Archive for the 'Tamil' Category

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.