
names and physical addresses, a 250-word abstract, the contact author's 
email address and phone number, and the author who would present the 
talk at the conference. Authors must enter this information into the 
submission form at the conference web site by FRIDAY, JANUARY 21.

ICML-2000 allows simultaneous submission to other conferences, provided
this fact is clearly indicated on the submission form. Accepted papers 
will appear in the conference proceedings only if they are withdrawn
from other conferences. Simultaneous submissions that are not clearly 
specified as such will be rejected. 

Other Conference Information

The Seventeenth International Conference on Machine Learning will be
collocated with the Thirteenth Annual Conference on Computational
Learning Theory (COLT-2000) and the Sixteenth Conference on Uncertainty 
in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-2000). Registrants to any of these 
meetings will be able to attend the technical sessions of the others
at no additional cost.

ICML-2000 will also be preceded by tutorials on various facets of
machine learning. For additional information, see the web site for 
the conference at

which will provide additional details as they become available. If
you have questions about ICML-2000, please send electronic mail to

The conference has received support from DaimlerChrysler Research and
Technology, Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information 
(CSLI), and the Institute for the Study of Learning and Expertise (ISLE).
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