Understand Tamil, one word at a time
By Roshne Balasubramanian | Express News Service | Published: 14th March 2018 10:28 PM |
CHENNAI : Madhan Karky wears several hats — lyricist, research associate, software engineer and film dialogue writer — each one bringing him due accolades. But it is his love for languages that tops his list of several avatars. The popular lyricist who doubles as the CEO of Karky Research Foundation (Karefo), has proved this by creating several language and teaching tools, to promote language literacy among youth. “This is my passion and I’m always excited to work on different language computing projects. Of all the activities I do, if I have to choose one, I’d do this full time. It’s like playing with infinity...there’s so much scope!” says Madhan, who has a PhD degree in information technology. While talking to us, a projection screen pops on the wall and he says, “That’s the new tool,” pointing to ‘Piri Pori’, the foundation’s latest, one-of-a-kind Tamil analyser tool, which was launched on World Language Day (February 21).
Piri Pori uses morphological analysis in natural language processing to better the search results for regional languages. It can handle 35 crore morphological variations in Tamil nouns, verbs and numerous compound nouns. “We developed this tool in a month. It’s a simple yet powerful tool that breaks down words into smaller chunks, analyses and understands it. The tool also produces word level translation,” he says.
The words are broken down based on Tamil word structure and enables the search engine to share results for the word and also multiple variations of it. “We want to join hands with social media platforms and integrate it with Piri Pori. This way, the search results are accurate and we wouldn’t miss out on information. We’ve initiated discussions with a few platforms and search engines,” he explains.
With more people using regional languages to communicate over social media, this could be a significant move. “Funding from these platforms for this tool would be of great help, otherwise, all of our project fundings are through what I earn from film industry. Usually people use what they get out of their science projects to fund their creative calling, for me it’s the other way around,” he laughs.The Foundation has partnered with the Tamil Development Department of the State Government in its dictionary project Sorkuvai. “It has about 3.4 lakh Tamil words and we add more to it every day. The Government has commissioned this project and we are looking to partner with other institutions and Tamil sangams across the globe too,” he says.
While the aim of Karefo is manifold, Madhan says that it mainly focuses on inventing and enhancing effective teaching methodologies and tools that are freely available to all, thereby promoting literacy. “Today, education has become mark or grade-oriented. I think the aim should be to make the students interested and engrossed in the subject. So, we are working on interesting games like Tamil Scrabble and will also introduce a course where languages will be made fun and interesting to learn,” he adds.
The foundation also works with the Kindle team for its dictionary application Chol, wherein, the tool is automatically downloaded when a user buys a Tamil book. “A minimum of 100 new words are added every day to the dictionary. We have a team of dedicated linguists and programmers who are working round the clock, solely for the love they have for languages,” he smiles.
For details, visit: www.karky.in