Writing across Languages

Technical Difficulties and First Results of Annotating Multilingual Sentences in „The Moor’s Account“

First of all, I have been finding this work very interesting, getting a new perspective on literature. However, I encountered some technical difficulties while having Google Collab analyse my sentences. After three sentences, it told me I had reached my free limit and would have to purchase Collab Pro. This is probably because I tried to save my results by opening a new file for every sentence. Thus, I have only worked through a couple of examples so far, taken from the novel The Moor’s Account  by Laila Lalami.

The first sentence I had annotated was, „When I said, Bawuus ni kwiamoja, one of the women inevitably corrected me, Ni bawuus kwiamoja.“ (Lalami 175). Both times the words are used in the sentence, Collab tagged them as proper nouns, as if they were all names. The phrase is not translated in the novel, but the correction is as follows: “in Capoque […] the doer and the done-to were spoken of before the deed itself” (ibid.). This means that, presumably, “Ni” and “bawuus” are the doer and the done-to, while “kwiamoja” is a verb. It is very difficult to research this language, however; I suppose it is not spoken anymore.

Another sentence I let Collab process was, “I whispered Ayat al-Kursi to myself“ (123). “Ayat”, “al”, and “Kursi” are all tagged as proper nouns, which is acceptable, I believe, as the words refer to a specific verse in the Quran. In the dependency analysis, however, it says that “Kursi” is dependent on the word “whispered” and the major part of a compound (dobj).

Hopefully, I will be able to go through more sentences and I am excited for the next steps.

Ein Gedanke zu “Technical Difficulties and First Results of Annotating Multilingual Sentences in „The Moor’s Account“

  1. michellea

    Hi Theresa, I agree that this approach to literature is quite interesting. I would also be interested which language is written in your novel other than English. I think I googled it and couldn't find it out. ^^ I had the same experience concerning the foreign words being (partly) categorized as proper noun and some also as parts of a compound. See you in class, Michelle

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