News and Events

Saturday, March 5, 2016
ALTLab’s Katie Schmirler presented on Word Class Frequencies according to Corpora  (jointly authored with Atticus Harrigan) at the Prairie Workshop of Language and Linguistics in Regina. While Megan Bontogon also presented on Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for Canadian Indigenous Languages (CILs):  a user evaluation study of nêhiyawêtân (jointly authored with Lene Antonsen and Antti Arppe).

Friday-Saturday, November 14-15, 2014
ALTLab will be hosting Dr. Måns Huldén from the Department of Linguistics in the University of Colorado, who will be delivering a presentation in the Linguistics Colloquium on Friday entitled Formal verification in phonology:

Constructing linguistic models is a complex task, and one of the main roles of computational linguistics is to aid the linguist in performing that task. In this talk I will focus on some advanced recent techniques that provide useful theory-neutral mechanisms for analyzing and developing phonological generalizations in various contexts. These techniques draw on finite state technology, which is widely used for modeling phonological and morphological phenomena computationally and also finds many applications in speech technology. The popularity of finite state machines – automata and transducers – rests on a few main attributes: they provide a theory-neutral platform for encoding linguistic generalizations, they are inherently bidirectional (a model defined in the direction of generation can also perform parsing), they can accommodate gradience effects and probabilistic generalizations, and they enjoy substantial practical support in the form of software and development tools. For our purposes, the most important feature is the set of computational methods available for formal verification and investigation of finite state models. One technique particularly useful to the linguist is equivalence testing of grammars. While testing the equivalence of finite transducers is computationally undecidable in the general case, I show that efficient methods exists for doing so in the case of linguistically interesting contexts. When combined with techniques to model richer phonological structures such as autosegments or constraint-driven formalisms like Optimality Theory, such equivalence testing permits the automation of various difficult tasks in phonology. Among other things, it enables one to formally ascertain the correctness of generalizations expressed in a particular formalism, investigate competing theories of historical-comparative reconstruction, and perform more general comparisons of phonological and morphological models.

Saturday, October 25, 2014
Antti Arppe and Atticus Harrigan from our team presented a paper (jointly authored with Lene Antonsen, Trond Trosterud, Conor Snoek, Dorothy Thunder, Jordan Lachler, Jean Okimâsis & Arok Wolvengrey) on AC_Arppe_et_al_141025B at the 46th Algonquian Conference in Uncasville, Connecticut, during October 24-26, 2014.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
Antti Arppe and Jordan Lachler from our team presented a paper on Modeling the Noun Morphology of Plains Cree at ComputEL: Workshop on the use of computational methods in the study of endangered languages, at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Friday-Saturday June 20-21, 2014
Plains Cree / Northern Haida Finite-State Transducer workshop

Wednesday-Thursday June 18-19, 2014
SSHRC/Cree/Algonquian mini-Summit

Saturday, March 1, 2014
Antti Arppe, Dorothy Thunder, and Conor Snoek presented a paper on Literacy and language learning tools for Plains Cree at the 1st Prairies Workshop on Language and Linguistics, Brandon University, in Brandon, Manitoba.

Friday, February 14, 2014
Dr. Arok Wolvengrey and Dr. Jean Okimāsis, First Nations University of Canada, Regina (SK), were our guests at the University of Alberta.

Jean Okimāsis shared in the Language Documentation and Research Cluster (LDRC) seminar her experiences in developing Cree language materials and programs at SIFC/First Nations University.

Arok Wolvengrey also gave a talk in the Colloquium Series of the Department of Linguistics:

Mapping the Cree Language: Dictionary, Atlas and Word Order Templates.

This talk will survey some of the author’s ongoing research projects involving nēhiyawēwin, the (Plains) Cree language.  First, the Online Cree Dictionary as it currently stands will be briefly introduced, followed by a critical analysis of its shortcomings and requirements for future upgrades.  Second, what began as the Cree-Innu Linguistic Atlas and is evolving into the Algonquian Linguistic Atlas will be introduced, again highlighting current and future dimensions of the project.  Finally, a new approach to word order, as espoused in Functional Discourse Grammar, will be introduced with some initial applications to Plains Cree.  Although Cree has sometimes been described as a “free word order” language, this merely indicates that past researchers were often at a loss for the motivating factors behind word order variation in Cree, which differs so much from English.

October 17-27, 2013
Distinguished Visitor, Prof. Trond Trosterud from the Giellatekno Centre at the University of Tromsø was our guest for over a week at the University of Alberta (link to full visit program here).


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