Context Free Grammar and Venba

August 4, 2007

At work, I have been meddling with voice applications and grammars – primarily the Speech Recognition Grammar Specification. In the realm of voice recognition, a grammar is used to provide a limited set of choices (and permutations of these choices) to the recognition engine. Basically, a grammar specifies the vocabulary for the recognition engine for a particular turn in the speech application.

SRGS is a type of context free grammar. And while looking into already available parsers for such context free grammar, a co-worker of mine chanced to see this Wikipedia entry about Venba, and their relation to context free grammar. (Although the Wikipedia entry spells Venba with a ‘p’, I believe the actual pronunciation in Tamil warrants a ‘b’.) This one really brought back all the school memories, where we trying to identify seer, pulima, karuvilam and koovilam.

In any case, this wiki entry led me to a paper that analzes various venba’s to see if they adhere to the grammar rules. Here is a breakdown the paper does for a kural.

Derivation Tree for Tirukkural

It is amazing that the Tamil poets intuitively followed such grammar rules several thousand years ago.

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3 Responses to “Context Free Grammar and Venba”

  1. Senthil Says:

    Thanks for the post. Enjoyed reading it. Time to refresh my venba knowledge 🙂

  2. vasntvel Says:

    nan tamil man

  3. Senthil Says:

    It’s not venba it’s venpa. In tamil, there is no separate letter got ba, but we do have the sound ‘ba’ which occurs only if it is prefixed with ‘m’. For eg: kambam or saambal or kambar.

    Venpa is ven + pa. Ven means pure and pa means poem. Venpa means a poem which is pure, in terms of tamil grammar and which will sit easily to a given taala and raaga.


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