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Séance du 11/01/2022

Le prochain séminaire “Science ouverte : enjeux et méthodes” se tiendra à distance le mardi 11 janvier 2022 depuis le campus CNRS de Villejuif.

Thème : Penser les sciences ouvertes dans les Suds (1/2) : La transition numérique des SHS françaises sur le Moyen-Orient

Intervenante : Mercedes Volait (CNRS-InVisu)

En appelant à promouvoir des données FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable), la Science ouverte introduit de nouveaux défis pour la transition numérique au Moyen-Orient, où les systèmes existants restent globalement prisonniers de logiciels propriétaires et peinent à assurer la durabilité de leur offre numérique. Les défis ne sont pas moins grands pour l’ESR français ainsi qu’un récent Livre blanc* l’a montré. L’intervention se propose de revenir sur ces difficultés et de présenter quelques initiatives visant à les surmonter.


*Mercedes Volait, Lucas Noëmie. 2020. VERS LA SCIENCE OUVERTE ? La transition numérique et la recherche sur le Moyen-Orient et les mondes musulmans en France : Etat des lieux et perspectives. GIS Moyen-Orient et mondes musulmans


Lien Zoom communiqué sur demande aux organisateurs.

Release of Persephone (/pərˈsɛfəni/), an open-source automatic phoneme transcription tool

This is a follow-up on a previous post about experiments using automatic transcription for Yongning Na. It’s been an eventful and exciting time!

Oliver Adams has now released his automatic phoneme transcription tool. It’s all open-source code. Here is the address:

The transcription tool is named Persephone (/pərˈsɛfəni/), after the goddess who was abducted by Hades and must spend one half of each year in the Underworld. Which of linguistics or computer science is Hell, and which the joyful world of Spring and light? For each it’s the other, of course. The name Persephone is intended as a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the sense of estrangement and uncanniness that one can occasionally feel in interdisciplinary collaboration. Interdisciplinary work has difficulties and rewards of its own – like fieldwork, in a way, but to some fieldworkers the difficulties can be perceived as the last straw, coming on top of a heavy work load. It is clear that linguists engaged in language documentation cannot spend half their lives learning about language processing, any more than computer scientists would want to spend half their lives reading books of linguistics. But linguists can be convinced to spend… maybe one fifth of their time playing with software and understanding how state-of-the-art tools work. “Digital Humanities drive the scholarly tradition towards a more uniform approach or an approach where the divide between two cultures – humanities on the one side, and computing on the other – is no longer constructive”, as a report of the Research Data Alliance puts it.

There is a presentation and user guide written by Oliver on the project homepage on GitHub. A paper (LREC 2018) is available here.

Alexis Michaud

I'm a linguist specialized in phonetics, focusing on un(der-)documented languages.

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8 months to completion: quick progress note

This is a {quick [progress note]}
(i.e. a quick note about the project’s progress)
rather than a {[quick progress] note}
(i.e. a note reporting quick progress in the project)! 🙂

Dictionaries are big pieces, which raise many (most?) issues that linguists can confront when tagging and encoding data.

The dictionaries are currently here:

To come in the next 8 months: an Android interface for the dictionaries; improvements in parallel texts; and stable embedding of the dictionaries in the interface of the Pangloss Collection. Plans for later include full lemmatization of texts; phoneme-level alignment of transcriptions of the Na texts; and ‘crowdsourcing’ for the improvement of the dictionaries and collections of texts: allowing easy deposit of new resources and offering tools for a widened range of contributors (including the communities of speakers) to enrich the annotation through added translations, comments, and feedback generally.

The project’s funding was entirely consumed by the end of last year (2015), as originally planned. The ANR agreed to allow us to extend the project’s duration for 1 year, i.e. until December 2016 (without extra funding). The work now continues thanks to other sources of funding: the “Empirical Foundations of Linguistics” project (funded by ANR-CGI from 2011 to 2019); financial help from the participants’ home laboratories; and when necessary, our own money (e.g. for my next field trip to Yongning, in May 2016, which will help finalize a book-length study of the tone system of Yongning Na).

Alexis Michaud

I'm a linguist specialized in phonetics, focusing on un(der-)documented languages.

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Au revoir to Céline Buret — with all our thanks!

Céline Buret brilliantly completed her two-year contract with CNRS as the main engineer in the HimalCo project. This post is to say a BIG Thank You and wish her all the best in the next steps in her career!

The Python library that Céline developed to implement the LMF ISO standard for dictionaries is now available online. For an example of what the XML code looks like, check out the Na dictionary in LMF format (machine-readable). This file is available for download from the same page as the (human-readable) PDF version. This deposit also provides the full database in its original format: as a TEXT file that can be opened with the Toolbox software (SIL MDF format).

Further development of the tools is being taken up by her colleagues Séverine Guillaume (permanent member at CNRS) and Rémy Bonnet (on a contract funded by LabEx “Empirical Foundations of Linguistics”).

Merci Céline !!!

Alexis Michaud

I'm a linguist specialized in phonetics, focusing on un(der-)documented languages.

More Posts - Website

Third Workshop on Sino-Tibetan Languages of Sichuan: a brief report

Last month our team organised the third edition of the Workshop on Sino-Tibetan Languages of Sichuan, which followed a first workshop in Taipei organised by Jackson T.-S. Sun, and a second one in Beijing in 2010. The conference was hosted at the EHESS.

Alexis Michaud set up a lively website for the workshop. A Book of abstracts is available.

Nearly all fields of linguistics were represented during this conference, and the proportion of papers on phonology and phonetics vs. morphosyntax was relatively well balanced.

It may be unappropriate for me, as one of the co-organizers, to praise the success of our workshop. Yet, I think that it was noteworthy in at least one respect. The advantage of small-scale workshops like this one is that people working on closely related research topics can get together and interact with each other in a better way than in huge conferences. In this workshop, we established a record for the number of presentations on Naish (four) and Rgyalrongic (eight). The presentations on these languages also happened, for some of them at least, to be on related topics: all papers on Naish were about tonology, in particular. This allowed detailed and productive discussions both during the question sessions and during breaks, and it was quite a rewarding experience — at least for me.

Among the participants at the conference were three native speakers of the languages under investigation: Wang Shuangcheng (speaker of Amdo Tibetan and dialectologist himself), Skalbzang Phuntshogs (whose name is sinicized as Geiru Pincuo, a speaker of Northern Pumi collaborating with Henriette Daudey on language documentation) and bLobzang Nyima (a speaker of Rtau [rəsɲəske] who lives in Paris and collaborates with our team). Their presence was in my opinion an essential element of the success of this workshop: during discussions, it allowed for immediate reverification of data cited by participants. It is already a tradition, since 2008, for the Sichuan Workshop to include native speaker participants, and I hope that this tradition will continue in further instalments of this conference.

Zev Handel has expressed his interest to organize the next workshop in Seattle, and I look forward to it already.

Welcoming a computing engineer to the HimalCo team: Céline Buret

Technical aspects are central in the HimalCo project. This project allows us to hire a computing engineer for a duration of 2 years. The selection procedure took place from June to early September. We were impressed by the quality of the applications that we received. In spite of the modest financial conditions offered, there were a number of outstanding candidates, each with their own strong points, and all highly motivated.
The project team is proud to announce that Ms. Céline Buret, a highly experimented IT person, will join us on November 18th, for an initial period of 2 years.

December 2013 update: the work on dictionary formats is in full swing already. The HimalCo blog has gone quiet as our attention focused on starting up a GitHub repository which, among many useful functions, helps us keep track of scripts as they are gradually improved before a public release. We plan to make some scripts available in the Spring of 2014.

Alexis Michaud

I'm a linguist specialized in phonetics, focusing on un(der-)documented languages.

More Posts - Website