AfLaT 2013 - Report

The 2013 edition of the AfLaT workshop series took place on Friday 6 December 2013, at Ghent University. It was the fifth in the series, and conceived differently from previous editions, in that we wanted to broaden our activities by reaching out to all colleagues who have lexical resources for African languages, and are already working with those resources, but have not yet necessarily made the move to using advanced computational routines to speed up the analysis or the building of tools.

And so AfLaT 5 was conceived as a MasterClass, led by the founding members of AfLaT: Guy De Pauw (U Antwerp), Gilles-Maurice de Schryver (U Ghent), and Peter Wagacha (U Nairobi). Researchers were invited to present their current data sets and/or research during max. 20minutes, to be followed by a discussion and advice from those present for 10 min.

On the following pages, you will find some impressions of the workshop. The full book of abstracts can be found here.

Activating your corpus - Guy De Pauw


The use of computational methods in the study of endangered languages
52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
26 June 2014

Workshop description
Contemporary efforts to document the world’s endangered languages—often going under the rubric of documentary linguistics—are dependent on the widespread availability of modern recording technologies, in particular digital audio and video recording devices and software to annotate the recordings that such devices produce. However, despite well over a decade of dedicated funding efforts aimed at the documentation of endangered languages, the technological landscape that supports the work of those involved in this work remains fragmented, and the promises of new technology remain largely unfulfilled. Moreover, the efforts of computer scientists, on the whole, are mostly disconnected from the day-to-day work of documentary linguists, making it difficult for the knowledge of each group to inform the other. On the one hand, this deprives documentary linguists of tools making use of the latest research results to speed up the time-consuming task of describing an underdocumented language. On the other hand, it severely limits the ability of computational linguists to test their methods on the full range of world’s linguistic diversity.
This workshop seeks to address this state of affairs by bringing together papers exploring the use of computational methods to facilitate the documentation and study of endangered languages. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: (i) examining the use of specific computational methods in the analysis of data from low-resource languages, with a focus on endangered languages, (ii) proposing new models for the collection and management of data in endangered language settings, and (iii) considering what concrete steps are required to allow for a more fruitful interaction between computer scientists and documentary linguists. The workshop’s intention is not merely to allow for the presentation of research on these topics but also to help build a community of computational and documentary linguists who are able to effectively pair together to serve their common interests.

Submission information
Both long and short papers following ACL guidelines are eligible for submission. Long paper submissions should follow the two-column format of ACL 2014 proceedings without exceeding eight (8) pages of content plus two extra pages for references. Short paper submissions should also follow the two-column format of ACL 2014 proceedings, and should not exceed four (4) pages plus at most 2 pages for references. We strongly recommend the use of ACL LaTeX style files or Microsoft Word style files tailored for this year’s conference. Submissions must conform to the official style guidelines, which are contained in the style files, and they must be in PDF. Submission should be done via the START Conference Manager at

Funding possibilites
This workshop is being supported by U.S. National Science Foundation Award no. 1404352. Through this award, and related sources, funding may be available for those with accepted papers to attend the workshop, especially students. Please contact Jeff Good (jcgood [at] buffalo [dot] edu) for further information.

Important Dates
18 November 2013: First Call for Workshop Papers
9 February 2014: Second Call for Workshop Papers
21 March 2014: Workshop Paper Due Date (DEADLINE EXTENSION!)
11 April 2014: Notification of Acceptance
28 April 2014: Camera-ready papers due
26 or 27 June 2014: Workshop Dates

Organizing committee
Jeff Good, University at Buffalo (jcgood [at] buffalo [dot] edu)
Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University
Owen Rambow, Columbia University

Program Committee
Steven Abney, University of Michigan
Helen Aristar-Dry, LINGUIST List
Alexandre Arkhipov, Moscow State University
Tim Baldwin, University of Melbourne
Dorothee Beermann, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Emily M. Bender, University of Washington
Andrea Berez, University of Hawaii
Steven Bird, University of Melbourne
Damir Cavar, Eastern Michigan University
Guy De Pauw, University of Antwerp
Sebastian Drude, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Harald Hammarström, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Judith Klavans, University of Maryland
Terry Langendoen, University of Arizona
Lori Levin, Carnegie Mellon University
Will Lewis, Microsoft
Mark Liberman, University of Pennsylvania
Worthy Martin, University of Virginia
Mike Maxwell, Center for the Advanced Study of Language
Steven Moran, University of Zurich
Alexander Nakhimovsky, Colgate University
Sebastian Nordhoff, Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Alexis Palmer, Saarland University
Kevin Scannell, Saint Louis University
Gary Simons, SIL International
Nick Thieberger, University of Melbourne
Paul Trilsbeek, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Doug Whalen, CUNY Graduate Center
Menzo Windhouwer, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
Fei Xia, University of Washington

2nd CfP: CCURL 2014: Collaboration and Computing for Under-Resourced Languages in the Linked Open Data Era

26 May 2014, in conjunction with LREC 2014, Reykjavík, Iceland

Submission deadline: 6 February 2014 (all dates below)

The LREC Workshop “CCURL 2014: Collaboration and Computing for Under-Resourced Languages in the Linked Open Data Era” will be held on 26 May 2014, at LREC 2014 (Reykjavík, Iceland).

Under-resourced languages suffer from a chronic lack of available resources (human-, financial-, time- and data-wise), and of the fragmentation of efforts in resource development. This often leads to small resources only usable for limited purposes or developed in isolation without much connection with other resources and initiatives. The benefits of reusability, accessibility and data sustainability are, more often than not, out of the reach of such languages.

Yet, these languages are those that could most profit from emergent collaborative approaches and technologies for language resource development. Given the high cost of language resource production, and given the fact that in many cases it is impossible to avoid the manual construction of resources (e.g. if accurate models are requested or if there is to be reliable evaluation) it is worth considering the power of social and collaborative media to build resources, especially for those languages where there are no or limited language resources built by experts yet.

Collaborative, Web 2.0 and Web 3.0/Semantic Web methods and methodologies for data collection, annotation and sharing seem particularly well-suited for collecting the data needed for the development of language technology applications for under-resourced languages. Indeed, the collaborative accumulation and creation of data appears to be the best and most practicable way to achieve better and faster language coverage and in purely economic terms could well deliver a higher return on investment than expected. Moreover, it is a good way to approach a small population of speakers who live in remote countries, or are scattered in diaspora all over the world.

The workshop aims at gathering together professionals involved with language resources for under-resourced languages. The expectation is that both academic researchers and industry practitioners will participate.

ACAL 45 - 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics

The 45th Annual Conference on African Linguistics will be held at the University of Kansas from April 17-19, 2014. The theme of this year’s conference is “Africa’s Endangered Languages: Documentary and Theoretical Approaches”. In addition to plenary sessions featuring eminent scholars, ACAL 45 will feature three sessions: a main session, a poster session, and a workshop based on the conference theme.

We're excited to announce the following plenary speakers:

Kofi Agyekum (University of Ghana)
Chris Collins (New York University)
Ruth Kramer (Georgetown University)
Michael R. Marlo (University of Missouri)
Carlos M Nash (University of Kansas)
Bonny Sands (Northern Arizona University)
Malte Zimmermann (Universität Potsdam)

Attached please find the call for papers. Please note that abstracts are due by midnight (Central time) on December 1st.

For more information about the conference, please visit the ACAL 45 website at: or write to the conference organizers at: acal45 [at] ku [dot] edu

SaLTMiL 8 - AfLaT2012 Proceedings

Proceedings of the Workshop on Language Technology for Normalisation of Less-Resourced Languages (SaLTMiL 8 - AfLaT2012)

Individual Papers (related to African Language Technology)
Learning Morphological Rules for Amharic Verbs Using Inductive Logic Programming
Wondwossen Mulugeta and Michael Gasser

Natural Language Processing for Amazigh Language: Challenges and Future Directions
Fadoua Ataa Allah and Siham Boulaknadel

Describing Morphologically-rich Languages using Metagrammars: a Look at Verbs in Ikota
Denys Duchier, Brunelle Magnana Ekoukou, Yannick Parmentier, Simon Petitjean and Emannuel Schang

A Corpus of Santome
Tjerk Hagemeijer, Iris Hendrickx, Abigail Tiny and Haldane Amaro

Semi-automated extraction of morphological grammars for Nguni with special reference to Southern Ndebele
Laurette Pretorius and Sonja Bosch

Tagging and Verifying an Amharic News Corpus
Björn Gambäck

Resource-Light Bantu Part-of-Speech Tagging
Guy De Pauw, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver and Janneke van de Loo

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