English and Kazakh

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Starting work on Apertium English to Kazakh

These notes are basically for Anel, Aizhan and Assem who have started to develop this language pair... And Aida too...

Installing what is needed

Operating System

Install a suitable GNU/Linux system such as Debian, Ubuntu, Mint...

Install vislcg3, hfst, apertium, lttoolbox essentials, etc.

Open a terminal window and type

wget http://apertium.projectjj.com/apt/install-nightly.sh
sudo bash install-nightly.sh

sudo apt-get -f install locales build-essential \
 automake subversion pkg-config \
 gawk libtool apertium-all-dev

enter your password when asked, and Wait till the packages are downloaded and installed.

If you don't already have a directory for sources, make one in your home directory and enter it:

cd ~
mkdir Source
cd Source

Download apertium, lttoolbox and eng-kaz data from SVN

Main article: Minimal installation from SVN
cd ~/Source
svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/apertium/svn/trunk/apertium-tools
svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/apertium/svn/languages/apertium-kaz
svn co https://svn.code.sf.net/p/apertium/svn/trunk/apertium-eng-kaz

Install Kazakh language

cd ..
cd apertium-kaz
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh

Install English--Kazakh language pair data from staging

cd ..
cd apertium-eng-kaz/
PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/lib/pkgconfig ./autogen.sh --with-lang2=$HOME/Source/apertium-kaz


If you get:

lt-comp: error while loading shared libraries: liblttoolbox3-3.2.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Then you should do:

sudo ldconfig

Browse SVN

Here you can look at changes that have been made:




Open up XChat (normally "Programs -> Internet -> XChat IRC") and type:

/server irc.freenode.net
/join #apertium
/join #hfst

To install xchat:

sudo apt-get install xchat 

In Windows:


Chat logs/archives: http://alpha.visl.sdu.dk/~tino/pisg/freenode/logs/

Mailing list

Email: apertium-turkic@lists.sourceforge.net


November 2013 to-do list

  • Check the constraint-grammar file for strange rules and also rules that may not be correct. Try to understand the rules we have.
  • Write .t1x and .t2x code to deal with case (capitalization)
  • Make sure all new rules have the correct superblank management
    • That is, where a rule reorders items, all superblanks in the reordered area should go before the reordered area
  • The copula, t2x rules: past copula with PP ("I was from Kazakhstan"), negative copula, adverbial adjective phrases in copula "The man is very large"
    • added rule for past copula with PP
    • rule with negative copula for PP in past and present
    • solved by adding rule "preadv + adj" as AdjP
  • NPs with adverbs, particularly "very" ("Three very beautiful children")
    • solved by adding rule "preadv + adj" and "preadv"
  • 1-word chunks to always provide a translation for any English word
    • solved partly by adding pronouns: before,behind,below,in,on,after,towards,through, under as adverbs, and rules in constraint grammar.
    • even for stranded prepositions, so that we have a translation for "in" similar to "inside" etc., as if they were adverbs
  • noun-noun compounds in NPs and PPs: add the most frequent ones to t1x (hard to do in t2x as prepositions are solved in t1x)
    • Solved by adding rules to t1x:
      • noun1 noun2
      • adjec noun1 noun2
      • det num noun1 noun2
      • num noun1 noun2
      • prep num noun1 noun2
      • num adjec noun1 noun2
      • det num adjec noun1 noun2
      • prep num adjec noun1 noun2
      • prep det num adjec noun1 noun2
  • interrogative sentences: Yes/no (-ba) and informative ("Where is my Kazakh dictionary"?) → probably work for t2x
    • special questions were done by adding rules:
      • Where/When + NP or PP, but not for WHAT
      • Simple questions Do,Did + NP or PP
      • how write rule for "Are/Were?", rule for "Noun is/was" has the same pattern
    • 'which' as a determiner → precedes noun ("which house" → "қайсы үй") or genitive construct ("үйдің қайсысы")
    • "which" as adv-itg, "which house do you like?"
  • relatives (simple relatives: "the book that I wrote", "the book which I wrote" → "Мен жазған кітап"; adverbial relatives "when he came" → "Ол келгенде" [uses locative!])
    • added rules for simple relatives(that,which)
    • added rule for "when" and "which"
  • check some changes made to punctuation regular expressions in the English dictionary to solve mismatches with the Kazakh dictionary
  • "-ing" is hard (check the appropriate section in Tagging_guidelines_for_English. This gives problems in "I like playing football" vs. "I like flying birds" and will be hard. Transitivity could be a clue? What to do in t1x and what in t2x? Also "Flying planes can be dangerous", famous ambiguity). Try to get as much as possible done with CG rules.
  • Negative pronous ("yesh" forms)
    • write lexical selection to generate "yesh-" forms from "any-" forms in negatives or "bir" forms in questions, e.g. "do" "not" vblex.inf "anything" (dictionaries should be populated with alternatives)
      • lexical selection for "anything" as "yeshnarse" for negative sentences and as "bir narse" for affirmative sentences.
  • Choosing auxiliaries for present continuous ("be" → "bol" (default), "zhatyr", "otyr" ,etc.)
    • can't be solved by lexical selection
  • deciding t1x versus t2x:
    • NPs and PPs in t1x as long as possible (hard design choice, tedious work, code repetition, but...)
  • Some adjective phrases like "num "years old"".
    • added as NP phrase "num years old" - "* жаста"
  • Comparative constructs (more ADJ than NP → NP-dat karaganda ADJ-comp)
    • is done, by 4 rules in t2x
    • added comparative and superlative adj, in the biggest city as PP
  • Adverbial phrases: think on how to treat them similarly to PP in .t2x ("very quickly" is not that different from "in the park" when it comes to t2x reordering)
  • (Partly done) Pseudo-modals "finish" "start" "love" "hate" "enjoy", "like" which take -ing and sometimes "to".... Three possibilities to deal with them: (1) a long def-cat, (2) def-list and tests in rules, and (3) Jim's <exception> (dangerous!). Route: change new-gen-simple-verb macro with a deflist, to generate VP_psmod, translate "-ing" into NPs (as they take case,etc.) and write .t2x rules. Careful: -ing desambiguation not too goodd
  • Collect parallel kaz-eng corpora!

What to take care of when writing rules

What are these systems going to be used for and how does this affect design?

It is quite unlikely that a system like this will ever be used for postediting the output into publishable text. The output is quite unlikely to be useful, particularly for sentences longer than a few words, as it would be very difficult to get the right word order.

It might be used, however, for:

  • (1) interactive MT as in http://www.dlsi.ua.es/bbcat/?slang=eng&tlang=kaz ?
  • (2) fuzzy-match repair (when a translator using a computer-aided translation system gets a very good fuzzy match from a translaton memory, MT output can be intelligently used to find which parts of the target side need to be changed an actually change them (a thesis at the Universitat d'Alacant). This is because short segments may get very good translations.
  • (3) assimilation or gisting (understanding what a text is about); the evaluation of this may be tricky but some Apertiumers have had interesting ideas: http://journal.sepln.org/sepln/ojs/ojs/index.php/pln/article/view/4867

Indeed, evaluation may be tricky in general.

Development should take these applications into account:

  • (1) and (2): getting good translations for short segments (2, 3, 4 words) can be very helpful here
  • (3): the idea here would be not to pay attention to features that do not impair understanding (e.g, English articles can be deleted; "of Kazakh constituents order acceptable may be", etc.). good translations for short phrases (linguistically motivated segments) could be the key here

Questions we had, open issues

  • morphology of reflexives ("Öz") → Mikel has to talk to Jonathan and Ilnar to make it work as in apertium-kir or as bir-bir reciprocals. Make morphology describe the real morphotactics of these forms.
  • why do we have gender in Kazakh morphologies when gender is not represented? Make morphology describe the real morphotactics of these forms??? (Fran gave reasons for not doing so, check apertium-turkic)

November 2013 work done

Aida will complete and document this list

  • Regression test is completed with new sentences 426/426
  • Structural transfer
    • Reported speech sentences
    • Conditionals(First and Second)
    • "be" + adjective in present and past : "You are/were beautiful"
    • "be" + PP: "I am from Kazakhstan"
    • Rule for demonstrative pronouns
    • Rule for negative pronouns("nothing,nobody, anything(only for negative sentences)") changing verb to negative
    • Def-list of pseudo-mod verbs(I LIKE/ENJOY/LOVE/HATE/START/FINISH playing) int .t1x and choosing them in gen-simple-verb macro
    • Rule for "-ing" words as NP<subst> in .t1x,for example, I like playing.
    • "ing" + NP in .t2x
    • Rule for "would"(.t1x) + NP(.t2x)
  • Lexical selection
    • One rule for "residence"
    • Rules in CG
  • Dictionary work
    • Put some country and city names into apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.dix as NP-TOP
    • Added missing pronouns to bilingual dictionary
    • Corrected verbs which iv to tv(tv to iv)
    • Changed "would" <inf> to <past> in eng.dix

Old stuff scheduled for removal

Some of this information is outdated and needs work, but make sure that everything is there before removing this part.


Apparently Kazakh has 5 kinds of postpositions, according to the case of the NP they follow. Some of those following genitive may be interpreted as "nouns" with a case, such as

бақшаның астында

garden-of bottom-in

garden.gen bottom.loc

"under the garden"

where астын is roughly the noun "bottom", much as in Basque "ortu-a-ren azpi-an" "azpi" is a noun.

With nominative (or base form)

Check this list:

  • арқылы through
  • туралы about
  • секілді similarly to
  • жөнінде about

With genitive

  • астынан from below
  • астында above (top-its-in)
  • жанынан from beside (side-its-from)
  • жанында beside (side-its-in)

With dative

  • қарай (towards)
  • арналған (intended for)

With ablative

  • кейін behind, after

With instrumental

  • қатар beside
  • бірге together with

Starting work on Apertium Kazakh to English

General ideas

Try to translate as literally as possible in the first prototypes (do not have too many .t2x rules)

Make the most of existing CG-based PoS tagging (wait for instructions on how to use the apertium-kaz.kaz.rlx in apertium-kaz)

Detecting NPs and PPs

There is a lot of stuff in apertium-eng-kaz.kaz-eng.t1x already! We have to study, and check the following.

Main kinds of NPs:

  • accusative and nominative → no preposition
  • genitive → two solutions: N's N or N of N (attention genitive chains)
  • dative → what should one do? (tricky)
  • locative, ablative (make list) → PPs
    • what to do with possessives (particularly 1st and 2nd person) to avoid double possessives in sentences with "mening", etc.
      • Менің бақшам → my garden of me (!)

Composition of NPs: n, adj n, num n, num adj n, ...

Things to take care of:

  • Decide if noun-based postpositions: artynda, ustinde, keyin, etc. will be detected in t1x. A list of lemmas would be necessary, or changes to bilingual dictionaries
  • Make sure we generate plurals for numbers
  • articles (use third-person possessives as a hint to generate definite articles)
    • kalaning baqshasythe garden of city

Detecting VPs

  • simple verbs: decide on reasonable equivalents
    • some may be hard to decide, such as generating future simple in English different from present
    • present or past perfect to generate. Only present perfect
  • compound forms based on zhatyr, otyr, etc.
  • generating negatives (have negative VPs detected separately or use logic (choose) inside t1x rules
  • gender in third-person pronouns (including 'öz' reflexives)

Loose list of problems

  • constructions based on infinite verbs (participles, etc.) (the problem of generating tense)
  • reinserting the verb to be when the copula is missing

November 2013 work done

Aida will complete this part

  • Regression test added
  • Transfer
    • Continuous tenses, simple tenses, negatives
    • Subject pronouns (gender still an open issue)
    • Nouns and adjectives
      • Deleted n.attr from adjective definition
  • Dictionaties
    • changed "жатқан жоқ" in kaz.lexc and eng-kaz.dix to vaux-negative to catch negative present continuous
    • added some words

Aida Sundetova's GSoC 2014: Adopting an unreleased English-Kazakh language pair


First work plan I prepared for proposal: http://wiki.apertium.org/wiki/User:Aida/Application

Before coding was started:

  • Total stems in apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.dix: 3660
  • Chunk rules: 118
  • Interchunk rules: 99
  • Postchunk-and-cleanup rules: 6.
  • CG rules:202

New plan

By new plan, we focused on adding vocabulary from 4 corpora. Please see: http://wiki.apertium.org/wiki/English_and_Kazakh/Work_plan_(GSOC_2014)



Coverage of corpora now:


EuroParl: 96,18%


Total stems in apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.dix: 11071

Transfer rules

Needed transfer rules were written by translating texts, which were taken for coding challenge and midterm evaluation, also some cleaning and single-word rules were written while cleaning testvoc.

  • Written rules:
    • For single-word: vbmod, subs-ing, be-vblex, num-year, det-which
    • Constructions for adv/adjec + verb: adjec to inf-verb, adv-itg to inf-verb, have + adv + been + verb-pp,
    • For years, "after 1920", etc. translating as "1920 жылДАН кейін": prep num-years.
    • Rules for "unknown" words, if word are not in dix,rules can not match. So for some phrases like "the hargle house" - "*hargle үй":det unknown noun, unknown - for single unknown word, will translate as NP, unknown noun2, prep det unknown adjec noun, prep det unknown noun, sup-adjec unknown nom.
    • Interchunk rules
    • Cleaning rules for pronouns, adjectives.


Tue Aug 5 22:02:59 ALMT 2014

POS Total Clean With
n 31166 31166 0 0 100
vblex 9317 9317 0 0 100
adj 2269 2269 0 0 100
np 1410 1410 0 0 100
adv 1236 1236 0 0 100
prn 172 172 0 0 100
pr 107 107 0 0 100
abbr 78 78 0 0 100
num 63 63 0 0 100
det 62 62 0 0 100
vaux 51 51 0 0 100
cnjadv 34 34 0 0 100
vbmod 26 26 0 0 100
vbser 24 24 0 0 100
ij 23 23 0 0 100
cnjcoo 19 19 0 0 100
cnjsub 16 16 0 0 100
vbhaver 12 12 0 0 100
rel 4 4 0 0 100
preadv 2 2 0 0 100
guio 1 1 0 0 100
cm 1 1 0 0 100

Work done before November

Progress is not so big :)



Coverage of corpora now:


EuroParl: 96,76%


Total stems in apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.dix: 13359

  • Some interchunk rules added
  • Cleaning # from europarl corpora, did not finish.
  • Correcting some errors, and gereating wrong attributes, like <pp>, etc.

Future work

  • Cleaning all # from europarl
  • Solving problem with "Are/Am" same morph analyse as "I AM a doctor": ^vP_q<VPQ><aor>{ }$ ^obj-pron<NP><sg><p2><PXD><CD>{^сіз<prn><pers><p2><2><4><5>$}$ ^nP_ger<NP><PD><ND><ger><PXD><CD>{^ойна<v><tv><4><5><3><2><6>$}$^sent<Q_mark>{^?<sent>$}$^sent<SENT>{^.<sent>$}$
  • Something wrong with regression-tests
  • Correcting some errors, and gereating wrong attributes, like <pp>, etc.

November 2014 to do list

Example of transfer with apertium-eng-kaz

The small children were playing in the park Det Adj N Vbe Vger Prep Art N

  • Chunker [.t1x] (pattern of lexical form→action)
[NP Det Adj N]    [VP Vbe Vger]   [PP Prep Art N]
    • Output
[NP Adj N] [VP V-"п" Vaux-отыр] [PP N+Postp]

Need to do

  • ^detart-adjec-nom<NP><pl><p3><PXD><CD>{ ^кішкентай<adj>$ ^бала<n><2><4><5>$}$
^pers-verb<VP><ND><PD><ifi><PXD><NXD><CD>{ ^ойна<v><tv><prc_perf>$ ^отыр<vaux><6><4><5><3><2><7>$}$ 

→ why 6 and parknot 7 (question for developers)
→ we need to repair this
  • Interchunk[.t2x]
^detart-adjec-nom<NP><pl><p3><PXD><CD>{ ^кішкентай<adj>$ ^бала<n><2><4><5>$}$  
^prep-detart-noun<PP><sg><p3><PXD><loc>{  ^саябақ<n><2><4><5>$}$
^pers-verb<VP><pl><p3><ifi><PXD><NXD>{ ^ойна<v><tv><prc_perf>$ ^отыр<vaux><6><4><5><3><2><7>$}$
  • Postchunk[.t3x]

"instantiate labels + remove syntax"

  • Cleanup[.t4x]

Select default values for PXD, CD, NXD, ... Remove <sg>

  • Number of rules today:

$ grep "</rule>" apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.t[1234]x | wc -l 309

Work to do generally for English-Kazakh

  • Lexical selection: lots of work (and cleaning) to do
    • DONE for noun, adj, adv
Getting all nouns in bidix with more than 1 translation (or repeated)
grep ">[a-zA-Z]\+<s n=\"n\"" apertium-eng-kaz.eng-kaz.dix | sed 's/.*[>]\([a-zA-Z]\+[<]s n=\"n\"\).*/\1/g' | 
fgrep -v ">" | sort | uniq -c | grep "[2-9] "
2× → 249
3× → 50
4× → 15
5×→ 2
6× → 5

respect, reputation, possession etc.


    • We need to treat "Be N verb" questions like "Am I a doctor?" by deferring copula generation to .t2x or later
    • We need a rule for "the girl's mother" which is like the rule for "girl's mother" but with an additional determiner (typical example of rule writing by cutting-and-pasting).
      • DONE: det n1's n2; prep n1's n2; prep det n1's n2
    • The problem of indirect objects without a preposition (He told Mrs. Doyle).
      • maybe by looking at verbs that can do this
      • look at 1980's Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and see if A.S. Hornby's verb patterns are of any help (VPx)
    • It is a good idea to have NP chunks that are given-name + family-name and similar constructs
      • DONE for np-ant + np-cog.
      • Have to think about constructions: the Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev


    • "On the way to the hospital" needs to be translated with an adverbial construction with "go". (емханаға бара жатқанда)
    • What happens if one wants to change case at .t2x level? Maybe leave it for .t3x
    • What to do with proper nouns? Recognize (!), tag, and transliterate?
      • What happens if they go through in Latin (possible .twol rules for Latin vowels: e.g. Kilkenny-де but Carlow-да).
      • Another possibility (Aida): detect unknown capitalized words (possible?). We tried with regular expressions but they do not seem to work in the apertium-eng-kaz.eng.dix unless they are added to the bilingual and the intersection code notices them (carefyl: cyclic!!!) It does not seem to be related to the -w switch of lt-proc. There is some rubbish in the dictionary now for testing.

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