LINGUIST List 6.1519

Sun Oct 29 1995

FYI: NLP Software, Field Ling Software, Minority Langs on WWW

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. Heike Stoldt, The Language Software Helpdesk
  2. Johanna Rubba, Field Ling. software
  3. "Caoimhin P. ODonnaile", European minority languages WWW page

Message 1: The Language Software Helpdesk

Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 14:40:12 The Language Software Helpdesk
From: Heike Stoldt <>
Subject: The Language Software Helpdesk

The Language Software Helpdesk

The Human Communication Research Centre is pleased to announce the
launch of the Language Software Helpdesk: a free service dedicated to
the support of public domain and freely available software for natural
language processing and the fostering of its use in practical

There is a very substantial body of software available in the area of
natural language processing, both in the form of complete systems and
of system components. But the uptake of this software, particularly by
industrial users, has been impeded by lack of information about
functionality and worries about the availability of ongoing
support. The Language Software Helpdesk is intended to directly
address both these problems.

Suppose a user has a specific language processing task to perform. Is
there an off-the-shelf component which will do the job? If there are
several candidates, which would be most suitable? If there are none
available, is there a component which could be cost-effectively
adapted? Once a candidate is chosen, how is it installed? What happens
if it breaks, or doesn't perform as expected? The Language Software
Helpdesk can provide the necessary answers and assistance.

Drawing largely on staff of HCRC's Language Technology Group, the goal
of the Language Software Helpdesk is to aid users (particularly UK and
European companies) in the selection and use of natural language tools
for practical tasks. We have considerable experience in developing and
using such tools, and in customising them for practical purposes. We
understand that simply pointing to a manual which typically requires
an extensive background in computational linguistics to understand is
NOT an adequate response to the kind of queries likely to arise from
those at an early stage of involvement in the area, and are prepared
to offer a more responsive and individualised support service.

For certain key topics we have already prepared material which will
help inexperienced users to acquire the information necessary in order
to make informed decisions. In particular we have

 - Tutorial material for ALE (a modern system for describing grammars)

 - Tutorial material for ALE-RA (an extension to ALE allowing richer
 morphological descriptions)

 - Notes and slides for a course in constraint-based grammar writing

 - Introductory notes from a reading group in statistical NLP

We intend to extend these offerings and add new ones in response to
perceived need.

You can contact us:

 from this page:

 by mail to

 Language Software Helpdesk,

 c/o Language Technology Group,

 Human Communication Research Centre,

 2 Buccleuch Place,

 Edinburgh EH8 9LW.


 fax: (+44 131 650 4587
 - marked ``Language Software Helpdesk'')

An up-to-date HTML version of this document is available from the
following location on the World-Wide Web

In answering queries we have access to a large staff with a wide range
of both theoretical and practical skills, who already track
developments in key areas of language technology.

While most initial queries can therefore be answered straightaway and
at no charge, where more complex or unusual queries would require more
substantial effort we may only sketch a reply and offer to negotiate a
fee for a thoroughly researched response and/or for ongoing support.

Needless to say no guarantee attaches to any information provided
without charge by the Language Software Helpdesk.

About this document ...

Language Software Helpdesk

This document was generated using the LaTeX2HTML translator Version 95.1 (Fri
Jan 20 1995) Copyright ) 1993, 1994, Nikos Drakos, Computer Based Learning
Unit, University of Leeds.

The command line arguments were:
latex2html -split 0 helpdesk_launch.tex.

The translation was initiated by Chris Brew on Fri Oct 27 13:32:39 GMT 1995

Chris Brew
Fri Oct 27 13:32:39 GMT 1995
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Message 2: Field Ling. software

Date: Sat, 28 Oct 1995 16:37:49 Field Ling. software
From: Johanna Rubba <>
Subject: Field Ling. software

I recently posted a query to Linguist about software for field linguists.
The few replies I received directed me to SIL's resources. There are some
useful-looking items there, and I am making further inquiries. You can shop
these at the following addresses:

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Johanna Rubba	Assistant Professor, Linguistics =
English Department, California Polytechnic State University =
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 =
Tel. (805)-756-0117 E-mail: =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
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Message 3: European minority languages WWW page

Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 01:34:17 European minority languages WWW page
From: "Caoimhin P. ODonnaile" <>
Subject: European minority languages WWW page

I have started a European minority languages page at: (English) (Scottish Gaelic)

Comments, corrections and additions welcome!

 Kevin Donnelly
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