Sexy Models

Well, maybe sexy is too strong a word for most people. But if you are like me, then data modeling is sexy. And if that is the case then Kotoba can be particularly sexy.

One of the main objectives at this point in Kotoba’s development is ensuring the entity-relationships are modeled correctly. While no easy task, it is something that has been growing organically through trial and error and a fair bit of research into other projects.

Remember, while Kotoba is currently geared toward Japanese one of the goals is to ensure, as best as possible, something that can be more universal. That said, ironically, the most challenging task thus far is to sufficiently normalize characters rather than for words due to the numerous normalized, language-based character attributes that one might wish to track.

Overview of Kotoba's entity-relationships circa March 2009
Overview of Kotoba's entity-relationships circa March 2009. Click to enlarge.

How Do You Spell β?

In an attempt to help clarify where Kotoba is at, we have appropriately adorned Kotoba with a β (beta) moniker to help ensure everyone knows what to expect. And by “what to expect” I mean to expect Google’s definition of beta; usable but constantly growing in functionality.

How Kotoba says β in Japanese
Kotoba says β in
Kotoba Says β in English
Kotoba Says β in

For the curious, I used Gimp and this great tutorial to help create the images.

Kotoba Making Friends

Kotoba wants to be your friend!

In what will be an interesting experiment in social networking, Kotoba now befriends other Twitter users who make posts that match a predefined list of words or the word of the moment. The idea is for Kotoba to reach out to like-minded Twitters in hopes they are interested in learning a new language. Let me know what you think: for, against, or indifferent.

Lost? Find Found in Translation

Some years (ahem, many) years ago I met the quite interesting fellow, Dave Malinowski, while a student at the University of Kanazawa, Japan. (For those in the know, we call it 金大. Tokyo cannot have all the fun.)

At the time I recall Dave being an amazingly adaptable and capable linguist who was comfortable in every setting, every culture, every language. Needless to say, we both admired and envied his near savant levels with language; the rest of us laggards struggling far behind.

Flash forward to today. Dave is now in Berkeley doing what he does best: bridging cultures with a wonderfully titled site, Found in Translation. Dave has a number of articles in English and Japanese that you can read more at here. And for those who are learning Japanese, take some heart, or solace, in reading Dave’s post on the horrors of kanji.

As an aspiring student of Japanese who believes that language acquisition is more just the bricks and mortar (words and grammar), I find Dave and his colleagues work inspiring. They are doing a wonderful job of providing a meaningful forum for persons yearning for that singular, shared dream: understanding.

Kudos, Dave!