Jérôme Lulling and Emanuele Prestifilippo have developed a Luxembourgish writing assistant and website called saz.lu.
Jérôme Lulling was born in Luxembourg and studied linguistics in Montpellier, France. He has been a leading figure in preservation and educational efforts relating to the Luxembourgish language. He currently teaches Luxembourgish at the INLL.lu (National Institute of Languages) and for the VDL.lu (Ville de Luxembourg).
When asked about the motivation behind the project, he replied "When I wrote my PhD thesis about the lexical creativity in Luxembourgish (from 1997-2002), I noticed how helpful a spell checker would be to help us Luxembourgers observe the official Luxembourgish orthography."
He then stared the "C.ORT.IN.A" project thanks to the CPLL.lu and to the Ministry of Education and Research, which was the language’s first computer spell checker between 2000 and 2002.
"During my work on the C.ORT.IN.A project I noticed that we could also add some basic grammar rules. Unfortunately, the project was cancelled in 2002 but I was completely convinced that not only a spell checker but also a grammar checker for Luxembourgish could be done."
Lulling also developed other tools, such as tutorials on YouTube to learn Luxembourgish, online crosswords and the 'Sproochespill' for RTL.lu or online exercises that you will find on www.exercice.lu. He is also the co-author of Luxdico, an online Luxembourgish dictionary.
Lulling met Emanuele Prestifilippo in July 2022, at a ceremony organised by the City of Luxembourg, where he received a certificate for participating in a Luxembourgish course. Prestifilippo studied computer science in Italy before moving to Luxembourg in 2015, where he currently works as an IT consultant and Scrum Master.
"He told me how difficult it was for him to get information about the context of certain Luxembourgish words. He needed sentences to show him how certain Luxembourgish words are being used. He had already programmed a little tool with sentences in it and showed it to me." This was the birth of Saz.lu.
In their joint project, Saz.lu, you'll find something called - a concordancer and a spell checker.
© @luxdico youtube
What is a concordancer? It's a tool that allows you to enter a word or a phrase into the search engine which in turn gives you multiple examples of how the word or phrase is used in everyday speech or writing. This allows you to see how your chosen word is used in a phrase, and helps you comprehend linguistic placement.
How is this tool useful for people who are learning Luxembourgish?
"The error analysis is incredibly useful for people who learn Luxembourgish. My students use Saz.lu for their homework and the results are phenomenal." Students are prone to making the same grammatical mistakes and questions keep on recurring such as "when does the -n drop depending on the following word?" or "what is the gender of a word?".
"And they keep saying: Ech gär drénke Waasser. (I like to drink water).
But it is: Ech drénke gär Waasser. (I drink with pleasure water)."
"We analyse the different layers of common mistakes, then we try to find new rules that we can implement into our tool to detect these mistakes and if possible, give the correct suggestions."
You go to the website and type in "Moien". The search engine then provides, thanks to the extensive resources (Rtl.lu, Eldo.lu,...), a number of examples where "Moien" appears in a sentence.
© @luxdico youtube
This spell checker is not your usual correct-spelling-mistakes one. This spell checker even has grammatical error detection! Although it is still not fully developed and remains a work in progress, it highlights minor grammatical mistakes and even gives you a small explanation on why it's incorrect.
For now, the tool incorporates only about 100 grammar rules. As a comparison, Lulling gave us the example of Trinka.ai, the grammar checker for English, which has about 3000+ grammar rules.
This is also the first Luxembourgish grammar spell checker!
© @luxdico youtube
On his youtube chanel Luxdico, you will not only find the full demonstration (in English) of Saz.lu, but also a number of other language-learning videos that will help you better understand the Duchy's native language.