Displaying items by tag: data
- Deur Benito Trollip -
//English follows below//
Die ganse wêreld is vol data, daardie brokkies inligting wat op een of ander manier hulle weg tot jou bewuste of onderbewuste vind. Dit kan die nuusberigte wees wat jy heeldag dophou, jou hartklop volgens jou slimtoestel, of selfs die nuwe woord en sy definisie wat jy vandag ontdek het. My woord vir die dag is besant – ŉ Bisantynse goue muntstuk. Uiteindelik is data ŉ baie breë begrip en is taaldata die spesifieke soort data waarmee ék die meeste werk – hoekom kom ŉ sekere woord op sekere plekke voor? Of waarom kom die woord nie op sekere plekke voor nie? Kom dit meer of minder as in die verlede voor? Wat beteken die woord in hierdie spesifieke konteks? Ek moet myself gereeld afvra wat die nommers en woorde beteken en waar kry ek my inligting, want ek kan helaas nie net sê wat ek wil nie, al wil ek reg wees en al my eie (slim) voorspellings bevestig. Behalwe vir die data wat ek ontdek, is dit ook belangrik om te weet ander mense het heel moontlik ander data en daar is in wese hierdie ekosisteem van data en interpretasies wat op dieselfde tyd bestaan.
ŉ Vaardigheid wat juis as gevolg van die oorvloed van beskikbare data al hoe belangriker word, is die bevraagtekening van die data wat jy (wil) gebruik of self wil skep. ŉ Mens behoort altyd te vra waar jy data vandaan kry, hoekom het die betrokke organisasie of individu hierdie data versamel en as jy dit wil hergebruik, is dit geskik vir jou eie doeleindes? Is daar voorwaardes vir die gebruik daarvan? ŉ Nuuskierige ingesteldheid oor data en moontlike gapings daarin, bied geleenthede om tot ŉ gesprek by te dra of menslike kennis oor verskynsels op te helder.
Kennis en insig kom uiteindelik tot stand deur data te interpreteer – wat op dees aarde beteken al hierdie woorde, grafieke, nommers en formules? Data het nie inherente betekenis nie, iewers skep mense betekenis en dit bly kernbelangrik om dit altyd in gedagte te hou wanneer data betrokke is.
What do we see when we look at data?
The world is flooded with data, those snippets of information that somehow find their way to your conscious or subconscious. It could be the news reports you monitor throughout the day, your heart rate according to your smart device, or even the new word and its definition you discovered today. My word for the day is bezant – a Byzantine gold coin. Ultimately data is a very broad concept and language data is the specific type of data I work with the most – why do certain words occur in certain places? Or why does the word not appear in certain places? Does it occur more or less than in the past? What does the word mean in this particular context? I often have to ask myself what the numbers and words mean and where I get my information from, because unfortunately I cannot just say what I want to, even though I want to be right and confirm all my own (smart) predictions. Apart from all of the data that I discover, it is also important to know that other people quite possibly have other data and there is essentially this ecosystem of data and interpretations that exist at the same time.
A skill that becomes increasingly important precisely because of the abundance of available data, is questioning the data that you (want to) use or want to create yourself. One should always ask where data comes from, why did the relevant organisation or individual collect this data and if you want to reuse it, is it suitable for your own purposes? Are there conditions attached to its use? A curious attitude about data and possible gaps therein offers opportunities to contribute to a conversation or elucidate human knowledge about phenomena.
In the end knowledge and insight are created by interpreting data – what on earth do all these words, graphs, numbers and formulas mean? Data does not have inherent meaning, somewhere people create meaning and it remains crucial to always keep this in mind when data is involved.
I was recently invited to join a webinar hosted by the Indigenous Language Action Forum, ILAF, (https://ilaf.co.za/) in short. It is an organisation that promotes indigenous languages, with the aim to ensure the active use of these languages in important sectors such as education, criminal justice, healthcare etc. The webinar was titled “Using the indigenous languages at universities: Why do it and can it work?”. It was a first of its kind for the organisation and it brought different people in advocating for the use of indigenous languages in higher education in one setting. What touched me about this organisation and the webinar itself was the concept of having a positive narrative for the use of indigenous languages. The idea was to have a conversation about languages without putting others down.
During the month of January, the isiXhosa researcher from the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR), the Siswati researcher and a programmer were fortune enough to be selected to attended a summer school in Pretoria, which was organised by the University of Pretoria’s Department of Information Science together with the Data-Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa (DIRISA), SADiLaR and Network of Data and Information Curation Communities (NeDICC). The CODATA-RDA Research Data summer school ran from 13 – 24 January 2020.
It was such a privilege to be part of the group of Africans to attend the first summer school presented in South Africa which provided a group of early career researchers with the essential data science skills which include technical skills and responsible research practices, to enable them to work with data in an effective and efficient manner required by the fast paced 21st century.
Author: Mieke Hofmeyr
Benito Trollip is the SADiLaR reseacher in the field of the Afrikaans language. When it comes to research he is especially interested in the ways in which meaning is constructed in language.
“I tend to focus on compounds and other word-forming processes and the way people choose to combine form and meaning. There are endless possibilities when it comes to constructing meaning and language is a literal house of abundance when it comes to these possibilities,” says Mr Trollip.
He is also interested in legal aspects of research with regards to intellectual property rights, ownership and the distribution of data. As a SADiLaR researcher, Mr Trollip is always busy discovering new ways to bring language and the digital age together. At the current moment he is finalising a dataset and article on denominal adjectives in Afrikaans, of which eend-agtig 'duck-like' is an example. He has also worked with a graphic designer colleague of his on a short video on intensified adjectives in Afrikaans, of which hond-warm literally 'dog hot > piping hot' is one.