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Re: Linguistic Database?

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  • 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 1 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
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      [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 2 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
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        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 3 of 16 , Jul 23, 2002
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          >[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 4 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
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            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 5 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
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              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 6 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
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                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 7 of 16 , Jul 24, 2002
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                  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 8 of 16 , Jul 25, 2002
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                    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 9 of 16 , Jul 25, 2002
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                      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 10 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
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                        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 11 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
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                          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 12 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
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                            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 13 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
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                              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 14 of 16 , Jul 26, 2002
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                                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"
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