Sentence Generation program

Teicneolas cainnt is cànan, bathar-bog ionnsachaidh / Laguage and speech technology, learning software
alsaf
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Sentence Generation program

Unread postby alsaf » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:12 pm

I haven't been on this forum for a while and as can be seen that I am still posting in English my Gàidhlig language skills have not improved much since then although I have still been practising individual words using the Parley program which I had previously mentioned.

The reasons that I have not spent as much time studying the language is is partly due to work and personal reasons but another is that I have been working on a program to generate simple sentences into Gàidhlig to be used in programs in Parley.

I had spent a bit of time on this and most of it had to do with trying to design the program so that it could be used for more than one language. This reason for this is that functionality had to be added so that spelling/grammar rules like lenition could be applied to these generated sentences. Unfortunately, the time I had spent on this was wasted as my ideas were unworkable and I had to end up 'hard coding' these rules into the program. Hopefully the way this is coded is that somebody with a basic knowledge of the Python programming language can adapt it for use with the language that they want to learn.

The basic functionality is complete, although I need to do more testing on it, but there is a lot of work to do as I intend to put a graphical user interface on top of the program. I also need to write up documentation.

The program works with lenition and adding definite articles shouldn't be too hard to code as a spelling rule. A more difficult thing will be how to identify syllables in words.

If anybody has Linux and wants to give it a wee try, the link to download it is here:

http://languagesentenc.sourceforge.net/

alsaf
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby alsaf » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:57 pm

For those who don't have Linux, there is a Parley file which contains these generated sentences. The link is as follows and the file can be viewed as a XML file:

http://kde-files.org/content/show.php/S ... ent=138153

As can be seen some of the generated sentences can be a bit shall we shall eccentric and a few could be due to bugs in program and the source file not configured properly.

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Seonaidh
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby Seonaidh » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:49 pm

As you see, writing computer programs to implement grammar rules of an unfamiliar language may, indeed, make one reasonably proficient in such rules - but it does virtually nothing to promote fluency in the language.

Now you have that bit out of your system, why not get down to a bit of practice - conversational, that is. Try listening to Radio nan Gàidheal, or looking at BBC Alba (available from 8/6 in Scotland). Phone a friend (well, one fluent in Gaelic, that is). Bonne chance - cùm a' dol!

Níall Beag
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby Níall Beag » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:43 pm

Seonaidh,
I think you have missed the point of computer programs entirely, which is strange, because you must have been sitting at a computer when you wrote that message.

Computer programs do not have to make things quicker, easier or more efficient for their developers to be useful. No: they make things quicker, easier or more efficient for the subsequent user base.

Alsaf knows this, and rather than simply learn Gaelic, he decided to produce something that would help others. Unfortunately, language modelling is notoriously difficult and he's found that out first-hand, but you can't criticise him for trying!

alsaf
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby alsaf » Mon Jun 06, 2011 10:31 am

Seonaidh, I had posted about this project in a number of forums and in the Reference and Links section of this one for learners who might be interested in it.I had only intended to reply to any queries about the project however, I will comment on some points in your post.

You said:
As you see, writing computer programs to implement grammar rules of an unfamiliar language may, indeed, make one reasonably proficient in such rules


I assume you wrote that to my response that my progress in Gàidhlig hasn't improved since the last time I had posted on this forum. I had mentioned that because I didn't realise it was that long since I had posted on here. Between then and now, I wondered why my language skills had not improved and realised that yes it partly due to working on the project in my spare time but it was also due to personal and work commitments. In these uncertain economic times and with employers having to make their business more efficient with the knock-on effect on their employees, anybody with a bit of common sense has to try an ensure they have the means to keep a roof over their had and put on the table. Due to these pressures, it has at times coming from work to be motivated and study. There has been times where I have not been able to put in as much study as I would like and as a result the progress I had made had slipped. When this happened, rather than do nothing, I managed to study individual words using the Parley program. Also the last month of two, I have been working on a project for work which I hope will favour me if, worse comes to the worst, in the scenario of future job cuts or if it doesn't then the skills gained will favour me in looking for other employment.

- but it does virtually nothing to promote fluency in the language.

Now you have that bit out of your system, why not get down to a bit of practice - conversational, that is. Try listening to Radio nan Gàidheal, or looking at BBC Alba (available from 8/6 in Scotland). Phone a friend (well, one fluent in Gaelic, that is). Bonne chance - cùm a' dol!


I had started this project from comments made by other language learners on another forum and on my own circumstances. Not everyone has a native speaking friend whom be phoned and have a conversation in English or Gàidhlig, nor has everyone got the time to go to a language immersion course or have the temperament to go to an evening class. Yes, there is RnG and BBC Alba, which incidentally I am looking forward to viewing in the next couple of days on Freeview, but while it is good recognising a few words here and there, the overall feeling is a bit demoralising because you realise there is so much you don't know.

I had spent time on trying to make the project multi-lingual which had taken a lot longer than if I had written it only for Gàidhlig. I had did this because as a user of open source software, I wanted in my own way of giving something back.

The sentence generation project isn't a substitute for conversational practice but as a means to get there and for the reasons I had previously mentioned was written in the Scottish tradition of making the best of what you have.

faoileag
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby faoileag » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:40 pm

Hi Alsaf,

Some crossed wires there, evidently, as Niall implies, so you don't need to justify yourself at all. Everyone is entitled to set about things their own way, and in any order. I have no technical inclinations whatever, so am not a likely future user of your programme, but full marks to you for working away at it for the common good. :moladh:

But it would also be nice for you to get a bit more active usage in at some point too, as it would both motivate you and throw up more materials/patterns, i.e. usable data (and potential glitches :spors: ).

I'm sending you a PM.

Awrabest! :D

alsaf
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby alsaf » Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:45 pm

I probably did go a bit OTT with reply to criticism :-)

Just to reiterate again (and I know repeating myself again!), the purpose of the project I am highlighting is as an study aid rather a means to learn the language and that my lack of progress is due to be stuck in a comfort zone brought on by circumstances mentioned in previous post which had shocked me a bit when I realised the time between when I last posted here and now.

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Seonaidh
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Re: Sentence Generation program

Unread postby Seonaidh » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:57 pm

Ay, the world has its fair share of shit-stirrers, and I wasn't trying to do that! More in line with what Faoileag said. I recognised your technique, as somebody who's done similar things myself (e.g. starting to write a French text-book when I was learning French...). Good luck with it - but don't forget what language is about - communication!


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