Archive for the ‘Language technology’ Category

The written word

September 1, 2013

A Chuck and Beans webcomic from the 16th:

Texting is, of course, the written word. But then there are emoticons.

Means of communication

August 23, 2013

An xkcd on a theme that comes up in other strips (especially Zits):

When all else fails, send a pigeon.

(Hat tip to Fatemah Abdollahi.)

Define “open source”

August 11, 2013

Today’s Dilbert takes up the definition of technical terms:

Wikipedia on “open source” will give you some sense of the problem.

Schnoebelen at idibon

June 14, 2013

My friend (and former student) Tyler Schnoebelen now blogs regularly on the site of the company he works for, idibon (in San Francisco), where he’s Senior Data Scientist. These postings look at matters with a NLP (natural language processing) angle to them, but always with an engaging take on the material and often with an unexpected choice of topic. Four recent postings of this sort:


Autocorrect rules

May 6, 2013

Today’s Rhymes With Orange:

Here’s a particularly silly version of autocorrect — or possibly automatic completion software —  one that replaces frequent words (party, jacket) by infrequent ones (partake, jackal), indeed infrequent words that don’t fit the context (partake is a verb, while the context calls for a noun; and suit jacket is a common collocation, while suit jackal is absurd).


The 12-inch pianist

May 2, 2013

Today’s Scenes From a Multiverse:

Size doesn’t matter. Or: Size matters. In any case, an allusion to an old joke.


The wave of the future

April 4, 2013

Posted by Arne Adolfsen in Facebook, this Our New Age comic strip of 12/5/65:

Time-compressed speech is indeed in use. From Wikipedia:

Time-compressed speech is a technique used, often in advertising, to make recorded speech contain more words in a given time, yet still be understandable.


Amazing app

July 29, 2012

From Ann Burlingham on Facebook, a link to this xkcd:

Definitely a cool app, one I’d have a lot of use for. Especially since it has roughly the same effect as reading minds.

The mouseover text:

If you read all vaguebooking/vaguetweeting with the assumption that they’re saying everything they can without revealing classified military information, the internet gets way more exciting.


learning analytics

May 4, 2012

In my Palo Alto neighborhood, tech companies spring up (and, often, disappear) frequently. Not too long ago, Junyo appeared around the corner from my house, and now the sign on the door has been expanded to

Junyo Learning Analytics

Ah, learning analytics is a technical term, one that I hadn’t encountered before. It’s a N + N compound glossable as ‘analytics having to do with learning’. So that drives things back to analytics.



November 13, 2011

Back on the 8th, Charlie Doyle posted plaintively to ADS-L about a puzzle in alphabetization:

Yesterday my daughter-in-law called me with a question about my third-grader grandson’s homework. The assignment was to alphabetize a list of words, and the list included the four items girl/girl’s/girls/girls’. (My daughter-in-law made clear than both the academic career of my grandson and the family’s standing in the community were at stake, since the parents of the other third-graders were also depending on my answer.)

I failed. I could tell her that there exist various styles of alphabetizing, that certain traditional “rules” obtain, one of which is “Ignore apostrophes” — but the rules I am aware of don’t fully address the case at hand. I could tell her that if the Microsoft Corporation is asked to “sort” the words alphabetically, they will appear in the order in which I have listed them above, which seems reasonable — but not, as far as I can determine, “authoritative.”

Any suggestions?  (I don’t recall that third grade used to be this hard!)

Two issues here: one, why is the question being asked? and two, what’s the answer?