Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [Lambengolmor] Linguistic Database?

Expand Messages
  • Kai MacTane
    ... Oddly enough, I thought of this idea about 4-6 months ago. I ve since been implementing it, and it s nearly ready for comments and testing. ... The
    Message 1 of 16 , Jul 20, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      At 7/20/02 10:27 AM , Boris Shapiro wrote:

      >Have you ever thought of creating a linguistic database of Tolkien's
      >languages, at least for Quenya? That would greatly improve scholarly
      >process, and it is especially useful for Tolkien's languages where we have
      >an extra vital parameter of the chronology of the evolvement of Quenya.

      Oddly enough, I thought of this idea about 4-6 months ago. I've since been
      implementing it, and it's nearly ready for comments and testing.

      >[A comprehensive database of all of Tolkien's languages (limiting it to
      >Quenya only would be unnecessarily limiting of its utility), at all stages
      >of their development, would be a powerful tool indeed. It would, of
      >course, require the permission of the Tolkien Estate for its publication.
      >Carl]

      The necessity of TE permission has not escaped me -- not only is it alluded
      to in a couple of FAQ questions in my database system, and in the copyright
      notice at the bottom of every page it serves up, but I've also kept the
      data-set as limited as I can at the moment, loading in just enough
      information for testing purposes and to fill the various categories and
      parts of speech.

      Your suggestion that it should cover all of Tolkien's languages is a good
      one, and one I'll have to ponder. I *think* that expanding this database
      system (which I currently call _Quettahostanie_) to include other languages
      might be fairly easy.

      I'm tidying up a few loose ends, and have a busy weekend ahead of me, but I
      should have a system fairly soon that will enable remote users (i.e., the
      rest of you) to look at the back-end, and even edit database entries if
      desired. ("Fairly soon" means "probably by Monday evening, Pacific-coast-US
      time".) In the meantime, I think the front-end is in good enough condition
      to be seen by the world (or at least by a bunch of _lambengolmor_), with
      the following notes:

      1) This is still something of a work in progress. In particular, I'd
      love to have people's reactions on the documentation, the usability,
      the interface, and whatnot. Is it easy to figure out how to use? Does
      it have sufficient functionality? Can it do everything you think it
      should be able to? (Aside from handling languages besides Quenya, or
      allowing you to edit the contents.)
      2) I have always intended that this should eventually become a collab-
      orative tool, usable by multiple scholars across the world. I am open
      to suggestions on the mechanics of validating editors, maintaining
      updates, and so on.
      3) As described in various places in the system, I am planning to seek
      the Tolkien Estate's permission before loading more of their intel-
      lectual property into the database. Suggestions for approaches to
      take, approaches to avoid, and alterations in the system that might
      make their permission more likely are also quite welcome.
      4) There are undoubtedly cases where I've missed one or more attesta-
      tions, or where there should be a green check mark in the Diachrony
      display. I do not have all of Tolkien's works, and so I only marked
      things that I could be sure of. (This is one reason for eventually
      making it collaborative -- it will allow greater sharing of schol-
      arly knowledge, and greater accuracy than I can provide on my own.)
      Please do not discount Quettahostanie on the basis of its creator's
      lack of material and knowledge! (And feel free to email me point-
      ing out such inaccuracies.)
      5) Since I wanted Quettahostanie to also be usable by the "average"
      Elfling member, and even to be comprehensible by a random Web
      surfer who wanders in, some of the documentation is extremely
      simple. (For example, descriptions of what Quenya is.) The docu-
      mentation was intended for a broad-based population, and is *not*
      what I would have written if I were only targeting members of this
      list! (In other words, if you feel like the docs are "talking down
      to you", those parts are intended for other people, like folks who
      have just seen Peter Jackson's movie and done a Web search on
      "Tolkien".)

      That being said, you can see the Quettahostanie database at:

      http://www.freaknation.com/quenya/

      I will probably not be available to answer questions (or read comments) for
      roughly the next 24 hours -- perhaps more like 36 -- but I will be happy to
      catch up on list mail then. Please use your own judgement on whether to
      send comments to this list (where they can be picked over and usefully
      added to by others), or to my personal inbox (where they won't be
      cluttering up this list). No need to send to both places.

      And thank you all in advance for whatever feedback you can provide.

      --Kai MacTane
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      "And the Devil in a black dress watches over,
      My guardian angel walks away..."
      --Sisters of Mercy,
      "Temple of Love"
    • Boris Shapiro
      [Folks: let s not use needless abbreviations, especially where they are not very widely known, and where they aren t spelled out in full at least at their
      Message 2 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        [Folks: let's not use needless abbreviations, especially where they are
        not very widely known, and where they aren't spelled out in full at least
        at their first usage in a post, and especially not in subject lines.
        Thanks, Carl.]

        Aiya!

        So, about LDB [linguistic databases]. I suppose we all want to make
        clear what features do we want it to possess. Probably the best way to
        do it is to analyze a Quenya phrase providing all the linguistic
        information we need this database to store.

        Let's use "Elen siila luumenn' omentielvo". I confess I may be short
        of knowledge to undertake an all-encompassing analysis of it.
        Perhaps the venerable lambengolmor would give us a valuable lesson?


        Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo


        : eressea, eldamar i laa fiirimo tuvitas pole :


        [Engaging in the close analysis of a phrase that Boris is inviting is
        great. However, I'm of mixed mind about whether this forum is the right
        one for the broader topic of laying the groundwork for a proposed
        database; but I'll allow it for now at least, so long as it doesn't drift
        off topic. (It's not that the topic itself is necessarily unsuitable for a
        linguistics mailing list, I just fear that it will either overwhelm the
        list, or quickly drift off topic, or both.) I would ask that everyone
        wanting to participate in a broader discussion of linguistic database
        issues please prefix all of your posts with [LDB] (yes, I know what I just
        said above, and I appreciate the irony), so that those not interested can
        easily avoid them. Thanks, Carl]
      • Kai MacTane
        ... As you ve probably noticed in Quettahostanie (QH), my approach is to store individual elements in the database rather than entire phrases. Of course, the
        Message 3 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          At 7/23/02 10:39 AM , Boris Shapiro wrote:

          > So, about LDB [linguistic databases]. I suppose we all want to make
          > clear what features do we want it to possess. Probably the best way to
          > do it is to analyze a Quenya phrase providing all the linguistic
          > information we need this database to store.

          As you've probably noticed in Quettahostanie (QH), my approach is to store
          individual elements in the database rather than entire phrases.

          Of course, the structure of QH already encodes some of my ideas about
          what's important to track and what's not -- I spent some time ruminating
          about the database architecture before implementing it, thinking to myself
          "It would be good if it kept track of *this*... oh, and *that* would be
          useful, too."

          Nonetheless, I'll see if I can throw out most of that (as if it were a
          pre-conception), and try to analyze and answer from a fresh start --
          thinking like a scholar rather than a database architect.

          > Let's use "Elen siila luumenn' omentielvo". I confess I may be short
          > of knowledge to undertake an all-encompassing analysis of it.
          > Perhaps the venerable lambengolmor would give us a valuable lesson?

          I'm only a would-be or wanna-be _lambengolmo_, but here's my analysis of
          the phrase.

          To start with, a quick interlinear translation:

          Elen síla lumenn' omentielvo.
          star shine (contin. sg.) hour (allat.) two+meeting+3sg poss. (gen.)
          [A] star is shining [the] hour-onto meeting-ours-of

          Further notes, word-by-word:

          [A]: Not necessary (or possible) in Quenya; no indefinite article exists in
          Quenya. Necessary in translation into English to conform with English
          grammar, which requires articles.

          _Elen_: "star", from the root EL-. This is related to _Elda_ and _ele/ela_
          (see the Silmarillion appendix entry; the original first utterance of the
          Elves is given there as _ele_ but in Q&E as _ela_).

          [For a truly complete analysis, I'd add a note on the first appearance of
          _elen_ in the Quenya Corpus. I don't feel like looking it up now, since I
          get the impression that the style of this analysis is more important than
          the specifics for each word, for purposes of this discussion. I'll throw in
          similar notes about where there should be more complete references as this
          analysis continues.]

          The word is expressed in the nominative singular.

          _síla_: continuative singular of _sil-_ "to shine". The continuative of
          primary verbs in Quenya is apparently formed by lengthening the stem-vowel
          (except before consonant clusters) and affixing _-a_ (see references to
          other examples of continuative verbs in the Corpus). If no pronominal
          suffix is appended, the verb is apparently assumed to be 3sg.

          Hence, a star "is shining" (currently, at this moment; it may not be the
          star's usual activity).

          [the]: Possible but not necessary in Quenya -- could be (or could have
          been) represented by the (definite) article _i_, attested in many other
          locations (_Namárie_, _Markirya_, big long list here...).

          _lumenn'_: Elided form of _lumenna_, with the final vowel dropped to avoid
          conflict with the initial vowel of the following word. (Cite other examples
          of this in the Corpus.) _lumenna_ is the allative declension of _lume_
          "hour, time", and represents that the star (or, notionally, its light) is
          shining *toward* (or "at, into, or onto") the hour. An English translation
          might be "on the hour", "onto the hour", or "upon the hour". (Cite other
          attestations of both the allative case declension and _lume_.)

          _omentielvo_: First, note that this word appears in LR 1st Ed. as
          _omentielmo_ (and in some American editions as the typo _omentilmo_). The
          glossed English meaning does not change from one edition to the next.

          This word consists of the prefix _o-_, the base word _mentie_ "meeting",
          and a 3rd-person plural possessive suffix _-lva_, declined in the genitive
          case. Alternatively, you could parse it as the prefix _o-_, the base word
          _mentie_ "meeting", a third-person plural possessive particle _-lv-_, and
          the genitive ending _-o_.

          The _o-_ prefix denotes a confluence of two things (contrasting with the
          prefix _yo-_, denoting a confluence of three or more things). (See Quendi &
          Eldar.)

          The possessive _-lva_ or _-lv-_ apparently denotes the inclusive "we", in
          which the person addressed is included in the group referred to. There is
          some controversy over whether this might, at some time, have been the
          marker for the dual "we", denoting a group consisting *solely* of the
          speaker and the person addressed. (Insert references to various discussions
          of this -- it could be a quite long list.)

          The genitive case is used to associate the meeting with the
          previously-referenced hour: "the hour of our meeting". (Also insert
          references on the genitive case, including discussions of when to use it
          versus the possessive/compositive case, and attestations of other genitive
          declensions in the Corpus, such as _rámar aldaron_.)

          The entire phrase dates to 19?? (when was Tolkien actually *writing* Book
          I? the early '40s? date could be ascertained with reference to _Letters_,
          which I don't own), and was maintained, with the exception of the change
          from _omentielmo_ to _omentielvo_, in the re-publication of LotR in 1965.

          Whew.

          There may well be other aspects of this phrase that would be valuable to
          note in an analysis; I welcome other people's comments, both on the
          analysis itself and on any bearing it might have on a potential database
          structure (or on the already-existing/proposed structure of Quettahostanie).

          >[Engaging in the close analysis of a phrase that Boris is inviting is
          >great.

          It's an interesting exercise -- it left me flexing slightly different
          muscles than I've found myself using in entering the sample data in
          Quettahostanie lately. (Indeed, the bits where I didn't bother to look up
          various references, but instead simply wrote "insert reference to
          such-and-so", are partly because looking up references in my inadequate
          Tolkien library is an activity that I *have* been doing lately, and I'm a
          bit tired of it!)

          >However, I'm of mixed mind about whether this forum is the right
          >one for the broader topic of laying the groundwork for a proposed
          >database; but I'll allow it for now at least, so long as it doesn't drift
          >off topic. (It's not that the topic itself is necessarily unsuitable for a
          >linguistics mailing list, I just fear that it will either overwhelm the
          >list, or quickly drift off topic, or both.)

          An understandable concern. I do hope that Quettahostanie can be a useful
          tool on a scholarly level, and that this discussion will therefore prove
          beneficial and topical for this group. But, since I'm a strong candidate
          for "person here who's most likely to want to overdo the database
          discussion", I'll try to keep myself in check on that score.

          --Kai MacTane
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          "Soft and only you, lost and only you,
          Strange as angels."
          --The Cure,
          "Just Like Heaven"
        • Fredrik
          ... Using the definite article may be ungrammatical in Quenya when the noun phrase is already made definite by a genitival qualifier. So _lambe Eldaron_
          Message 4 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            >[the]: Possible but not necessary in Quenya -- could be (or could have
            >been) represented by the (definite) article _i_, attested in many other
            >locations (_Namárie_, _Markirya_, big long list here...).

            Using the definite article may be ungrammatical in Quenya when the noun
            phrase is already made definite by a genitival qualifier. So _lambe
            Eldaron_ translates as 'THE language of the Eldar', and 'THE splendour of
            Orome' is _alkar Oromeo_, without the definite article in Quenya (WJ:368f).
            (In my native Swedish, "alvernas språk" means 'the language of the Elves',
            while **"alvernas språket", using the definite article, would be
            impossible.)

            It is interesting to note the use of 'those who' in the literal translation
            of _i arani Eldaron_ (WJ:369): 'those among the Eldar who were kings'; and
            to compare the constructions _mi nínaron_ (VT43:31), _mi wenderon_
            (VT44:18), and the ablative sense of _Oiolosseo_ 'from Oiolosse' in
            Galadriel's Lament.

            Perhaps _i_ has a determinative sense in _i yave mónalyo Yésus_ (VT43:28)
            'the fruit of thy womb: Jesus' (or 'that fruit of thy womb that is Jesus');
            while "Blessed is the fruit of thy womb." would be, simply, _Aistana yave
            mónalyo_? (In which case _aistana i yave mónalyo_, unless demonstrative
            [someone pointing to a certain child], would sound truncated, hanging in
            mid-air as it were: blessed is the fruit of thy womb that...)

            /Fredrik
          • Boris Shapiro
            Aiya! Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 12:27:58 AM, Kai MacTane wrote: First, I have to say that I didn t have the possibility of seeing QH by myself, so I ll rely on
            Message 5 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Aiya!

              Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 12:27:58 AM, Kai MacTane wrote:

              First, I have to say that I didn't have the possibility of seeing QH
              by myself, so I'll rely on your answers and patience :)

              >> So, about LDB [linguistic databases]. I suppose we all want to make
              >> clear what features do we want it to possess. Probably the best way
              >> to do it is to analyze a Quenya phrase providing all the linguistic
              >> information we need this database to store.
              >>
              KM> As you've probably noticed in Quettahostanie (QH), my approach is to store
              KM> individual elements in the database rather than entire phrases.

              Does it make sense? But the question should be what do you regard as
              an individual element and are they stored absolutely independently of
              their context?

              I suppose I lack proper vocabulary and knowledge in programming, but
              in my view the desired LDB [linguistic database] (or should we call it
              _ELDA_ for "Elvish Linguistic DAtabase"? :) should be object-oriented,
              and have a nested structure so that there are multiple levels of
              objects like a nested doll. In my view an object is a linguistically
              important element in of a given text stored in LDB which possesses the
              required linguistic description. But there are different types of
              objects: two words could be two individual lexical objects, but at the
              same time they could be a sole syntactical object! And a sentence
              could itself be a clause, a part of a complex sentense, thus being a
              syntactical object, too! And all these objects viewed on different
              levels should possess different descriptions.

              I'd like to know how does your QH deal with such information

              KM> Of course, the structure of QH already encodes some of my ideas
              KM> about what's important to track and what's not -- I spent some
              KM> time ruminating about the database architecture before
              KM> implementing it, thinking to myself "It would be good if it kept
              KM> track of *this*... oh, and *that* would be useful, too."

              I know that the problem of creating an optimized DB is how to design
              an optimized architecture before the actual programming. That's why I
              regard the proposed analysis (intending to make out the desired
              structure of the linguistic data to be included in ELDA) to be of
              great importance.


              Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo


              : raavannar vantar · tuile loctuva : i yulma carne miru quanta peltuvar :
            • Rich Alderson
              ... The following call for participation came out on the Linguist mailing list (issue 13.1964) on Monday; the statement of motivation seems appropriate at this
              Message 6 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
              • 0 Attachment
                On Wednesday, July 24, 2002, Boris Shapiro wrote:

                > In my view an object is a linguistically important element in of a given text
                > stored in LDB which possesses the required linguistic description. But there
                > are different types of objects: two words could be two individual lexical
                > objects, but at the same time they could be a sole syntactical object! And a
                > sentence could itself be a clause, a part of a complex sentense, thus being a
                > syntactical object, too! And all these objects viewed on different levels
                > should possess different descriptions.

                The following call for participation came out on the Linguist mailing list
                (issue 13.1964) on Monday; the statement of motivation seems appropriate at
                this stage of the discussion of Kai MacTane's database:

                Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 13:54:46 +0300
                From: "Kiril Simov" <kivs@...>
                Subject: Treebanks and Linguistic Theories 2002 - Call for Participation

                Treebanks and Linguistic Theories 2002
                20th and 21st September 2002, Sozopol, Bulgaria
                http://www.BulTreeBank.org/TLT2002.html

                Call for Participation

                Workshop motivation and aims:

                Treebanks are a language resource that provides annotations of natural
                languages at various levels of structure: at the word level, the phrase
                level, the sentence level, and sometimes also at the level of function-
                argument structure. Treebanks have become crucially important for the
                development of data-driven approaches to natural language processing, human
                language technologies, grammar extraction and linguistic research in
                general. There are a number of on-going projects on compilation of
                representative treebanks for languages that still lack them (Spanish,
                Bulgarian, Portuguese,Turkish) and a number of on-going projects on
                compilation of treebanks for specific purposes for languages that already
                have them (English).

                The practices of building syntactically processed corpora have proved that
                aiming at more detailed description of the data becomes more and more
                theory-dependent (Prague Dependency Treebank and other dependency-based
                treebanks as the Italian treebank (TUT) or the Turkish treebank (METU);
                Verbmobil HPSG Treebanks, Polish HPSG Treebank, Bulgarian HPSG-based
                Treebank etc.). Therefore the development of treebanks and formal
                linguistic theories need to be more tightly connected in order to ensure
                the necessary information flow between them.
              • Beregond. Anders Stenström
                ... The general idea of having collocutions registered in the database seems sound. But as Rich Alderson s reply indicated, this could easily become too
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
                • 0 Attachment
                  Boris Shapiro wrote:

                  > two words could be two individual lexical objects, but at the
                  > same time they could be a sole syntactical object! And a sentence
                  > could itself be a clause, a part of a complex sentense, thus being a
                  > syntactical object, too! And all these objects viewed on different
                  > levels should possess different descriptions.

                  The general idea of having collocutions registered in the
                  database seems sound. But as Rich Alderson's reply indicated,
                  this could easily become too theory-dependent to look quite
                  good to me. It seems to me that the best idea would be to register
                  all 'contexts', from two-word constructions like _Minas Tirith_ up
                  to long texts like "Namárie" (with full references, or 'attestation
                  details' for each), and then link words to all contexts they occur in.
                  The syntactical analysis can be left to fora outside the database.

                  Meneg suilaid,

                  Beregond
                • Boris Shapiro
                  Aiya! In this letter I mostly address Kai because he is the author of QH and of the quoted analysis, but everyone is invited, especially to correct my errors
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Aiya!

                    In this letter I mostly address Kai because he is the author of QH and
                    of the quoted analysis, but everyone is invited, especially to correct
                    my errors and add new aspects to analysis.

                    First, let me make myself clear: the purpose of this analysis is to
                    use an example to collect all the linguistic description we need from
                    a piece of text to: 1) compare it to any available LDB's (like Kai's
                    "Quettahostanie") abilities to determine its applicability to our task;
                    2) to help to create an outline of the architecture of linguistic data
                    to be included in a hypothetical ELDA (Elvish Linguistic DAtabase), if
                    it is to be created.

                    For that purpose we don't need to involve in details of the current
                    phrase. What we need is an outline of what data do we need to store
                    describing a phrase.

                    Wednesday, July 24, 2002, 12:27:58 AM, Kai MacTane wrote:

                    >> Let's use "Elen siila luumenn' omentielvo". I confess I may be short
                    >> of knowledge to undertake an all-encompassing analysis of it.
                    >> Perhaps the venerable lambengolmor would give us a valuable lesson?
                    >>
                    KM> I'm only a would-be or wanna-be _lambengolmo_, but here's my analysis
                    KM> of the phrase.
                    ...
                    KM> [A]: Not necessary (or possible) in Quenya; no indefinite article
                    KM> exists in Quenya. Necessary in translation into English to conform
                    KM> with English grammar, which requires articles.

                    That is why any noun as a syntactic object in ELDA should have as one
                    of its descriptions the indication of its definite/indefinite status,
                    linked to the word it is defined by (not necessarily and article), and
                    Q _i_ (when used as the article) should be linked to the noun it
                    describes; the same applies to virtually any word that defines
                    another.

                    KM> _Elen_: "star", from the root EL-. This is related to _Elda_ and
                    KM> _ele/ela_ (see the Silmarillion appendix entry; the original first
                    KM> utterance of the Elves is given there as _ele_ but in Q&E as _ela_).

                    KM> [For a truly complete analysis, I'd add a note on the first appearance
                    KM> of _elen_ in the Quenya Corpus. I don't feel like looking it up now,
                    KM> since I get the impression that the style of this analysis is more
                    KM> important than the specifics for each word, for purposes of this
                    KM> discussion. I'll throw in similar notes about where there should be
                    KM> more complete references as this analysis continues.]

                    That's why any object (presently, a word-object) should not be stored
                    independently from its context (on which he obviously does depend),
                    and share a date-description with the text-object it is included in.
                    Thus one should be able to search for every case of the word "elen"
                    used with chronology and other contextual conditions for search.

                    Next, a lexical word-object should definitely have a vocabulary
                    description for referential purposes. That was outlined in your lines
                    three paragraphs above. Probably we'll need a dictionary module.

                    KM> The word is expressed in the nominative singular.

                    The case is a grammar category of a word with shows its syntactical
                    relations to other words in a phrase. That reveals a very important
                    element in the structure of description: the syntactical one. For
                    scholarly purposes it is not enough to indicate the case of a noun. It
                    should be presented in a syntactical context.

                    So first comes the sentence itself as a syntactical object. It has
                    certain characteristics to be described with. Like it is being a
                    declarative one, a simple one, etc.

                    Next come the members of the sentence. They too have their own
                    descriptions, like _elen_ being the subject of the phrase. It is its
                    role as the subject that places this noun in the nominative case.

                    A side note: this matter brings us one level deeper - to
                    morphological objects, like the zero ending in _Elen_ which shows
                    it being in the nominative. Such elements have their own
                    descriptions.

                    Next the members of the sentence are grouped in various syntagmas.
                    Each syntagma have its own description, like "elen siila" being an
                    external syntagma, and a predicative one. So depending on the syntagma
                    we are analyzing its members should be described as the definitive or
                    the defined element. The members of a syntagma can be related to each
                    other differently. For example, "siila luumenn[a]" has - well, I don't
                    know how it is called in English, in Russian it is "upravlenie", so in
                    English it could be "control" - a controlling relation. So syntagma
                    member-objects should be linked to their counterparts with which they
                    are related.

                    A member of a sentence usually comprises several syntagmas in which it
                    plays different parts. For example, "siila luumenn[a]" is an objective
                    syntagma, where the object "luumenn[a]" defines the verbal part which
                    is definable. While "luumenn[a] omentielvo" is an objective syntagma,
                    too, but here "luumenn[a]" is defined by "omentielvo". So members of
                    syntagmas define or are defined in several syntagmas, and only the
                    subject of a sentence comprises a single syntagma in which it is the
                    definitive. That's why it is called absolute definitive. Here "elen"
                    is not defined by anything.

                    And so on. I hope that gives you some idea of the nested structure we
                    need. Objects in objects in various hypostases with different
                    descriptions.

                    Kai, forgive me for skipping most of your own analysis, I've seen that
                    in some aspects I simply repeat your one, but I've tried to present it
                    in a more systematic and complex way.


                    Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]


                    : linde nar i oomar tolesse vanwa yaamala :

                    [In addition to all the _theoretical_ analytical information of the sort
                    that Boris outlines above, there should be a means of distinguishing
                    Tolkien's own statements about such matters from those that are non-
                    Tolkienian conjecture (however clever and/or well-informed). Carl]
                  • Boris Shapiro
                    Aiya! ... Vice-versa: the subject of a sentence is the member of a syntagma that does not define anything (in any of syntagmata it is include in) and therefore
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 25, 2002
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Aiya!

                      Oops, an error of mine:

                      > So members of syntagmas define or are defined in several syntagmas,
                      > and only the subject of a sentence comprises a single syntagma in
                      > which it is the definitive. That's why it is called absolute
                      > definitive. Here "elen" is not defined by anything.

                      Vice-versa: the subject of a sentence is the member of a syntagma that
                      does not define anything (in any of syntagmata it is include in) and
                      therefore it is called absolute defined (or -able, I'm short of
                      English terminology).

                      Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo

                      : linde nar i oomar tolesse vanwa yaamala :
                    • Fredrik
                      Are we talking about a lexical database, or an annotated corpus, or what? I m not sure that we need or want to encode the syntactical structure of sentences or
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 25, 2002
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Are we talking about a lexical database, or an annotated corpus, or what?
                        I'm not sure that we need or want to encode the syntactical structure of
                        sentences or clauses in a database, since they are not given things. In
                        many cases the structural analyses are precisely what we're after: Tolkien
                        did not provide them. There are bound to be disagreements on how to parse a
                        certain sentence; often, two or more analyses are equally possible. Whose
                        analysis should be in the database? I think that the best tool in this case
                        would be one that helps us find all the data we need, telling us exactly
                        where in the texts they are, and where any other (possible) occurrences of
                        the word/ morpheme are, so that we can go there and see for ourselves.

                        /Fredrik


                        [I just want to voice my strong agreement with what Fredrik has said
                        here. Simply recording the occurrence of every "foreign language"
                        element in Tolkien's writings will be an enormous undertaking. If
                        analysis is to be incorporated into such a compilation at all, it is
                        best left until after the compilation is complete. Having the compilation
                        alone, if fully and properly indexed to the corpus, will be enormously
                        useful. So long as the database is designed with extensibility and
                        expansion in mind, analytical information can always be added later. Carl]
                      • Boris Shapiro
                        Aiya! Thursday, July 25, 2002, 1:03:55 AM, Beregond. Anders Stenström wrote: BAS The general idea of having collocutions registered in the BAS database
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Aiya!

                          Thursday, July 25, 2002, 1:03:55 AM, "Beregond. Anders Stenström" wrote:

                          BAS> The general idea of having collocutions registered in the
                          BAS> database seems sound. But as Rich Alderson's reply indicated,
                          BAS> this could easily become too theory-dependent to look quite good
                          BAS> to me.
                          But the problem of theory dependence seem to me a problem for
                          real-world language treebanks only - when there are multiple treebanks
                          that need to cooperate but are having problems with that because of
                          different linguistic theories used in their architecture.

                          Do you think ELDA would need to be connected with other LDBs?

                          BAS> It seems to me that the best idea would be to register all
                          BAS> 'contexts', from two-word constructions like _Minas Tirith_ up to
                          BAS> long texts like "Namárie" (with full references, or 'attestation
                          BAS> details' for each), and then link words to all contexts they
                          BAS> occur in. The syntactical analysis can be left to fora outside
                          BAS> the database.

                          For me that seems to be a regrettable way of development. That
                          abolishes every use (every extended search query) that I've imagined.
                          What is left then? Just basic number/gender/case descriptions? Is this
                          price good enough, and for what?

                          Thursday, July 25, 2002, 2:11:22 PM, Fredrik wrote:

                          F> I'm not sure that we need or want to encode the syntactical
                          F> structure of sentences or clauses in a database, since they are not
                          F> given things. In many cases the structural analyses are precisely
                          F> what we're after: Tolkien did not provide them. There are bound to
                          F> be disagreements on how to parse a certain sentence; often, two or
                          F> more analyses are equally possible. Whose analysis should be in the
                          F> database?

                          Carl wrote:

                          C> [I just want to voice my strong agreement with what Fredrik has
                          C> said here. Simply recording the occurrence of every "foreign
                          C> language" element in Tolkien's writings will be an enormous
                          C> undertaking. If analysis is to be incorporated into such a
                          C> compilation at all, it is best left until after the compilation is
                          C> complete. Having the compilation alone, if fully and properly
                          C> indexed to the corpus, will be enormously useful. So long as the
                          C> database is designed with extensibility and expansion in mind,
                          C> analytical information can always be added later. Carl]

                          There is one vital aspect of planning the database. As far as I know,
                          the only way to create an optimized database is to thoroughly design
                          its architecture from the very beginning, otherwise adding more and
                          more elements to it will greatly decrease its performance in speed and
                          size. I'm afraid trying to extend an indexed corpus database to a
                          full-scale LDB would be a failure.

                          The problem of work load could be solved by sharing the tasks,
                          provided that there is a unitary analysis scheme. Such a scheme is
                          to be implemented in the programme/interface itself: imagine a
                          template with given description variants. For example, a user enters
                          "Elen siila luumenn' omentielvo" and starts the analysis "wizard". On
                          the lexical analysis step, describing each word he would have to
                          choose between predefined fields, like noun/verb/adjective/adverb etc,
                          sg/pl, m/fem, nom/acc/gen/poss/dat/loc/abl/all/inst/resp, and so on.
                          Provided a comprehensive universal and unitary scheme entering the
                          analysis results would be greatly eased.

                          Namaarie! S.Y., Elenhil Laiquendo [Boris Shapiro]

                          : avartuvan i tauri ni ontar : an luumenya tyeela ar loanyar sintar :
                        • Kai MacTane
                          ... Sorry I ve taken so long. Do you have email but not Web access? Or do you not have a graphical browser? ... Elements are things like parma or -uva- or
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
                          • 0 Attachment
                            At 7/24/02 10:49 AM , Boris Shapiro wrote:

                            >First, I have to say that I didn't have the possibility of seeing QH
                            >by myself, so I'll rely on your answers and patience :)

                            Sorry I've taken so long. Do you have email but not Web access? Or do you
                            not have a graphical browser?

                            >Does it make sense? But the question should be what do you regard as
                            >an individual element and are they stored absolutely independently of
                            >their context?

                            Elements are things like "parma" or "-uva-" or "-llo". OTOH, "A ná X lá B"
                            is also listed as one single element. They're generally stored
                            context-independent, though the attestations field lists all places where
                            the element is attested in use, so that people can look up the various
                            contexts in which Tolkien used it.

                            >I suppose I lack proper vocabulary and knowledge in programming, but
                            >in my view the desired LDB [linguistic database] (or should we call it
                            >_ELDA_ for "Elvish Linguistic DAtabase"? :) should be object-oriented,
                            >and have a nested structure so that there are multiple levels of
                            >objects like a nested doll. In my view an object is a linguistically
                            >important element in of a given text stored in LDB which possesses the
                            >required linguistic description. But there are different types of
                            >objects: two words could be two individual lexical objects, but at the
                            >same time they could be a sole syntactical object! And a sentence
                            >could itself be a clause, a part of a complex sentense, thus being a
                            >syntactical object, too! And all these objects viewed on different
                            >levels should possess different descriptions.
                            >
                            >I'd like to know how does your QH deal with such information

                            It doesn't. It stores things pretty much only at the morphological level,
                            and leaves it to humans to do higher-level stuff.

                            The sort of multi-level analysis you suggest, and which also seems to be
                            suggested by Rich Alderson's mention of treebanks, might be valuable and
                            useful, but it is certainly beyond the level of something I could write.

                            --Kai MacTane
                            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            "But every night I burn,/Every night I call your name.
                            Every night I burn,/Every night I fall again..."
                            --The Cure,
                            "Burn"
                          • Kai MacTane
                            ... I suppose we could add a category somewhere for phrases . I agree that sytactic analysis should be left to the humans, not machines -- I m honestly not
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
                            • 0 Attachment
                              At 7/24/02 02:03 PM , Beregond. Anders Stenström wrote:

                              > The general idea of having collocutions registered in the
                              >database seems sound. But as Rich Alderson's reply indicated,
                              >this could easily become too theory-dependent to look quite
                              >good to me. It seems to me that the best idea would be to register
                              >all 'contexts', from two-word constructions like _Minas Tirith_ up
                              >to long texts like "Namárie" (with full references, or 'attestation
                              >details' for each), and then link words to all contexts they occur in.
                              >The syntactical analysis can be left to fora outside the database.

                              I suppose we could add a category somewhere for "phrases". I agree that
                              sytactic analysis should be left to the humans, not machines -- I'm
                              honestly not sure they can handle it at all yet; I know I personally can't
                              make them do it. (Consider the current state of Babelfish, which has had
                              years of research and the efforts of a large number of people poured into
                              it. It can give you the general idea of what something means, but it's
                              painfully obvious that it's not about to put professional translators out
                              of business any time soon, *especially* regarding poetic and artistic works.)

                              --Kai MacTane
                              ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                              "Deadly angels for reality and passion..."
                              --Shriekback,
                              "Gunning for the
                              Buddha"
                            • Kai MacTane
                              ... Interesting point. Though I think this means that nearly any noun in ELDA would be entered at least twice: once in definite form, and then again in
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
                              • 0 Attachment
                                At 7/24/02 09:59 PM , Boris Shapiro wrote:

                                >KM> [A]: Not necessary (or possible) in Quenya; no indefinite article
                                >KM> exists in Quenya. Necessary in translation into English to conform
                                >KM> with English grammar, which requires articles.
                                >
                                >That is why any noun as a syntactic object in ELDA should have as one
                                >of its descriptions the indication of its definite/indefinite status,
                                >linked to the word it is defined by (not necessarily and article), and
                                >Q _i_ (when used as the article) should be linked to the noun it
                                >describes; the same applies to virtually any word that defines
                                >another.

                                Interesting point. Though I think this means that nearly any noun in ELDA
                                would be entered at least twice: once in definite form, and then again in
                                indefinite form. (After all, most nouns can be used both definitely and
                                indefinitely.)

                                >That's why any object (presently, a word-object) should not be stored
                                >independently from its context (on which he obviously does depend),
                                >and share a date-description with the text-object it is included in.
                                >Thus one should be able to search for every case of the word "elen"
                                >used with chronology and other contextual conditions for search.

                                Ouch! While I agree that a context-dependent database would be an
                                interesting and probably very useful thing, I must admit I'm a bit confused
                                about how one would use it. Would searches be things like: "_elen_, where
                                used as subject (not object) and only where indefinite", and so on? (I can
                                sort of see how that search should at least return "_elen síla lumenn'
                                omentielvo_", while not returning "_Aiya Earendil elenion ancalima_".)

                                At the moment, QH's means of dealing with context is simply to provide
                                references to all attested uses of the element in the "Attestations" field.

                                >Next, a lexical word-object should definitely have a vocabulary
                                >description for referential purposes. That was outlined in your lines
                                >three paragraphs above. Probably we'll need a dictionary module.

                                Which, to figure out homonyms, will need to be able to carry out some
                                actual syntactic analysis. (Which you do explicitly call for elsewhere in
                                your post.) Unfortunately, I'm afraid I don't know how to get software to
                                do that, and I'm especially wary of the concept of getting software to be
                                able to carry out accurate syntactic analysis on poetic material.

                                >And so on. I hope that gives you some idea of the nested structure we
                                >need. Objects in objects in various hypostases with different
                                >descriptions.

                                It does give me some idea of it, yes. I think that what you propose is an
                                impressive and worthwhile project, but it is one which is utterly beyond my
                                abilities. I'm sorry.

                                >Kai, forgive me for skipping most of your own analysis, I've seen that
                                >in some aspects I simply repeat your one, but I've tried to present it
                                >in a more systematic and complex way.

                                No problem there; it was, after all, just an example analysis. I think it
                                served its purpose, and you did right to skip large chunks of it.

                                --Kai MacTane
                                ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                "Then, when they spill the demon seed
                                Turn and face into the wind.
                                All along you still believed...
                                Believed you were immune."
                                --Thomas Dolby,
                                "The Flat Earth"
                              • Kai MacTane
                                ... What sorts of search queries do you envision? Can you give me some examples? --Kai MacTane ... In another life I see you/As an angel flying high, And the
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  At 7/26/02 01:09 AM , Boris Shapiro wrote:

                                  >For me that seems to be a regrettable way of development. That
                                  >abolishes every use (every extended search query) that I've imagined.
                                  >What is left then? Just basic number/gender/case descriptions? Is this
                                  >price good enough, and for what?

                                  What sorts of search queries do you envision? Can you give me some examples?

                                  --Kai MacTane
                                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  "In another life I see you/As an angel flying high,
                                  And the hands of time will free you/You will cast your chains aside,
                                  And the dawn will come and kiss away
                                  Every tear that's ever fallen from your eyes...
                                  --Concrete Blonde,
                                  "Caroline"
                                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.