Joan Byamugisha wins Best Student Paper award at CNL 2016
Computer Science PhD student Joan Byamugisha won the Best Student Paper award for her peer-reviewed, published, paper at the Controlled Natural Language Workshop 2016, which was held recently in Aberdeen, Scotland.
In addition to the honour of winning the award, selected by the organising committee of the workshop, Joan received a 200 GBP Amazon gift voucher sponsored by Digital Grammars.
Joan investigated the feasibility of bootstrapping a controlled natural language for Runyankore, which is spoken in her home country Uganda, taking as starting point a CNL for isiZulu. As it turned out, this was feasible. The paper presents the so-called ‘verbalisation patterns’—akin to logic-based templates where one can slot in the values for the variables to generate understandable sentences in natural language—and the evaluation with Runyankore speakers to find out their preferences on what reads better. The surprising result was that for most patterns specified, the sentence structure was determined by the same grammatical components as for isiZulu, notwithstanding the geographical distance between the regions.
This was Joan’s first main-author paper, and thus a very impressive beginning of her first year of PhD studies. She is supervised by Dr. Maria Keet and Dr. Brian DeRenzi.
The camera-ready copy of the paper is freely available from the departmental publications repository as prepublication camera-ready copy (pdf) and it is linked to the official published version (same content) at the publisher’s website.