Calls: NLP for Minority Lang

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at
Wed Feb 5 19:30:11 UTC 2003

Dear Uralists,

with apologies for cross-postings again, I forward (from the LINGUIST list,
Vol. 14.363) the following announcement of a conference on natural language
processing for minority languages.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Institut für Finno-Ugristik der Universität Wien
Universitätscampus, Spitalg. 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
tel. +43 1 4277 43009 | fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at |


Date:  Wed, 05 Feb 2003 04:17:05 +0000
From:  ostreiter at
Subject:  NLP for Minority Languages, France

NLP for Minority Languages with Few Computational Linguistic Resources

Short Title: NLP Minority Languages
Location: Batz-sur-Mer, France
Date: 14-Jun-2003 - 14-Jun-2003
Call Deadline: 19-Mar-2003

Web Site:
Contact Person: Oliver Streiter
Meeting Email: ostreiter at
Linguistic Subfield(s): Computational Linguistics

This is a session of the following conference:
2003 Traitement Automatique des Langues Naturelles

Meeting Description:

The goal of the workshop is to get an overview of activities,
methodologies and achievements in the area of Natural Language
Processing of Minority Languages. Workshop on Natural Language
Processing of Minority Languages with few computational linguistic


Over the last few years, minority and small languages have attracted
considerable attention. Projects aiming at the revitalization,
standardization and linguistic normalization have been initiated to
promote usage of these languages and contribute to their
survival. Speakers of smaller languages have gained awareness that
their languages belong to the world's cultural heritage, and are
becoming more and more inclined to use their native tongues at a
broader scale. The rising number of web-pages in lesser-used languages
demonstrates this fact.


This workshop will approach the problem of minority languages from the
computational point of view. The workshop will focus on minority
languages with few computational linguistic resources, e.g. Occitan,
Hakka, Corse, Nahuatl, including specific minority languages as sign
languages. Minority languages with rich computational linguistic
resources, as for example Catalan, are not excluded from the workshop
as they may function as an example of a successful minority
language. Papers related to majority languages are equally accepted in
case the languages treated face problems similar to minority

The goal of the workshop is to get an overview of activities,
methodologies and achievements in the area of Natural Language
Processing of Minority Languages, in order to promote the research in
this area and to enhance the prestige associated with this research.

Automatic processing of minority languages has to overcome a number of
difficulties which arise from their special status.

* As these languages have few speakers, there are few native linguists
and even fewer computational linguists. Rule-based approaches to
tagging, parsing, etc. may thus be difficult to apply.

* The scarce financial support that these languages enjoy equally
seems to virtually exclude rule-based approaches due to the amount of
human labor these approaches generally require. This problem might be
overcome if computational frameworks derived from other languages can
be adopted.

* Corpus-based approaches are only applicable if adequate corpora are
available. However, creation of a corpus is time- and money-consuming
and requires linguistically sound conceptions, especially if
general-purpose corpora are to be created.

* Example-based approaches seem to be more promising in this light if
no general-purpose corpora, but specific examples are
required. Compilation of special examples also seems to be easier to
implement than to write formal rules. However, little is known of the
feasibility of this paradigm with respect to minority languages.

* Shallow knowledge techniques may be developed or are already in use,
which benefit from a specific property of a language or a language
family. This however may hamper the transfer of the approach from one
language to other languages. Some techniques might work with analytic
languages and not with agglutinative languages, etc . Different
writing systems might also prevent one simple approach from being
applicable to another language. The workshop is expected to stimulate
research in this area. We invite papers which are concerned with, but
not restricted to, the following topics:.


* the relation between NLP and minority language support in general,
* development of specific NLP applications for minority languages,
e.g. tagging, morphological analysis, parsing, information retrieval,
machine translation
* development of corpora and machine-readable dictionaries for minority
* presentation of shallow knowledge NLP techniques which could be applied
to minority languages,
* overview studies that describe the state of the art of NLP for the
minority languages of a country, a region or a language type,
* comparative analysis of different NLP approaches to different minority
languages and languages types,
* free resources for NLP, their application areas and limitations,
* the requirements for NLP applications for special minority language


Shin-Hsi Chen           National Taiwan University,
                        hh_chen at
Vitelio Herrera         Union Latiner, Direction Terminologia et Industries
                        de la Lange, Paris
                        v.herrera at
Leonid Iomdin           Academia Auk Moscow, Laboratory of Computer
                        iomdin at
Harold Somers           Centre for Computational Linguistics, UMIST
                        Harold.Somers at
Oliver Streiter         EURAC, European Academy, Language & Law,
                        ostreiter at
Mathias Stuflesser      SPELL, Service de Personification y Elaboration Dal
                        Lings Ladin,
                        spell-mathias at
Leonhard Voltmer        EURAC, European Academy, Minorities,
                        lvoltmer at
Wolfgang Wölck          University at Buffalo, SUNNY,
                        wwolck at


19.3.2003 Submission deadline
31.3.2003 Notification of acceptance
28.4.2003 Camera ready version


Submissions should not be longer than 10 pages in Times 12, all
included.  For more detailed information in French see:

Style files can be downloaded here.

Latex French:
Latex English:
Word French:
Word English:


The contact address for submissions to the workshop and
further informations with respect to the workshop is

Oliver Streiter
European Academy
Language and law
mail: ostreiter at
tel:  +39 0471 055 115
fax:  +39 0471 055 199

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