Speaker: Kalika Bali, Microsoft Research, India

Date and Venue: Friday 1st September 2017, 16:00 - 17:00, SIT Building Seminar Room (Room 001).

Title: Project Mélange: I Know When and Why You Switched from Inglés a Español

Abstract: Multilingual communities exhibit code-switching, that is, mixing of two or more socially stable languages in a single conversation, sometimes even in a single utterance. This phenomenon has been widely studied by linguists and interaction scientists in the spoken language of such communities. However, with the prevalence of social media and other informal interactive platforms, code-switching is now also ubiquitously observed in user-generated text. As multilingual communities are more the norm from a global perspective, it becomes essential that code-switched text and speech are adequately handled by language technologies and NUIs like Skype Translator and Cortana.

Project Mélange aims to analyze and understand code-switching behavior at two levels: first, the formal structural level that dictates the grammar of such a construct, and second, the functional level that motivates its use from a cognitive, pragmatic and socio-cultural perspective. This in turn would allow us to process mixed language as well as better model conversations and dialogues in a multilingual setting.

In this talk I will present an overview of our work towards making this a possibility, wrt processing and understanding Code-mixed languages.

Speaker Bio: Kalika Bali is a Researcher at Microsoft Research Lab India. She has worked for nearly two decades in the area of Speech and Language Technology, especially for resource poor languages. The primary focus of her current research is on how Natural Language systems can help Human-Machine Interaction more socio-culturally relevant and appropriate.