Coding exceptions with patter-matching

Martin von Loewis loewis at
Sat Oct 27 21:24:36 CEST 2001

tiago.tresoldi at (Tiago Tresoldi) writes:

> Now I've found a problem dealing with exceptions in human languages.
> For example, how to code that you have feet instead of foots?

If your current approach is to start with a word-by-word translation,
I'd say you can give up right now - there is no chance that you'll
ever achieve reasonable translation of natural languages.

There are many problems in such an approach, including:
- word order in different languages is different,
- common word groups don't translate literally,
- words in the source language get their meaning only in context,
- ...

For example, with a word-by-word translation of the first quoted
sentence, I'd get

"Nun ich habe gefunden ein Problem handelnd mit Ausnahmen in
menschliche Sprachen."

whereas the proper translation would be

"Nun habe ich ein Problem in Bezug auf die Ausnahmen in natürlichen
 Sprachen gefunden".

To properly translate natural language, you not only need to know the
vocabulary of the language, but also its morphology and grammar.

Computer linguistics is a whole science of its own; I suggest that you
familiarize yourself with its concepts. Here is a number of starting


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