Monthly Archives: May 2017

Percentage of ambiguous words in French sentence (from French to Corsican translation perspective)

What is the average percentage of ambiguous words in a French sentence (from a French to Corsican translation perspective). In the above example, this percentage amounts to 20/99 words = approximately 20%. Not all semantic ambiguities are taken into account here, so the real average should amount at least to 25%.

  • le = u/lu: definite article or pronoun (the/it)
  • est = livanti/hè: masculine noun or verb (east/is)
  • culminant = culminanti/culminendu: adjective or gerund
  • émerge = emerghju/emerghji: first person or third person verb
  • commence = principiu/principia: first person or third person verb (begin/begins)
  • cesse = cessu/cessa: first person or third person verb (cease/ceases)
  • volcanique = vulcanicu/vulcanica: adjective, masculine of feminine (volcanic, unambiguous from a French to English translation perspective)

Disambiguation of two consecutive ambiguous words: ‘plusieurs mois’

Testing improved disambiguation engine. This is a special case of disambiguation of two consecutive ambiguous words. French ‘au terme de plusieurs mois’ translates into à u capu di parechji mesa (at the end of several months) in Corsican (taravese variant).  In this case, ‘plusieurs’ and ‘mois’ are ambiguous:

  • ‘plusieurs’ (several) as an indefinite plural pronoun can be either masculine of feminine.
  • ‘mois’ as a noun can be either singular (month, mesi) or plural (months, mesa: plural with a final –a is reminiscent of latine neutral)

There is only one error in the above translation: da latu should be replaced by da cantu.

Disambiguation of ‘vie’

We face here a special case of disambiguation: ‘un général byzantin du vie siècle’ (a Byzantine general of the sixth century) should translate: un generali bizantinu di u 6esimu seculu. French ‘vie’ is ambiguous between vita and 6esimu or VIesimu (life/sixth). In effect, ‘vi’ is sometimes used for the roman numeral ‘VI’. In this case, ‘VIe’ is unambiguous.

This also rises the interesting and more general issue: are ambiguities a weakness for a language? Is it better for a language to have few ambiguities?