Add Semantic Domains using WeSay

Author John Hatton | 19.11.2007 | Category WeSay

bilumbaby2 WeSay now lets the user edit the semantic domains of a sense from the Dictionary Browse and Edit tab, as an alternative to gathering words using the Gather By Semantic Domain task.

To see how this works, let’s add some of the domains that would apply to a Papua New Guinean bilum.


To look for a domain, we click in a box and start typing. First, we start typing “crafts” and see a domain matching that word:


Next, since bilums are used to transport firewood, we type that in. A promising domain appears, fuel. But is that right? We don’t want to say that bilums are something you burn. Happily, when we point to the word Fuel, WeSay displays a description confirming that domain is also for things you use in collecting fuel.


Finally, since at least one of my kids has slept in a bilum, we should find a domain for that. Here we’ll pretend we know the domain number, and just start typing that until we see Bed:


I had fun finding domains for a few words. I hope you do too.

Solid 0.8.3 Released

Author cambell | 15.11.2007 | Category Solid

A new release of Solid is now available for download.

A few enhancements in this release:

  • Recursive inference for implied tags (such as sn)
  • Export to LIFT is now much faster.
  • Default export is now LIFT
  • Empty values are filtered out

Full details are available on the Solid project web site.

Simple and Advanced Sorting

Author John Hatton | 12.11.2007 | Category WeSay

One of the last big features for version 1 of WeSay has been in a for while. Someone (I won’t mention any names) did a great job on it but didn’t blog about it. So I’ll see if I can do it justice.

In this screen shot we see the three ways you can now specify sorting:

Sort like another language

If the text sorts just like some major language, just select that language in the list and you’re done.

Custom Simple

Many languages based on Latin characters introduce a small number of “special characters” used to represent sounds not covered by A-Z, like a barred i. In these situations, you can specify the rules just like you do in many existing apps, like Toolbox and Lexique Pro. When you choose “custom simple”, the rules box is filled with rules needed to sort English. You can enter vernacular works in the “Test Sort” area:

We want the barred-i to sort just after i, so we add it to the rules and click the button:

Normally, these secondary distinctions are enough. But for some languages, tertiary distinctions are needed. We get these in the simple rules by using parentheses. Consider this list of words:

Now, imagine we want the upper-case words to sort together. We need to add in another level of distinction, so that case can trump the accents. We do this by adding parentheses around all case pairs, and putting the two sets of e’s on the same line:

Eric has written up the details on our wiki.

Custom ICU rules

For languages that need them, WeSay also supports ICU tailorings, which look like this:

& C < č <<< Č < ć <<< Ć –for Serbian (Latin) or Croatian

Like many features of WeSay, this simple-to-advanced collating actually lives in our “Palaso Library“, which is of course open-source and can be included in other programs. Thus we foresee a day soon when the setup you do in one program (e.g. WeSay) will be trivially usable in other language-development tools.

Happy sorting!