A workshop affiliated with ACL-2002
University of Pennsylvania, Thursday 11 July, 2002
Semitic languages are used by a significantly large population of native speakers and belong to a family that includes a large number of Arabic dialects (including classical Arabic), Maltese,Hebrew and other languages. These languages are characterised by a system of word formation based on tri-consonantal roots, a rich and productive morphology, a diversity of orthographic conventions and, unfortunately, a dearth of language resources suitable for computational research and development. Although there exists a body of CL research specifically targeted to individual Semitic languages, and there have been various workshops devoted to computing with Semitic Languages, much of the work to date remains the result of initiatives undertaken by individual researchers or research establishments. A direct consequence is that there is comparatively little awareness amongst practitioners of either the state of the art as practiced outside their own locality, the common challenges faced by all practitioners, or the potential for developing a coordinated approach.
This workshop is a sequel to the workshop on Computational Approaches to Semitic Languages that was held at COLING-ACL98 in Montreal. Since that time, there have been various other workshops, but these have mostly tended to concentrate almost exclusively upon one group of Semitic languages. The present workshop aims as far as possible to highlight ‘parasemitic’ issues - issues that are universal as far as all Semitic languages are concerned. The programme reflects these aims, and will conclude with a panel discussion that will focus on the following issues: