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Divergent approaches to corpus processing: the need for standardisation

E Mangoya

Abstract


This article discusses some problems encountered in the processing of the Shona corpus. Most of the problems deal with the handling of adoptives, punctuation and individuals' idiolects. It also discusses the problem ensuing from an attempt to standardise the formats used in the handling of the corpus. The way a corpus is processed is critical in determining its quality. This article aims to show how the different linguistic backgrounds of the processors affect the apprecia-tion of some vital aspects of the corpus. One of the acclaimed advantages of a corpus is that it allows research to be done on natural language. An ideal corpus should be a body of texts com-bined in a principled way to become a reliable language bank from which researchers retrieve data for various research purposes. With a good corpus, data can be provided giving an authoritative body of linguistic evidence which can support generalisations and against which hypotheses can be tested. As this proves the invaluable status of a corpus, the article assesses the processing of the Shona corpus and discusses how some aspects of the processing may impact negatively on its quality.

Keywords: corpus, standardisation, data, headword, lexicography, retrieve, transcribe, tagging, encoding, parsing, divergent



http://dx.doi.org/10.5788/19-0-177
AJOL African Journals Online