Developing language resources for minority languages:
re-useability and strategic priorities

Pre-Conference Workshop Announcement
and Call for Participation

Held in conjunction with the
Second International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation
(LREC 2000)
Athens, Greece

Tuesday, 30th May 2000
14:30 - 20:00

1 Workshop announcement

There will be a one-day workshop on the theme of "Developing language resources for minority languages: re-useability and strategic priorities" on the afternoon of May 30th 2000 at Athens, Greece (preceding the 2nd International Language Resources and Evaluation Conference, LREC2000). The aim of the workshop is to bring together those who are developing language resources for minority languages, in order to build contacts and share experience. The workshop will include the first meeting of the ISCA SALTMIL SIG: "Speech and Language Technology for Minority Languages".

2 Workshop scope, aims and program

The minority or "lesser used" languages of the world (e.g. Basque, Welsh, Breton) are under increasing pressure from the major languages. Some of them (e.g. Gaelic) are endangered, but others (e.g. Catalan) are in a stronger position. However, the situation with regard to language resources is fragmented and disorganised. Some minority languages have been adequately researched linguistically, but most have not, and the vast majority do not yet possess basic speech and language resources (such as text and speech corpora) which are sufficient to permit commercial development of products.

If this situation were to continue, the minority languages of the world would fall a long way behind the major languages, as regards the availability of commercial speech and language products. This in turn will accelerate the decline of those languages that are already struggling to survive, as speakers are forced to use the majority language for interaction with these products. To break this vicious circle, it is important to encourage the development of basic language resources.

The workshop is a small step towards encouraging the development of such resources. The aim is to disseminate information on existing projects and possible future strategies, as well as forming personal contacts and sharing best practice. This will make it easier for isolated researchers with little funding and no pre-existing resources to begin developing language resources that are maximally useful.

The workshop will also incorporate the first meeting of the ISCA "SALTMIL" SIG: "Speech and Language Technology for MInority Languages".

The Workshop Program

Registration, and preparation of posters
Welcome Bojan Petek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Strategic priorities for the development of language technology in >minority languages Kepa Sarasola, University of the Basque Country, Spain
Language engineering resources for minority languages Harold Somers, University of Manchester Institute of Science and >Technology, UK
Linguistic Exploration: New Methods for Creating, Exploring and >Disseminating Linguistic Fie> ld Data Steven Bird, Linguistic Data Consortium, USA
Funding for research into human language technologies for less >prevalent languages Bojan Petek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
General discussion of talks
Poster session
SALTMIL SIG first meeting

The contributed poster papers will focus on existing projects in the field, with the opportunity to share useful information. This includes (but is not limited to) topics such as:

  1. Presentations of existing speech and text databases for minority languages, with particular emphasis on software tools that have been found useful in their development.
  2. Presentation of existing lexicons for minority languages, with particular emphasis on fast production methods.

The scheduled poster session includes the following presentations:

The Development of Language Resources for Maltese

Paul Micallef*, Mike Rosner** (* Dept. Communication and Computer Engineering, University of Malta, ** Dept. Computer Science, University of Malta, Malta)

Courseware Based on Speech Technology for Breton Language Pronunciation Learning : Speech Data Bases and Bilingual Spoken Dictionary.

Guy Mercier*, Jacques Siroux*, Francis Favereau**, Franois Louis*** (* ENSSAT, CORDIAL project (IRISA), Lannion, France, ** Universit de Rennes II, *** TES, Saint-Brieuc Cedex, France )

Neutral Lingware: A Need for Technologically Weak Languages

Llus de Yzaguirre i Maura (Institut de Lingstica Aplicada Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain)

The Spanish-Galician and Galician-Spanish MT System: How to re-use the existing Galician resources to develop a robust MT system in a short period of time

Ins Diz Gamallo*, Liliana Martnez Calvo** (* Centro Ramn Pineiro para a Investigacin en Humanidades, University of Vigo, ** Centro Ramn Pineiro para a Investigacin en Humanidades, Santiago de Compostela, Spain)

Electronic Dictionary of Pronunciation and Usage of the Graecanic Dialect of Southern Italy

George Kokkinakis, Helen Coutsogeorgopoulos, Evangelos Dermatas, George Kaitsas (WCL, Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Patras, Patras, Greece)

Unit Selection based on Diphones for Catalan Text-to-Speech Conversion

Roger Guaus i Trmens, Ignasi Iriondo Sanz (Secci Tecnologies de la Parla, Departament de Comunicacions i Teoria del Senyal, Escola d'Enginyeria La Salle, Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain)

The State of the Art of French Creole Language Resource Engineering

Marilyn Mason (Mason Integrated Technologies Ltd, Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

Segre: An Automatic Tool for Grapheme-to-Allophone Transcription in Catalan

P. Paches*, C. de la Mota**, M. Riera**, M. P. Perea***, A. Febrer*, M. Estruch**, J. M. Garrido**, M. J. Machuca**, A. Ros**, J. Llisterri**, I. Esquerra*, J. Hernando*, J. Padrell*, C. Nadeu* (* Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, ** Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, *** Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)

Tools and Basque Language Databases Developed in the Aholab Laboratory

Borja Etxebarria, Eva Navas, Ana Armenta, Imanol Madariaga, Inaki Gaminde, Inma Hernaez (Dpto. Electronica y Telecomunicaciones, Escuela Superior de Ingenieros, Bilbao, Spain)

Digital Sounded Lexicon of Nenets

Marina Ljublinskaja*, Tatiana Sherstinova**, Elena Kuznetsova* (* Institute of Linguistic Researches of the Academy of Science, ** Department of Phonetics of Saint-Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg, Russia)

A Corpus of Written Finnish Romani Texts

Lars Borin (Department of Linguistics, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden)

Computer Fund of the Tatar Language: Information Resources of Vocabulary and Textual Subfunds

Kamil R. Galiullin (Kazan State University, Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia)

Czech Speech Corpus for Development of Speech Recognition Systems

Vlasta Radov, Josef Psutka, Lubo mdl, Petr Voplka, Filip Jurccek (University of West Bohemia, Department of Cybernetics, Plzen, Czech Republic)

Creating High-Quality, Large-Scale Bilingual Knowledge Bases Using Minimal Resources

Davide Turcato, Fred Popowich, Paul McFetridge, Janine Toole (Natural Language Lab, School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada)

3 Organising committee

4 Important dates

Deadline for workshop abstract submission
11 February 2000

Notification of acceptance
3 March 2000

Final version of paper for workshop proceedings
28 March 2000

30th May 2000 (afternoon)

5 Contact person for enquiries about the workshop

Briony Williams

Centre for Speech Technology Research
80 South Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1HN
Scotland, UK

Tel: +44 131 650 2790
Fax: +44 131 650 6351

6 Submissions

Papers are invited that will describe existing speech and language resources for minority languages (speech databases, text databases, and lexicons), also papers based on the analysis of these resources. All contributed papers will be presented in poster form. Each submission should show: title; author(s); affiliation(s); and contact author's e-mail address, postal address, telephone and fax numbers. Abstracts (maximum 500 words, plain-text format) should be sent to:

Donncha O'Croinin, ITE, 31 Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Those who wish to attend without offering a paper are asked to indicate their interest to Donncha O'Croinin ( in order to receive their own copy of the final programme and registration details.

The final version should not be longer than 4,000 words or 10 A4 pages. Instructions for formatting and presentation of the final version will be sent to authors upon notification of acceptance.

7 Workshop registration

The registration fee for the workshop is:

The fee includes a coffee break and the workshop proceedings.

Participation in the workshop is limited by the venue. Requests for participation will be processed on a first come first served basis. Registration is handled by the LREC Secretariat.

8 Conference information

General information on LREC2000:

Specific queries about the conference and registration for the workshop:

LREC Secretariat
6, Artemidos & Epidavrou Str
15125 Marousi

Tel: +30 1 6800959
Fax: +30 1 6856794

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