kuarepoti-dju - the josef multilingual blogosphere


Semantically enriched language learning

Categories: — josef @ 17:32

Here am I, sitting in my room trying to learn Turkish, as my policy is to always learn the language of a country that is to be conquered by me. Depending on the time I have available before the travel, this turns out to be a good strategy sometimes (I write mails in Portuñol on a regular basis) and is rather unsuccessful at other times (my Dutch turned out to be insufficient for even basic communication recently). The material I have for this new task now is a somewhat suitable travel language guide that I bought for a bit less than four euros a while back, and several websites. Thanks to lykien.com for their GFDL’d course btw.

However, I’m not happy with the resources available. While a guided course is nice, I often need to know (especially when translating texts) what stem word a certain word is derived from. Even more so for the agglutinating languages like Turkish. Even the more expensive language guides are often no help in this regard. I start to think that geeks simply learn languages differently. The tools should not get in their way of learning with different speeds or into different directions.

The image above shows some very basic semantic relations between some Turkish words and their German translations. This image is incomplete; with the five words alone, dozens of derivatives and related words as well as phrases could be linked. Furthermore, the exact rules used for forming such words could be linked as well. Is it the small vowel harmony that is being used here? What is the stem word and the tempus? Is it an irregular case? (Fortunately, this latter question would be rare with Turkish texts.)

My wish is to see such learning support tools implemented for the desktop. Vocabulary trainers already exist in KDE-Edu for example, but they’re very basic. With the advent of semantic format support in kdelibs, it should be feasible to create even advanced tools such as phrase decompositions and explanations based on a set of words and some rules attached to them.
Users could easily add all of the content, maybe even using the Semantic MediaWiki software which wouldn’t even require them to adopt to new methods of authoring.

Now, back to conventional-style learning :/


Linux-Info-Tag Dresden 2007 CfP-Deadline

Categories: — josef @ 07:03

Es sind nunmehr nur noch fünf Tage Zeit, um einen Vortrag, Workshop oder Projektstand für den 5. Linux-Info-Tag Dresden 2007 anzumelden. Desweiteren wird (zeitlich und örtlich) lokal Arbeitssuchenden die Möglichkeit gegeben, sich auf dem LIT als ehrenamtliche Helfer zu betätigen. Die Veranstaltung steht explizit nicht unter der Schirmherrschaft des Bundesterrorministers, der Eintritt ist frei und anonym möglich, und es wird jede Menge geekige Themen zu sehen und zu hören geben.

5. Linux-Info-Tag Dresden 2007


Triple Play comes to your desktop

Categories: — josef @ 22:57

Apparently, Andrea’s talks on Ruby game development are well-received. She’s going to present more cool talks at Ruby East at the end of the month and at RubyConf at the beginning of November.

Given that the talks are going to feature multiplayer tech development, I feel obligated to gear up a bit and provide full Ruby bindings for GGZ client and server development.
While the RubyToe server has already been featured in the previous talk, I came up with a proof-of-concept client for it using just Qt4 in addition to the new bindings. As outlined in an article on auto-generated network protocols, the amount of coding necessary can be reduced drastically when all of this comes together.
According to our QtRuby mæstro Richard Dale, there was a small skew in the Qt4 bindings which has since been fixed in SVN. The implication is that only QtGui is used right now while for the networking part the standard Ruby socket extension comes into play. A big issue with this class is that once it is set up on a file descriptor, the ioctl(…, FIONREAD, …) to check the number of incoming bytes doesn’t work anymore. Thankfully, it was possible to work around this in a rather elegant way.

The ggz-ruby playground contains all the sources, including the low-level (wrapped) GGZMod and the slightly higher-level (and pure ruby) RGGZMod classes.
To learn about the next steps and see some cool screenshots, attend the conferences listed above. Granted, there are still some weeks down the road… what about joining the effort to make it a pleasant wait? :)

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