Automatic messages with names in inflected languages

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Erick404, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. Erick404 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Portuguese - Brazil
    How are generated automatic messages (in computers, websites, etc.) with proper names in languages with noun declension, when declinating is necessary? I'm only used to reading in English and Portuguese, so the closest to a declension I've seen is a possessive 's after a name. But this is morphologically simple; I wonder how it works on more complex declension systems like Russian.

    Do messages simply leave the name in its base/nominative form, or use some language processing techniques to produce a correct declension? Or are there other workarounds, like exploiting prepositions?
  2. LilianaB Banned

    US New York
    Hi. What do you mean by automatic messages? What kind of words? In inflectional languages everything has to stay inflected, except perhaps some emergency words. It is important which words you have in mind. There might be some that don't get inflected, from time to time. :D
  3. Erick404 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Portuguese - Brazil
    I mean messages like Facebook updates: "John Smith likes Ann's picture."
    In English there is just a 's after Ann, but in other languages it may not be so simple (and I'm not just talking about genitives, but datives, locatives, and anything else).
  4. e2-e4 X Senior Member

    Russian: "Джон Смит выбрал фотографии следующих пользователей: Анна" (I do not know what the word 'like' exactly means here, so I translated it as "has selected" for the sake of example).
    "John Smith liked the pictures of the following users: Ann".

    Weird, I know. But what can we do if even humans cannot always know how to decline names and surnames in cases? Here the sentence is written in a way that requires the use of the nominative case.
  5. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    I have a GPS that can be set on different languages. I could not tolerate Russian for 5 min. In Russian the words with numerals are declined depending on the numeral, so the word "mile" in 1 mile vs. 2, 3, 4 miles vs. 5+ miles would sound different. The GPS does not do that and it sounds awful.

    Otherwise it sounds a bit strange but OK, like in e2-e4's example.

    I just looked up I-phone's SIRI and it seems like there are no plans to launch it in Russian in the next few years, but given its complexity, it would be interesting to see how it works when they launch it.
  6. Erick404 Senior Member

    Rio de Janeiro
    Portuguese - Brazil
    Interesting. So they use paraphrases in Russian to avoid declining.

    And the GPS just doesn't give special treatment, sadly. I do research in the field of language processing, and I would also be curious to see siri in a language like Russian.
  7. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish declensions alter according to the last vowel of the word and whether or not the word ends in a vowel or consonant, and if it ends in a consonant you also take into account the consonant harmony. And then if the original word is a genitive complex, the declensions slightly alter and so on. So for computers it's hard to do all that.
    So in Turkish most automatic messages are paraphrased just like in Russian, to avoid using declensions altogether.

    But Facebook seems to be more advanced. It uses the simple declensions quite well.

    The company Musicals, Convicts'te bir şey paylaştı. (The company musicals shared something on Convicts)
    The red part is locative case, and it's obtained when -de undergoes a consonant harmony, which was needed here.

    However I also see:
    ... Maden Mühendisliği Paylaşım Grubu'da bir şey paylaştı.
    The word Grubu is part of a genitive complex, and thus the locative suffix here is the wrong one.

    So it's not perfect. But there are much worse websites, such as the Turkish version of livemocha -- a language learning website. It is absolutely incomprehensible.

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