LINGUIST List 4.923

Fri 05 Nov 1993

Qs: Software: Multilingual Lexicography, Referent Tracking

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. GAUTIER, multiling. lexicography / computer
  2. Mark Durie, Referent Tracking Software

Message 1: multiling. lexicography / computer

Date: Fri, 5 Nov 93 02:13:47 CSTmultiling. lexicography / computer
From: GAUTIER <>
Subject: multiling. lexicography / computer

Hello to all,

 I am a frenchman living in Taiwan and teaching in a department of
french language. I speak chinese and I learnt 4 years of kurdish
in France before coming there. I want to start an APPLIED research
about practical tools for computer-assisted multilingual lexico-
graphy, which will probably become a Ph.D. in "Multilingual Inge-
niering" defended in the Paris CRIM laboratory (Centre de recher-
che en Ingenierie Multilingue - Multilingual Engeniering Research
Centre),which is directed by Mr. Peter STOCKINGER.
 The kurdish dialect I learnt is Sorani, spoken in northern part
of Iraq and Iran, and written using an arabic-type script (preci-
sions available if anyone interested). After completing the course,
I worked with my kurdish teacher and friend, Mr HAKEM, on a french-
kurdish dictionary which has been published this year by Klinksieck
publishing house. I must honestly tell that the biggest part of
the job was done by the kurdish co-author !
I helped for article organisation and computer part. We used a
Macintosh with arabic system and a multilingual word-processor.
 At the same time, I was studying for a Ph.D. in anthropology which
involved the typing of a large quantity of text mixing french and
chinese. So I naturally got interested into multilingual computing,
specially as I was not very satisfied of the tools I used in these
two works.
 My aim is to test, select and organise into a "package" several
computer softwares to propose tools allowing teachers and researchers
to produce multiscript lexicographic works.
The tools must be EASY to use, AVAILABLE on commom platforms (ie PC
or Mac), and the output of the work using them must be suitable for
PUBLICATION (what I mean is : NOT "draftish"). I was specially unhappy
with the fact that it was not possible to obtain a professionally
page-setted printout with what we used with M. HAKEM. And I plan not
to use any more a word-processor to input data, , but a database, as
to allow the generation of several different works on request.
 The tools I want to test are :
 - OCR/scanning software
 - environment for construction of oo-databases
 or existing databases tools,
 - word-processing (and/or) page-setting
 and the **connexion** of this tools together in a "production chain"
going from data input of the to realisation of the final document - so
this project could include some programming of my part to "glue"
different tools together or doing transcodage.

 The project is divided in three phasis :

1) Acquisition of information on available software (I started this
 quite one year ago, using Ziff-Davis "Computer Select" database
 on CD-ROM).

2) Test of technical problems with selected software (that I want
 to begin next year on),

3) Experimental realisation of lexicographic work (after one year
 and half of test and programming step by step) - probably two
 specialised lexicons on the same subject with french-kurdish and
 A side interest of this project is the way a computer stored data
system allows to represent extra-linguistic (sorry !!) information, as
for exemple, the word "house" in kurdish could allow the pop-up of a
drawing of a traditional kurdish house - and in a hypertext-like manner,
lead to other words (ie kitchen, traditional utensils etc) -- I mean
anthropological information specific to the culture represented.

 I do not have FORMAL knowledge in linguistics (I mean as degree)
unless the usual basics because I got my master in computer science in
a department of "Computer Science AND Linguistics at Paris VIII
University), but I do have some linguistic interest and ability - if
learning several rather different languages as english, chinese,
kurdish, latin and german gives any (I also studied a lot of LISP and
formal grammars during my master).
And I started to read extensively on lexicography, as the structure of
the database seems to me the most important problem.

 Any advice from the "linguist" community would be greatly appreciated
- and any contact with a kurdish linguist or native speaker !! (IS there
any in Taiwan?)
 Specially, if you have already used software suitable for this type of
work, please let me know.
 I plan anyway, to distribute widely any result my research could bear.
Friendly - and I apologise if I've been too long.

 Kaohsiung, TAIWAN

Please answer to me directly, I will post an abstract after a while.
WARNING : My e-mail address is DIFFERENT of my name : it is GAUIER
(I do not know why the t was dropped... Chinese linguistic logic ? :-) )
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Message 2: Referent Tracking Software

Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1993 14:12:18 Referent Tracking Software
From: Mark Durie <>
Subject: Referent Tracking Software

REGARDING Referent Tracking Software
Are you interested in a Mac-based system for analyzing discourse
profiles, with an emphasis (at this stage) on referent tracking/topic
continuity (including e.g. givenness/persistence statistics)? The
software we are developing can also do a range of other analyses. It
is intuitive and efficient to use, with user-defined coding
categories. It could be used for teaching or research purposes.

We are wondering what interest there may be in this software. If
there are sufficient people interested, we'd like to consider
producing a manual, and making copies of the program available to
others for a modest fee (to cover the manual development, packaging
and shipping costs). If you are interested, then let me know:

a) your name,
b) a few lines on what your discourse analysis interest is and the
kinds of data categories and reports you require in your work, and
c) what kind of Mac you use (including amount of RAM).

 This would give us an idea of what the potential users might be and
whether it is worth our while trying to package this program for use
by others, or whether just to continue developing it as an in-house

Please send answers to:

Mark Durie
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