I am asking around on different mailing lists to gain some insight into the archiving habits of linguists who use lexical databases. I am specifically interested in databases created by tools like FLEx, ToolBox, Lexus, TshwaneLex, etc.
When I was in México, working with a team doing language documentation we visited a community workshop where the community organizer was promoting the language through a dictionary creation effort. I was interesting to see the various bi-lingual teachers come together and discuss a proposed entry and the definition.
Meꞌphaa group working on dictionary
There were several interesting aspects of the social interaction: there was the political unity in the perception that they were all there for the good of their language, there was the social unity because they were mostly there because they were in state jobs as teachers or school administrators. But perhaps more socially significant was the perception that the workshop leader had skills in organizing a dictionary. (Nothing wrong with this perception and it is probably an accurate perception.) Yet, it was not the only perception which was at play in the social interactions. There was also the cultural age based and social ranking based way of coming to a consensus about what did a particular Meꞌphaa (or any given) word mean. It is kind of this unspoken tension between the eldest in the group who would culturally have the authority or provide a stamp of approval, the workshop "dictionary expert", and the average participant who has to decide if they agree or disagree with whom and if they are going to show it. Continue reading →
This week I have been outlining the types of data that linguists need to be able to use and relate to each other as they do Language Documentation and Linguistic Research. I try to express these things graphically and then also express where some of the leading tools which SIL International is offering sit in the problem space.
The Data Management Space for linguists with SIL software.
Is the role of a dictionary to regulate or to standardize spelling? Is it to validate a speech variety as being real or a bon fide language? Or is it for documenting and establishing the relationships and connections between things (plants, animals, fish, spirits/gods, medicines, etc.) as they are emicly viewed, for connecting people via collaboration, or connecting related concepts and their classes together into documented sets? Or even connecting these things and relationships as they are viewed in one culture to the same things and relationships as they are viewed in another culture or more broadly cross-culturally? Continue reading →
I have recently been looking at dictionary entries across the internet and have been surprised at the unused status of the xhtml elements
<dt> Definition Term
<dl> Definition List
So I thought I would take a look at what the people at Wiktionary are using in their Mark-up. I went over to the English entry for language and took a look at the Wiki Syntax for input and at the xhtml output for the page. Continue reading →
Linked data is an effort to enhance applications and thereby lives with structured knowledge. This structure at its core is developed by human interaction. The challenge to consumers of linked data is to convince holders of unstructured data to structure it into actionable, manipulatable knowledge. Continue reading →