Newsletter #6 – January 2022
Dear reader,

Welcome to our second ELT newsletter in January 2022, bringing you the latest from European Language Technology and the ELE and ELG projects. While the new year is still young, both the LT industry and our project consortia are already buzzing with activity: From the latest plans for the European Language Grid via a new AI toolkit for European media to the computation of the Digital Language Equality metric – the 6th edition our newsletter is once again bursting with news.

If you’re curious to know how and why the European Language Grid has more than doubled in size and now comprises over 11,000 resources, jump to the ELG section below – or directly to the ELG catalogue, where users can now browse and access a huge number of new language technologies, corpora and other LT resources.

In terms of events, we are looking forward to the online forum “Innovation, Technologies and Plurilingualism” hosted by the French Ministry of Culture from 7 to 9 February as part of the French Presidency of the EU Council. The forum focuses on the opportunities and challenges that the digital transformation offers for plurilingualism. We're happy that we've been invited to organise a workshop on the European Language Grid, which will take place on 8 February. Results of the ELE project will also be presented in the form of the Report on the French language. In the event section below, you can find more details on the programme and registration.

If you only have the time to read one article, we recommend the profile of our ELE partner ECSPM (European Civil Society Platform for Multilingualism) in the final section: “LT can and does help the sustenance of natural languages whose future is at risk without digital support”, its President Bessie Dendrinos states about ECSPM’s involvement in ELE. 

We hope you enjoy our newsletter. Have a great week!

With best regards

Georg Rehm
Language Technology and NLP in the news
Social media highlights
  • Twitter discusses the problem of English dominance in programming languages – with curious examples of having to code in English without speaking it.
  • Language-centric AI is taking over: Now, even memes are made with the help of large language models.
  • The UK experiences a weather phenomenon that seems typically British, but whose pragmatic name would make you think it’s German.
  • The University of Helsinki lists ten reasons why the city is a great place to work in – humour seems to be one of them.
General news

On 11 January, the ELG consortium met for the first plenary call of the year, discussing the latest developments in the project such as the improvement of the Python SDK, further imports of resources (see below), the current state of the ELG pilot projects and the upcoming deliverables: In January, the ELG project hands in three project reports on data sets, resources, services and other aspects of the European Language Grid.

The ELG platform itself has just seen a big leap in terms of resources: Benefiting from the research done in the sister project ELE, the available resources in the European Language Grid now count more than 11,000! Back in 2021, a total of more than 6,000 new language technologies, corpora and other data have been collected by our national and regional Language Technology experts and informants in ELE. After various curation and processing steps performed by ELE project partner ILSP (R.C. "Athena"), we have finally been able to import this rich set of aditional resources into the ELG platform, increasing the metadata catalogue by more than 50 percent. We're happy about this effective cooperation between the two projects and will soon publish more details about the newly imported resources. Have a look at the catalogue and sort by date to see what’s new!
Meanwhile, our colleagues of the EU-funded EMBEDDIA project have an announcement to make: The project works on making monolingual resources in the EU available across languages via cross-lingual embeddings coupled with deep neural networks. Now, the team was able to release the EMBEDDIA Media Assistant (EMA), a collection of AI tools for the media sector and text-based industry. You can learn all about it here!
New ELG blog articles
Europe consists of more than 40 different countries and even more cultures. Everyone brings something unique to the table, languages being one of the more obvious aspects. Although it is possible to encounter five different languages within a fifteen minute train ride, this diversity is less represented when it comes to the digital world and especially language technology. How does the European Language Grid help to change this? Find out by revisiting this blog article from last October.
Selected new tools and resources on the
European Language Grid
SrpMD4Tagging: Serbian Morphological Dictionaries for Tagging – SrpMD4Tagging – Serbian Morphological Dictionaries for Tagging derived from Serbian Morphological Dictionaries (Krstev & Vitas) as a lookup dictionary for assigning lemma for a given inflected form and POS tag. Two files for two POS tagsets are available: Universal Dependencies and traditional Serbian POS tagset. They are directly downloadable from the ELG webpage. The dictionary was published on 9 December 2021 and added to the ELG catalogue on 3 January 2022 by Cvetana Krstev from the University of Belgrade.
General news

How do you compute digital language equality? Measuring an abstract concept is a difficult task, but to achieve Digital Language Equality, it is important to be able to compare the level of technology support for our different languages in the digital world. For this, the ELE consortium is currently developing a metric that provides a numerical value that indicates where the respective language is situated with regard to digital language equality. Together with the underlying empirical evidence (the 11,000+ language resources and technologies available in the ELG platform), this DLE metric will be a crucial component with regard to the further development of the agenda and roadmap in the ELE project – a strategic plan that specifies the necessary steps, developments and funding requirements to achieve Digital Language Equality in Europe by 2030.

But what does Digital Language Equality mean? While the preliminary definition of the term has been established roughly one year ago, the final definition will soon be published in one of a larger number of upcoming ELE deliverables – so stay tuned for a clearly defined analysis of how equal European languages actually and currently are in the digital world.

Upcoming events
Within the framework of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the General Delegation for the French language and language of France of the French Ministry of Culture hosts the online forum "Innovation, Technologies and plurilingualism" from 7 to 9 February 2022. The three day event discusses the new opportunities that the digital transformation offers for plurilingualism as well as the challenges for social cohesion and citizenship in Europe.

You can download the full programme, including the ELG Workshop on Day 2, as a PDF. In order to follow the event and receive related links, you can register on the platform of the French EU Council Presidency. For this, you need to create a new account by filling in the form. Once you have received a message to activate your account, you need to register in the delegation FORINOVPLURI:PARTICIDGLFLF by using the access code ParticipaDGLFLF2022! followed by your email and your password as created before.
The ELE consortium Partner presentation

The European Civil Society Platform for Multilingualism (ECSPM) was launched in 2009 by the DG Education and Culture of the European Commission to serve as an advisory body on multilingual policies and practices supporting multilingualism in the EU. As of 2015-2016, it is a legal entity with its secretariat in Copenhagen, operating under Danish law. Enrolled in the European Commission Transparency Registry as an NGO, it is comprised of twenty-five member organisations and four partner institutions advocating practices of and research into multilingualism in society and all its cultural activities, as well as plurilingual education. Out of a total of 25 member organisations, nine are networks and associations with more than two hundred affiliates, all supporting the languages spoken in Europe and sixteen constitute a cluster of university centres researching issues in multilingualism (CURUM) in Europe and beyond.

Committed to taking action to preserve the linguistic and cultural resources of Europe and to contribute to the effective management of Europe’s linguistic diversity, ECSPM is concerned with the equity and preservation of all the official/national, regional/minority and lesser-used language spoken in Europe, as well as the linguistic and cultural wealth that the flow of immigrants bring. As such, it seeks to influence EU decision-making regarding language and language education policies, while its basic responsibility is to offer expert advice and assist in the implementation of policies valuing European linguistic and cultural diversity, in all aspects of social life, focusing on people: their ability to use a variety of languages and their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate, to participate as active citizens and to benefit from their participation in education and the workplace.

The ECSPM is concerned about language use in today's globalising world, characterised by increasing mobility, where information, knowledge and digital technologies are key determinants for social transformation, protection of the environment, human development, social justice and educational equity. It considers the creative use and synthesis of languages and of other modes of communication (i.e., visual, audio, spatial) vital for effective communication, cultural enrichment, the construction of knowledge and for education leading to the development of plurilingual and pluricultural competences, in contexts which increasingly aim at multiliteracies pedagogies, encouraging social agents to use creative practices across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Professor Emerita Bessie Dendrinos, ESCPM president, states: “Our involvement in the ELE project is motivated by our conviction that language technologies can assist the breaking down of language barriers while preserving multilingualism. At the same time, LT can and does help the sustenance of natural languages whose future is at risk without digital support. ECSPM’s principle task has been to coordinate the collection of basic information evidence from various stakeholders about what type of language technology tools and applications have been developed – if any – for a small number of endangered languages European languages (i.e., Aromanian, Carpathian-German, Carpato-Rusyn, Ladin, Lezghin, Meskhetian, Moldovan and Romani) as well as for the following official country languages used as heritage or community languages in European Member States: Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian and Turkish. ECSPM is privileged to have joined the EU wide language resource collection effort.”
Next edition

The next ELT newsletter will be sent out on 1 February 2022. Until then, follow our ELT social media accounts (as linked below) for the latest news! 

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The European Language Grid is an initiative funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement № 825627 (ELG).
The European Language Equality Project has received funding from the European Union under the grant agreement № LC-01641480 – 101018166 (ELE)
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