Session 106: Ystafell 12
A roundtable discussion to promote a strategic vision for Celtic language technologies

Chair: Delyth Prys

Contributors: Teresa Lynn; Caoimhín O Donnaile; Kevin Scannell; Colin Batchelor; ac eraill/and others

Natural Language  Processing (NLP) tools and resources have been developed for numerous languages and this work has produced many Language (processing) Technologies (LT) and applications. Until recently, the Celtic languages lagged behind in this area.  Consequently, language  technology research and resource provision for this language group was poor.   In recent years, as the resource provision for minority and under-resourced languages has been improving it has been extended and applied to some Celtic languages.  This is evident, for example, in the conference proceedings of SALTMIL (Speech and Language Technology for Minority Languages) LRL (Language Technology for Lesser-Resourced Languages) Workshops, LREC (Language Resource Evaluation Conference), SPMRL (Statistical Parsing of Morphologically Rich Languages) and TALaRE (Traitement Automatique des Langues Régionales de France et d'Europe, organized jointly with TALN 2015).

 Topics of interest for the Celtic LT researchers include but are not limited to:  -Language Resources, - Syntax, Semantics, Grammar, Lexicons -, Phonology/ Morphology Tagging, - Morphological Analysis, - Part-of-speech Taggers -, Computer -Assisted Language Learning (CALL) -, Translation Technologies - Machine Translation, - Parsing/ Chunking, - Ontologies, Terminology and Knowledge Representation, - Speech Processing/ Generation, - Digital Humanities, - Corpus Development/ Analysis, - Treebanking, - Evaluation Methods, - Ontologylexica, - Metadata, - (Linguistic) Linked Data Resources, - Semantic Annotation, - Information Extraction

 All Celtic languages exhibit common linguistic features (e.g. VSO word order, initial mutations and relatively rich morphology) that present unique challenges for the development of robust NLP tools. Gathering researchers from all of the Celtic languages and sharing best practices in overcoming these difficulties has therefore been a key objective of our emergent Celtic LT community.  In order to further communication and cooperation, an informal e-mail discussion list for researchers was established in 2014. This has proved to be a useful, low-cost and sustainable means to keep in contact and develop our understanding of the field. To date this group has organized two Celtic LT colloquia allied to major international conferences (COLING 2014 and TALN 2016) with a third currently being planned.

The time is now ripe to take stock of our current position, and to debate ways of strengthening and progressing our discipline. The purpose of this roundtable discussion is therefore to exchange knowledge and to debate the future direction of our common research efforts, aiming to outline a cohesive strategy for future collaboration and cooperation. Panel-members will be asked to provide concise statements on the current state of play in their particular LT interest and Celtic language(s), together with two or three key pointers towards our future research direction. The session will then be opened for a general debate and questions from the floor, before final comments by the panel members and chair.  A rapporteur will be appointed to record the main debating points and conclusions, with a view to producing a short document on the strategic future of Celtic LT research.