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First Afrikaans grammar checker released

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The first-ever Afrikaans grammar checker for Microsoft Office has been released by the Centre for Text Technology (CTexT) of the North-West University.

The new grammar checker is currently in beta testing and users are encouraged to try it out and submit comments back to the developers.
Users who are interested in testing the free beta-version of the CTexT Afrikaanse Grammatikatoetser can log on to www.spel.co.za. The beta version will be available for two months and users are offered the opportunity to provide feedback on the grammar checker’s functionality. CTexT will make use of this feedback in order to make available the best possible product later this year.
In the past few years, CTexT has been involved in the development of spelling checkers for 10 South African languages and five African languages.
Spelling checkers for Afrikaans, isiZulu, Setswana, isiXhosa, Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa, isiNdebele, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga were developed for the Department of Arts and Culture, with a specific focus on texts that are written by government organisations. CTexT has also, as co-worker of Microsoft, developed lexical data for five African languages, namely Wolof, Igbo, Hausa, Kinyarwanda and Yoruba. This data can be used in a variety of language-technological applications, like spelling checkers.
“A grammar checker is quite a different matter to a spelling checker!”, says Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen, project leader and head of CTexT.
On the one hand a grammar checker must evaluate whether the language use in a text adheres to the grammatical requirements of a language and evaluate whether the language use in a text adheres to the conventions and rules.
The CTexT Afrikaanse Grammatikatoetser is the first Afrikaans grammar checker for Microsoft Office, and can identify a number of errors and indicate errors with regard to correts word choices (for example the correct use of the words rys, reis or ruis); whether one or two words should be used (for example the correct use of Oom hulle and Oom-hulle); and  correct grammatical constructs (for example lelik as opposed to lelike).
Apart from grammatical editing, a grammar checker can also determine whether the text adheres to certain style requirements, such as punctuation, consistency in language use and offensive words.