CTexT does it again!
With the launch of the Afrikaanse Speltoetser 3.0 , Tesourus 1.0 & Woordafbreker, CTexT™ (Centre for Text Technology) has once again proved its capability in developing leading language technology products for Afrikaans. CTexT™, a unit of the Research Focus Area: Languages and Literature in the South African Context at the North-West University, has been in business for more than a year and the Afrikaanse Speltoetser 3.0, Tesourus 1.0 & Woordafbreker is the latest addition to their already excellent product range.
Since the spelling checker first saw the light in the nineties, the lexicon has doubled in size and today it recognises more than 350 000 words – including a wide range of proper names, technical terminology and acronyms. Thanks to advanced morphological analysis, the latest spelling checker now also recognises a large number of new compounds and inflections.
However, it is the inclusion of a thesaurus which makes this spelling checker stand out head and shoulders above the previous version (the Afrikaanse Speltoetser 2.1 & Woordafbreker). The thesaurus is based on LG de Stadler’s Groot Tesourus van Afrikaans, and the Woordkeusegids of the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal(WAT).
Mr Roald Eiselen, project leader of the team that developed the thesaurus, describes a thesaurus as a kind of “reverse dictionary”, where the emphasis is not on the specific description of word meanings, but on the relation of words to other words and other meanings (i.e. the word’s “family”). The words “Straatkat”, “wildekat” and “huiskat” will be grouped together under the entry “kat”, which, in turn, will be grouped under “soogdier”. So, in a thesaurus, words are grouped based on similarity of meaning and relations between words.
Although the thesaurus often gives synonyms of words, it is, strictly speaking, not a synonym dictionary. If you look up the word “kat”, you find a list of different types of cats: the user should then select the word that best fits the context. In other cases, the thesaurus does offer alternatives that could be viewed as synonyms: if you look up “sien”, you will find words such as “waarneem”, “gewaar” and “aanskou”.
The most important function of the thesaurus is thus to offer a user alternatives to choose from. This enables the user to avoid clumsy repetition by using different words with related meanings. In this manner, you not only create more interesting and lively text, but also expand your vocabulary!
The program can be easily installed and is fully integrated with Microsoft Office 2000/XP/2003. It also includes a hyphenator, which can break long words correctly at the end of a line. The Afrikaanse Speltoetser 3.0, Tesourus 1.0 & Woordafbreker will be launched on 3 August 2005 at Protea Boekhuis in Pretoria and will soon be available countrywide.