#TNOAN (The Name Of A Name, November 15, 2014):

SynTalk thinks about the act and the modality of naming ourselves and the (undifferentiated flux of the) world around us, & constantly wonders whether the world gets created when we name it. The concepts are derived off / from Panini, Frege, Russell, Premchand, Zipf, Searle, Kripke, & Probal Dasgupta, among others. Are variables or pronouns (‘this’ & ‘that’) or verbs born before the names? What cannot be named (what is between green and blue?), and is the process of naming ever complete? How a massive chunk of the world cannot be named. How is the process of naming different for a computer compared to a human being? Is naming or un-naming a neutral process? Why it is essential to name a musical note (why Re, Komal Re, & AtiKomal Re?). How the cognitive significance of a name tells us something about frequency of occurrence. Is it possible to experience the musical notes without knowing the names of the notes? Does the object or the new born child suggest its own name, and how does baptism (or naming samskara) happen? How arbitrary is naming, and what do conventions, programming aesthetics, gestures, & culture have to do with it? What role does a neither-accepted-nor-rejected legacy play in the process of naming? How names transfer during language contact? How names represent the world from a trans-historical perspective? Can names be equated to a cluster of descriptions or are their modal profiles different? How we can name by not naming (say in taboo, euphemisms, ellipsis). Are names links between two or more face to face ‘pointing’ interactions? How does one discretize a (variably grained) conceptual world? How all Proper Names need not be proper nouns (what is water?). How Named Entity Recognition (NER) is central to the process of machine translation or transliteration, & how does one (generally speaking) shift from ‘low gaze’ to ‘high gaze’ to interpret the world? How names are not nouns but noun-phrases? Does sign language need to have names? Are names independent of language? Can you guess someone’s name by looking at her? The links between names, horses, feminist movement, caste system, homonymy, & globalization. How short will names get in the future? The SynTalkrs are: Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya (computer science & engineering, IITB, Mumbai), Dr. Girish Nath Jha (computational linguistics, JNU, Delhi), & Dr. Avinash Pandey (linguistics, Mumbai University, Mumbai).

SynTalk is pleased and privileged to have hosted the following SynTalkrs (in alphabetical order) on its #TNOAN show.

Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya (computer science, natural language processing) is the Vijay and Sita Vashee Chair Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), Mumbai, where he heads the Center for Natural Language Processing. He studied at IIT Kharagpur (B.Tech.), IIT Kanpur (M.Tech.) and IIT Bombay (Ph.D.) during which he was a visiting scholar at MIT, Cambridge, USA. Prof. Bhattacharyya has published over 200 articles for leading conferences and journals. He has also advised 14 Ph.Ds in NLP & ML, and is currently supervising 11 Ph.D. students. He has also advised close to 125 masters students & above 40 bachelor degree students for their research work. He has been the recipient of a number of recognitions including VNMM award of IIT Roorkee, expert speaker in multilingual computation in the prestigious Dagstuhl Seminar, Germany (2012), Yahoo Faculty Award (2011), Manthan Award (2009; given by Ministry of IT, India & Digital India Foundation), IIT Bombay’s P. K. Patwardhan Award for Technology Development (2008), and the IBM Faculty Award (2007).

Dr. Girish Nath Jha (sanskrit, computational linguistics) is Associate Professor at the Special Center for Sanskrit Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University specializing in Computational Linguistics. His research interests include Indian languages corpora and standards, Sanskrit and Hindi linguistics, Science & Technology in Sanskrit texts, Computational Lexicography, Machine Translation, web based technologies, RDBMS techniques and localization. Dr. Jha completed his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Linguistics from JNU & then completed another masters degree in Linguistics (specializing in Natural Language Interface) from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, USA. He has done collaborative research with the Center for Indic Studies, University of Massachusetts, USA, as the ‘Mukesh and Priti Chatter Distinguished Professor of History of Science’ during 2009-12. He was recently awarded DAAD fellowship to teach Computational Linguistics in the Digital Humanities department at University of Wurzburg, Germany. Dr. Jha runs several sponsored projects for Indian language technology development & is currently heading a consortium of 17 Indian universities / institutes for developing Indian language corpora and standards.

Dr. Avinash Pandey (linguistics, philosophy) is the Assistant Professor & the Head of the Department of Linguistics, University of Mumbai. His areas of research interest include Development of Linguistic Theory, Language and Philosophy, Language Culture and Nation, and Linguistic Landscapes. He has recently published on Globalization and Language Conflicts, Right to Education and the future of our languages, Freedom, language and Right to Education Act. He has also initiated the Panini Linguistics Olympiad as an outreach program in the year 2012-13. Besides conducting the Panini Linguistics Olympiad at the national level, he also conducted basic workshops and the orientation cum selection workshop for the program. He is currently working on projects like Pronunciation Lexicon of Marathi, Structuralist conception of Orality & Linguistic Landscape of Vasai. [Note: Also a SynTalkr on #TPAD (The Patterns And Distributions)]

Note: Any & all errors in the brief profiles above are SynTalk’s own.

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