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
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Robust parsing and spoken negotiative dialogue with databases
This paper presents a robust parsing algorithm and semantic formalism for the interpretation of utterances in spoken negotiative dialogue with databases. The algorithm works in two passes: a domain-specific pattern-matching phase and a domain-independent semantic analysis phase. Robustness is achieved by limiting the set of representable utterance types to an empirically motivated subclass which is more expressive than propositional slot–value lists, but much less expressive than first-order logic. Our evaluation shows that in actual practice the vast majority of utterances that occur can be handled, and that the parsing algorithm is highly efficient and accurate.