Though the vague ideas had been with me for many years, I started to formally work on (what I have named) Computational Modeling of Scripts (CMS). Incidentally, modelling is wrong in 2007, modeling was wrong in 1907, but it is not really a case of language variation. Anyway, two of my papers (co-authored with Harshit Surana) related to the work on CMS were accepted and I had to present both of them in March. I wouldn’t give here the details about the work on CMS because if I begin, there would be no end.
The first paper was titled ‘Using a Model of Scripts for Shallow Morphological Analysis Given an Unannotated Corpus’ and I had to present it at a Workshop on Morpho-Syntactic Analysis. It was being held at Bangkok as part of the 2nd School of Asian NLP for Linguistic Diversity and Language Resource Development. In this case, the long name of the event was justified by the fact it went on for ten days. But even though I had to attend a lot of talks everyday, I didn’t mind. I missed the first two days because of the highly efficient way in which our bureaucracy works. I actually had to go back from the airport after checking in with luggage and all. I managed to survive the nightmare and, thankfully, my nine days at Bangkok were among the best I have had for years, in spite of many problems: food, language, money etc. This was the first time I had gone to any place east of Varanasi and, to put it simply, I liked it.
The second paper was called ‘Study of Cognates among South Asian Languages for the Purpose of Building Lexical Resources’ and it was to be presented in Mumbai at the National Seminar on Creation of Lexical Resources for Indian Language Computing and Processing. I just managed to reach Mumbai (one day late) because there was a deadline for submission to an ACL Workshop on Computing and Historical Phonology. By the way, this paper too was (distantly?) related to the work on CMS and it has been accepted. However, the stay in Mumbai was somewhat less enjoyable (another long story I am not going to tell).
Apart from the joys (and pains) of traveling, the positive thing about these two trips was that at last I managed to present some of my work on CMS, even if the events were not as big as the ACL. And I got to see a lot of people working in NLP, some of whom I had known from the literature. I also got to meet a lot of East Asians from many different countries, in person and in their world. The downside was that I missed another important event which I had been waiting for: A proper film festival in Hyderabad.
PS: This ‘article’ was published somewhere earlier, but since some parts got left out, I am putting the complete and unabridged version here :-)