AfLaT Newsletter

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Position at CTEXT

Dear AfLaT member,

the CTEXT research group (North-West University, Republic of South Africa) have a vacancy for a professor/associate professor/senior lecturer/lecturer. Please consult the document in attachment for more details.

best regards

Guy De Pauw
AfLaT.org

AfLaT 2010 - FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS

SECOND WORKSHOP ON AFRICAN LANGUAGE TECHNOLOGY (AfLaT 2010)
18 MAY 2010, VALLETTA, MALTA

The submission deadline for the 2nd workshop on African Language Technology (AfLaT 2010) is rapidly approaching. Please note that your submission needs to be formatted according to the LREC guidelines. The author's kit (including Latex and Word templates) is now available:
http://www.lrec-conf.org/lrec2010/?Author-s-Kit-and-Templates

We are also very happy to announce the invited speaker for the workshop, Prof. Justus Roux, who will give a presentation, titled ""Do we need linguistic knowledge for speech technology applications in African languages?""

IMPORTANT DATES
Submission deadline: 15 February, 2010
Notification of acceptance: 12 March, 2010
Camera-ready papers due: 22 March, 2010
Workshop: 18 May 2010

For the full call of papers, please consult:
http://aflat.org/?q=node/364

AfLaT 2010 - FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

SECOND WORKSHOP ON AFRICAN LANGUAGE TECHNOLOGY
AfLaT 2010
18 MAY 2010, VALLETTA, MALTA
Workshop at the seventh international conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC) 2010

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

In multilingual situations, language technologies are crucial for providing access to information and opportunities for economic development. With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 different languages, Africa is a multilingual continent par excellence and presents acute challenges for those seeking to promote and use African languages in the areas of business development, education, research, and relief aid. In recent times a number of African researchers and institutions have come forward that share the common goal of developing capabilities in language technologies. This workshop provides a forum to meet and share the latest developments in this field. It also seeks to include linguists who specialize in African languages and would like to leverage the tools and approaches of computational linguistics, as well as computational linguists who are interested in learning about the particular linguistic challenges posed by African languages.

The workshop will consist of an invited talk, followed by refereed research papers in computational linguistics. The focus will be on sub-Saharan African languages, excluding Arabic and languages with European origins, such as Afrikaans and African variants of English and French. We invite submissions on any topic related to language and speech technology and African languages including, but not limited to, the following:

* Corpora and corpus annotation
* Machine readable lexicons
* Morphological analyzers and spelling checkers
* Part of speech taggers and parsers
* Speech recognition and synthesis
* Applications such as machine translation, information extraction, information retrieval, computer-assisted language learning and question answering
* The role of language technologies in economic development, education, healthcare, and emergency and public services
* Documentation of endangered languages and the use of language technologies to enhance language vitality
* The combination of language and speech technology with mobile phone technology.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

Authors are invited to submit original work in the topic area of this workshop. Submissions should be formatted using the LREC style sheet (to be announced later on the Conference web site) and should not exceed four (4) pages, including references.

The reviewing will be blind and the paper should therefore not include the authors' names and affiliations. Submission will be electronic. Papers must be submitted no later than 15 February, 2010 using the submission webpage: https://www.softconf.com/lrec2010/AfLaT2010.

When submitting a paper from the START page, authors will be asked to provide essential information about resources (in a broad sense, i.e. also technologies, standards, evaluation kits, etc.) that have been used for the work described in the paper or are a new result of your research. For further information on this new initiative, please refer to http://www.lrec-conf.org/lrec2010/?LREC2010-Map-of-Language-Resources.

Submissions will be reviewed by 3 members of the Program Committee. Authors of accepted papers will receive guidelines on how to produce camera-ready versions of their papers for inclusion in the LREC workshop proceedings. Notification of receipt will be emailed to the contact author.

IMPORTANT DATES

Submission deadline: 15 February, 2010
Notification of acceptance: 12 March, 2010
Camera-ready papers due: 22 March, 2010
Workshop: 18 May 2010

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE

+ Guy De Pauw (Workshop Chair - Contact Person)
(1) CLiPS Research Group, University of Antwerp, Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen, Belgium
(2) School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, PO Box 30197 - 00100GPO
Nairobi, Kenya

+ Handré Groenewald
Centre for Text Technology (CTexT), North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus), Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa

+ Gilles-Maurice de Schryver
(1) African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Rozier 44, 9000 Gent, Belgium
(2) Xhosa Department, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, Republic of South Africa
(3) TshwaneDJe HLT, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

+ Peter Waiganjo Wagacha
School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, PO Box 30197 - 00100GPO Nairobi, Kenya

Newsletter October 2009

Dear AfLaT member,

we would like to draw your attention to some recent highlights in African Language Technology.

(1) Google announced the availability of their Swahili Machine Translation system
http://aflat.org/?q=node/346

(2) CALL FOR ABSTRACTS for the National Human Language Technology Network Day 2010
http://aflat.org/?q=node/345

(3) MURI Call for White Papers: "Structured Modeling for Low-Density Languages"
http://aflat.org/?q=node/347

Also several new publications and links have recently been added. We hope to see you soon at http://AfLaT.org!

with kind regards

the AfLaT team

Locales for African languages

Martin Benjamin (Kamusi Project International) is looking for volunteers to develop locales for African languages.

AfLaT 2009 workshop report

Dear AfLaT member,

we are happy to present the proceedings and report for "The First Workshop on Language Technologies for African Languages", co-organized by the AfLaT team. You will find pictures, slides and papers of the workshop here:
http://www.aflat.org/?q=node/322

Workshop participants are entitled to a free hard copy of the proceedings. If you did not yet receive one, kindly send your mail address to guy [dot] depauw [at] aflat [dot] org.

Other recent news:
* Kevin Scannell has prepared a language independent toolkit for diacritic correction and developed a tool for Lingala diacritic correction. More info here: http://www.aflat.org/?q=node/329
* WOCAL 6 will feature two sessions on language technology. More info here: http://www.aflat.org/?q=node/327
* Martin Puttkammer has made a Tshivenda word list available. More info here: http://www.aflat.org/?q=node/330
* AfLaT has taken over Jouni Maho's website "Web Resources for African Languages". We are currently converting it into a database format, similar to AfLaT.org, to allow community-driven content management. The old web site can still be viewed here: http://africanlanguages.org

Position available in North-West University (SA)

Position available: Professor/ Associate Professor/ Senior Lecturer/ Lecturer:
Human Language Technology/Computational Linguistics

North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus
Centre for Text Technology (CTexTTM): Unit for Languages and Literature in the South African Context

CTexT is an innovative HLT research and development centre that focuses on resource scarce languages. We thrive on new challenges and new ideas and mostly work under high time pressures in order to achieve the highest quality in all our work. Therefore we create opportunities for individuality within a team context, where we do not only support one another, but also challenge each other to reach new heights. We have a working culture that is informal, energetic and driven by success, and a working ethos that is based on mutual respect and trust. Our personnel, therefore, are self-driven, dynamic and innovative; we enjoy tackling several challenges at once, to work hard together to reach goals and to develop new ideas.
If this kind of setup excites you and you meet the requirements as set out below, we would like to invite you to apply for this position.
The successful candidate will be involved in teaching within the undergraduate Language Technology programme, research and development in collaboration with CTexT, and the supervision of post-graduate students in Computational Linguistics.

For more information, refer to the attached job profile.
For more information on CTexT, visit www.nwu.ac.za/ctext .

Post doctorate positions also available.

Workshop Language Technologies for African Languages workshop - 2nd call (EXTENDED DEADLINE)

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
In multilingual situations, language technologies are crucial for providing access to information and opportunities for economic development. With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 different languages, Africa is a multilingual continent par excellence and presents acute challenges for those seeking to promote and use African languages in the areas of business development, education, research, and relief aid. In recent times a number of African researchers and institutions have come forward that share the common goal of developing capabilities in language technologies. This workshop provides a forum to meet and share the latest developments in this field. It also seeks to include linguists who specialize in African languages and would like to leverage the tools and approaches of computational linguistics, as well as computational linguists who are interested in learning about the particular linguistic challenges posed by African languages.

The workshop will consist of an invited tutorial on African language families and their structural properties by Prof. Sonja Bosch (UNISA, South Africa), followed by refereed research papers in computational linguistics. The focus will be on the less-commonly studied lesser-resourced languages, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa. These include languages from all four families, Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan, Khoisan and Afro-Asiatic with the exception of Arabic which is covered by the SIGSemitic workshops. The workshop will also not cover variants of European languages such as African French, African English or Afrikaans.

We invite submissions on any topic related to Language Technologies and African languages including, but not limited to, the following:
Corpora and corpus annotation,
Machine readable lexicons,
Morphological analyzers and spelling checkers,
Part of speech taggers and parsers,
Speech recognition and synthesis,
Applications such as machine translation, information extraction, information retrieval, computer-assisted language learning and question answering.

Other topics of interest are:
The role of language technologies in economic development, education, health care, and emergency and public services.
Documentation of endangered languages and the use of language technologies to enhance language vitality,
Language technologies delivered on mobile platforms, e.g. phones.

TRAVEL FUNDING
A very limited amount of travel funding is available. Preference will be given to authors of accepted research papers who are traveling from Africa.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Authors are invited to submit original, unpublished work in the topic area of this workshop. Submissions should follow the two-column format of the EACL 2009 main-conference proceedings and should not exceed eight (8) pages, including references. We strongly recommend the use of either the LaTeX style file or the Microsoft-Word Style file, which can be found at http://www.eacl2009.gr/conference/authors.
The reviewing will be blind and the paper should therefore not include the authors' names and affiliations.
Submission will be electronic. Papers must be submitted no later than January 19, 2009 using the submission webpage:
https://www.softconf.com/eacl09/african/

Submissions will be reviewed by 3 members of the Program Committee. Authors of accepted papers will receive guidelines on how to produce camera-ready versions of their papers for inclusion in the EACL workshop proceedings.
Notification of receipt will be emailed to the contact author.

IMPORTANT DATES
Submission deadline: January 19, 2008 (EXTENDED)
Notification of acceptance: February 2, 2009
Camera-ready papers due: February 13, 2009
Workshop: either March 30 or 31, 2009 (to be announced)

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Lori Levin: Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (Workshop Chair)
John Kiango: Director, Institute of Kiswahili Research, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Judith Klavans: University of Maryland, Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, USA
Manuela Noske: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, USA
Guy De Pauw: University of Antwerp, Belgium | University of Nairobi, Kenya | AfLaT.org
Gilles-Maurice de Schryver: African Languages and Cultures, Ghent University, Belgium | University of the Western Cape, South Africa | AfLaT.org
Peter Waiganjo Wagacha: School of Computing and Informatics, University of Nairobi, Kenya | AfLaT.org

PROGRAM COMMITTEE
Akinbiyi Akinlabi, Rutgers University
Yiwola Awoyale, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Moussa Bamba, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Alan Black, Carnegie Mellon University
Sonja Bosch, University of South Africa
Christopher Cieri, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Robert Frederking, Carnegie Mellon University
Dafydd Gibbon, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Jeff Good, SUNY Buffalo
Mike Gasser, Indiana University
Gregory Iverson, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of Language
Stephen Larocca, US Army Research Lab
Michael Maxwell, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of Language
Jonathan Owens, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of Language
Tristan Purvis, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of Language
Antonia Schleicher, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Tanja Schultz, Karlsruhe University
Clare Voss, US Army Research Lab
Briony Williams, University of Wales, Bangor

CONTACTS
Lori Levin
Language Technologies Institute
Newell-Simon Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
USA
lsl cs cmu edu

Call for Papers - Language Technologies for African Languages

Dear AfLaT-member,

we are very pleased to announce the call for papers for the EACL workshop “Language Technologies for African Languages”, co-organized and co-sponsored by AfLaT.org.

We look forward to your submissions.

With kind regards

The AfLaT team
http://aflat.org
----------------------------
Call for Papers
Language Technologies for African Languages
March 30 or 31 (to be determined), 2009
Athens, Greece

A Workshop at the annual meeting of the European Association for
Computational Linguistics

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
In multilingual situations, language technologies are crucial for providing
access to information and opportunities for economic development. With
somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 different languages, Africa is a
multilingual continent par excellence and presents acute challenges for
those seeking to promote and use African languages in the areas of business
development, education, research, and relief aid. In recent times a number
of African researchers and institutions have come forward that share the
common goal of developing capabilities in language technologies. This
workshop provides a forum to meet and share the latest developments in this
field. It also seeks to include linguists who specialize in African
languages and would like to leverage the tools and approaches of
computational linguistics, as well as computational linguists who are
interested in learning about the particular linguistic challenges posed by
African languages.

The workshop will consist of an invited tutorial on African language
families and their structural properties, followed by refereed research
papers in computational linguistics. The focus will be on the less-commonly
studied lesser-resourced languages, such as those of sub-Saharan Africa.
These include languages from all four families, Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan,
Khoisan and Afro-Asiatic with the exception of Arabic which is covered by
the SIGSemitic workshops. The workshop will also not cover variants of
European languages such as African French, African English or Afrikaans.

We invite submissions on any topic related to Language Technologies and
African languages including, but not limited to, the following:
Corpora and corpus annotation,
Machine readable lexicons,
Morphological analyzers and spelling checkers,
Part of speech taggers and parsers,
Speech recognition and synthesis,
Applications such as machine translation, information extraction,
information retrieval, computer-assisted language learning and question
answering.

Other topics of interest are:
The role of language technologies in economic development, education, health
care, and emergency and public services.
Documentation of endangered languages and the use of language technologies
to enhance language vitality,
Language technologies delivered on mobile platforms, e.g. phones.

TRAVEL FUNDING
A very limited amount of travel funding is available. Preference will be
given to authors of accepted research papers who are traveling from Africa.

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS
Authors are invited to submit original, unpublished work in the topic area
of this workshop. Submissions should follow the two-column format of the
EACL 2009 main-conference proceedings and should not exceed eight (8) pages,
including references. We strongly recommend the use of either the LaTeX
style file or the Microsoft-Word Style file, which can be found at
http://www.eacl2009.gr/conference/authors.
The reviewing will be blind and the paper should therefore not include the
authors' names and affiliations.
Submission will be electronic. Papers must be submitted no later than
December 19, 2008 using the submission webpage that will be available soon.
Submissions will be reviewed by 3 members of the Program Committee. Authors
of accepted papers will receive guidelines on how to produce camera-ready
versions of their papers for inclusion in the EACL workshop proceedings.
Notification of receipt will be emailed to the contact author.

IMPORTANT DATES
Submission deadline: December 19, 2008
Notification of acceptance: January 30, 2009
Camera-ready papers due: February 13, 2009
Workshop: either March 30 or 31, 2009 (to be announced)

ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Lori Levin: Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
(Workshop Chair)
John Kiango: Director, Institute of Kiswahili Research, University of Dar Es
Salaam, Tanzania
Judith Klavans: University of Maryland, Institute for Advanced Computer
Studies, USA
Manuela Noske: Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, USA
Guy De Pauw: University of Antwerp, Belgium | University of Nairobi, Kenya |
AfLaT.org
Gilles-Maurice de Schryver: African Languages and Cultures, Ghent
University, Belgium | University of the Western Cape, South Africa |
AfLaT.org
Peter Waiganjo Wagacha: School of Computing and Informatics, University of
Nairobi, Kenya | AfLaT.org

PROGRAM COMMITTEE
Akinbiyi Akinlabi, Rutgers University
Yiwola Awoyale, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Moussa Bamba, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Alan Black, Carnegie Mellon University
Sonja Bosch, University of South Africa
Christopher Cieri, University of Pennsylvania, Linguistic Data Consortium
Robert Frederking, Carnegie Mellon University
Dafydd Gibbon, University of Bielefeld, Germany
Jeff Good, SUNY Buffalo
Mike Gasser, Indiana University
Gregory Iverson, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Language
Stephen Larocca, US Army Research Lab
Michael Maxwell, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Language
Jonathan Owens, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Language
Tristan Purvis, University of Maryland, Center for Advanced Study of
Language
Antonia Schleicher, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Tanja Schultz, Karlsruhe University
Clare Voss, US Army Research Lab
Briony Williams, University of Wales, Bangor

CONTACTS
Lori Levin
Language Technologies Institute
Newell-Simon Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
USA
lsl cs cmu edu

Language Experts Needed

A regular AfLaT newsletter will be sent out at the end of this month, but we thought the message below might be of particular interest to you. Thanks to Gertrud Faasz for forwarding this.

The AfLaT Team
http://aflat.org

===
Per the below, we are wondering if you or any of your colleagues who work in the fields of linguistics, computer science or language teaching/literature would be interested in helping us set up and staff a lab with native speakers of the languages below. Our idea is that perhaps there are students who are native speakers of these languages studying at your university who might help us test a cell phone text messaging system. The lab would house computer equipment that we would supply, and we would employ native speakers as testers as well as a coordinator (a student at your university) to oversee the lab and troubleshoot technical issues. Below is some information that you might want to forward to your colleagues:

Zi Corporation has a potential project that involves collaborating with local universities (to the mutual benefit participating universities and Zi) to set up labs in areas where the target languages listed below are spoken. We are interested in staffing these labs with native speakers (native speakers who are naive users) to do some usability testing and data checking /input for a cell phone text messaging system which will be developed. We would also like to find a coordinator for each lab and for the speakers who is university-based (student).

The languages potentially under development will be Hausa, Igbo, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu and Sesotho.

We are very interested in establishing contact with linguists, language specialists and computer scientists at universities located in areas where the languages listed above are spoken.

Please contact Margaret Salome, msalome [at] zicorp [dot] com for further details.
...

Best regards,

Margaret Salome
Senior Linguist
Zi Corporation

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