BibleTech: 2009

I’m considering putting in a proposal for BibleTech: 2009, but I’m not sure yet. I need to decide soon because the deadline is Monday.

If I make a presentation proposal it would probably focus on the the application of SIL’s Language Explorer to Koine Greek. I would probably focus on morphology and parsing, since that’s what I’ve done the most on, though I might move into the program’s potential for word studies and dictionary creation as well, since I’ve dabbled quite a bit with that (though that’s the dabling that I lost with my computer crashing a few weeks ago). I’m thinking of a proposal something like:

At BibleTech: 2008, SIL’s software development team presented some of the software they are developing for linguists and translators to use on the field. The focus of their presentation was specifically on programs that related to the task of translation. Thus the Data Notebook, Graphite, Translator’s Workplace, and the Translation Editor were the focus of their presentation. Language Explorer, on the other hand, is a program developed more specifically for the linguistic work that accompanies a translation. This includes language analysis, morphology, syntax, discourse analysis, and dictionary making for the many languages that have not been studied, much less received a translation of the Bible.

But exactly because of the program’s FLExibility (FLEx = Field Works Language Explorer) for the description of any language, it is perfect for the analysis of Biblical languages as well. This paper seeks to show the value of FLEx for the study of Biblical languages with an eye toward lexicography and especially the program’s potential for morphological parsing of Koine Greek texts though morpheme-by-morpheme interlinearization and the development of a morpheme lexicon.

Now I’m not sure if this is the best expression of what I’m thinking. Essentially I want to present the work that I’ve done (and hopefully will continue to do between now and March 27th) with an eye toward the possibility of actually being able to automate the process (which FLEx is designed to do). My end hope is that I’ll have a rough morphology of Koine Greek built/written that would make it possible for me to parse various Greek texts that do not have morphological databases readily available – such as the Duke Papyri, the Packard Greek Epigraphy or perhaps even some of the earlier texts from Migne’s Patrologia Graecae. I would love to parse Chrysostom, though that might require some adaption. How much the language had changed in those few hundred years between Paul and Bishop John is beyond my knowledge.

But all of that is a long way off. Right now, I’ve only finished indicative ω verbs (both regular and contract). Goals for March would probably be the completion of verbal inflectional morphology and then also at least one of the noun declensions – though I’ve been in communication with one SIL linguist who believes that he can explain Greek noun variation through phonology rather than declensions. I haven’t seen how just yet, but I’m very curious and we’re continuing to communicate.

So what do you think? Should I make a proposal?