LINGUIST List 9.145

Sat Jan 31 1998

FYI: Lang & Gesture (URLs), NLP Download (U. Hawaii)

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <>




    Date: Fri, 30 Jan 1998 10:30:55 +0000
    From: Robin Allott <>

    The recent paper in Nature by Goldin-Meadow and Mylander on spontaneous sign language of children in Taiwan and the United States taken with the remarkable work of Kegl and McWhorter on the gesture language invented by children in Nicaragua provide convincing observational evidence for the innate relation between gesture and language, and indeed more generally for the biological origin of language systems. This material can be related to increasing evidence for the fundamental importance of sound symbolism in very many languages.

    More specifically, they support the hypothesis that language evolved as an exaptation of the previously existing complex cerebral motor control system and that the effects of the motor origin of language can be observed and demonstrated in the lexicon and syntax of languages generally. To the general investigation of the motor theory of language origin at

    http: //

    has now been added extensive demonstration of the direct relation between gesture and language in the form of animated gestural equivalents of a considerable number of words in English, Japanese, French (with more cursory treatment of Hebrew, Korean, Finnish, Hungarian and Basque). To see the animations on the Web it is necessary to have uptodate versions of Microsoft Explorer or Netscape (but not necessarily Java). The animations can be seen at:

    and at pages linked to that.

    I hope that it will be possible to find time during the April London Conference on the Evolution of Language to present the complete material.

    Robin Allott email: tel/fax: +44 1323 492300


    Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 16:24:06 -1000
    From: Anne Sing <>

    The Ergo server problem which prevented some of the downloads from working has been fixed. You may now download the BracketDoctor without problems. (

    Phil Bralich

    >To the readers; Derek Bickerton and Phil Bralich of Ergo Linguistics >Technology would like to announce the release of free software to the >Computational Linguistics, NLP, MT, and linguistics communities. The >software offering is a pre-release called "BracketDoctor." It >provides a parsed analysis of input strings including labeled >brackets and trees in the style of the Penn Treebank of the >Linguistic Data Consortium as outlined in "Bracketing Guidelines for >Treebank II Style Penn Treebank Project" (Linguistic Data Consortium >1995). While the entire range of structures of that work is not >supported, this is the only parser that can generate any such trees >and brackets and thus represents a major breakthrough for this field.

    >We understand that this is unlikely to be nominated for citations or >awards, but as this is the only software available that can generate >such labeled brackets and trees, we believe it is an important >contribution to this field of research and it should be of value to >researchers in academia and industry alike as well as to students >working through their introductory syntax text books. We are >announcing this release to linguistics news-lists, translation lists, >and the like as well to our entire mailing list of researchers and >decision makers in industry, government, and academia. We feel this >release is particularly important because even the major universities >such as Stanford and MIT as well as companies such as Microsoft, IBM, >and Xerox do not have programs that offer this sort of demonstration >of their ability to work with the Penn Treebank styles.

    >Of course we recognize the importance of being aware of the entire >field of NLP and of not misrepresenting such things to government, >industry, or academia, so we feel it is important to distribute this >as widely as possible as quickly as possible. As this is the only >parser that generates Penn Treebank style labeled bracketings and >trees, and as NLP, Linguistics, and Computational Linguistics >communities have agreed that the Penn Treebank styles are the >standard for this field, we feel compelled to suggest that this >parser be accepted as the default standard for parsers in the field >today until such time as other parsers can show that they can do an >equal or better job with the Penn Treebank style book, or until such >time as the Penn Treebank styles are removed as the standard. We >will also be distributing this software to members of the LDC, >EAGLES, the organizers of the MUC conferences, and other >organizations that propose to set standards for NLP. (For possible >alternative standards for NLP other than the these go to >

    >As long as we are the default standard for the generation of trees >and brackets in the Penn Treebank style, then many publications and >proposals in NLP will need to mention this software in their review >of current technologies and work. For that purpose, the reference >should refer to Philip Bralich and Derek Bickerton, 1998. >"BracketDoctor," Ergo Linguistic Technologies, Honolulu, Hawaii.

    >The BracketDoctor can be obtained by writing to Derek Bickerton >( or Phil Bralich ( or it can be >downloaded from our web site. It is a standard Windows 95 program in >a setup file. It requires 1000 kilobytes of space and less than one >megabyte of ram to run. Sentences parse in real time.

    >Phil Bralich

    >P.S. For those who can sign a non-disclosure agreement it is also >possible to receive the product called "MemoMaster" which >demonstrates our abilities with: 1) question/answer, >statement/response repartee (using notes and reminders), 2) NLP >messaging for sending faxes, email, and memos, and 3) command and >control for browsers and operating systems (a great add- on for any >speech rec system). Just email me or a send a fax to (808)539-3924 >requesting the non-disclosure.

    Philip A. Bralich, President Ergo Linguistic Technologies 2800 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 175 Honolulu, HI 96822 tel:(808)539-3920 fax:(880)539-3924