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PLM2008 :: 11-14 September 2008

PLM2008 Workshop Session: African languages in advance: language technology and acquisition

With the leitmotif of the 39th PLM in mind, the workshop “African languages in advance” will focus on recent South African linguistic perspectives. In a multilingual society, with eleven official languages, research in language is more needed than ever. The South African Government’s Department of Arts and Culture realised the importance of maintaining linguistic diversity and that is why a national strategy for human language technology (HLT) was drafted in 2004 “to provide for setting up a national HLT facility to co-ordinate research, development, training and consultation” (link to PDF source – size: 1MB, opens in a new tab/window).

During this workshop, we want to discuss the advances in the field of human language technology (speech and text technology) and research in language acquisition in the past few years. The topics will range from the developing of core technologies (e.g. parsers, morphological analysers) and applications (e.g. electronic dictionaries, spellcheckers and language acquisition packages) to the methodology of language acquisition (especially in a multicultural environment such as South Africa). This will also be an opportunity for interaction between South African and European researchers.

Session organisers

Karien Brits (Adam Mickiewicz University), e-mail: karien (at)
Aleksandra Cichocka (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań), e-mail: olukomska (at)
(In the addresses above, replace (at) with @)

Sample bibliography

Anderson, Winston N. – Albert E. Kotzé. 2007. “Verbal extension sequencing: An examination from a computational perspective”. 14th International Conference of the African Language Association of Southern Africa.

Anderson, Winston N. – Petronella M. Kotzé – Albert E. Kotzé. 2007. “Application and testing of performance enhancing morphological analysis techniques”. LSSA/SAALA/SAALT Joint Annual Conference.

Bosch, Sonja – Laurette Pretorius – J. Jones. 2007. “Towards machine-readable lexicons for South African Bantu languages”. Nordic Journal of African Studies 16(2): 131-145.

Bosch, Sonja. 2007. “African languages – is the writing on the screen?” South African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 25(2): 169-181.

De Schryver, G.-M. – G. De Pauw. 2007. “Dictionary Writing System (DWS) + Corpus Query Package (CQP): The case of TshwaneLex”. Lexikos 17: 226-246.

Pretorius, Laurette – Sonja Bosch. 2007. “Containing overgeneration in Zulu computational morphology”. Human Language Technologies as a Challenge for Computer Science and Linguistics. Proceedings of 3rd Language and Technology Conference. 54-58.

Pretorius, Rigardt – Laurette Pretorius – E. Viljoen. 2005. “A finite-state morphological analysis of Setswana nouns”. South African Journal of African Languages 25: 48-58.

Prinsloo, Danie – G-M de Schryver. 2007. “Crafting a Multidimensional Ruler for the Compilation of Sesotho sa Leboa Dictionaries”. In: Mojalefa, M.J. (ed.), Rabadia Ratšhatšha: Studies in African Language Literature, Linguistics, Translation and Lexicography. Stellenbosch: SUN PReSS. 177–201.

Puttkammer, Martin – Gerhard B. van Huyssteen. 2006. “Automatic text segmentation of Afrikaans using memory-based learning”. Proceedings of the 2006 Conference of the Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa. Pretoria: CSIR/Meraka.

Roux, Justus – Sonja Bosch. 2006. “Language resources and tools in SouthernAfrica”. LREC 2006 Workshop Proceedings. WO3: Networking the development of language resources for African languages. Genoa, Italy, May 2006. 11-16.

Van Huyssteen, Gerhard B. 2004. “Motivating the composition of Afrikaans reduplications: a cognitive grammar analysis”. In: Radden, G. & K.U. Panther (eds.), Studies in Linguistic Motivation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 269-292.