This is the home page for An Gramadóir, an open source grammar checking engine. It is intended as a platform for the development of sophisticated natural language processing tools for languages with limited computational resources. It is currently implemented for the Irish language (Gaeilge); upon its release in 2003 this was, to the best of my knowledge, the first grammar checker developed for any minority language. Ports have been attempted for Afrikaans, Akan, Cornish, Esperanto, French, Hiligaynon, Icelandic, Igbo, Languedocien, Scottish Gaelic, Samoan, Tagalog, Walloon, and Welsh; see the Developers' Guide for more information on porting.
When I first created An Gramadóir, the only meaning of the Irish word gramadóir was “grammarian” or “grammar expert”. In recent years, it has taken on the additional meaning of a (generic) grammar checker; I don't know if I had any influence on this terminological choice! If you're curious about the pronounciation, you can now listen to the word as it's pronounced by (an older version of) the wonderful Irish speech synthesizer abair.ie.
- (January 2020): Jim O'Regan has created an Irish version of the grammar checker LanguageTool based on the rules from An Gramadóir.
- (May 2019): Eoin Daltún has created a Google Docs plugin for An Gramadóir using the public API.
- (January 2019): The Phonetics and Speech Laboratory at Trinity College, Dublin has incorporated An Gramadóir into An Scéalaí, on online learning platform for Irish.
- (April 2018): I've released a public API for An Gramadóir so developers can incorporate grammar checking into their own web sites and apps.
- (March 2018): An Gramadóir is now hosted at cadhan.com; RIP borel.slu.edu!
- (March 2014): You can now use An Gramadóir within LibreOffice thanks to an extension developed by Ciarán Campbell and the company Dúrud with funding from COGG.
- (June 2010): Our friends at the site scriobh.ie are seeking volunteers to help integrate An Gramadóir into OpenOffice.org Writer.
- (March 2010): Article in the first edition of Gaelscéal about Anois, a combination of the grammar checker and my thesaurus in one package.
- (May 2009): Review of Ceart and GaelSpell in the Irish magazine nós*.
- (March 2009): Diarmaid Mac Mathúna interviewed on Ronan Beo.
- (March 2009): Ceart and GaelSpell featured on the RTÉ News!
- (March 2009): There's an article by Pól Ó Muirí about Ceart in the Irish Times.
- (August 2008): Version 0.7 of the gramadoir engine released.
- (June 2008): I gave a presentation on An Gramadóir at the NAACLT conference at the University of Rio Grande in Ohio.
- (May 2008): Ceart was named to the Barr-50 Gnó le Gaeilge — a list of the top 50 businesses that make use of the Irish language.
- (October 2007): Diarmaid Mac Mathúna was interviewed about Ceart and GaelSpell on the Raidió na Gaeltachta program Glór Aniar.
- (January 2007): Article about Ceart in the Galway Advertiser.
- (December 2006): Kevin Donnelly has launched an online version of Welsh Gramadóir called Klebran.
- (July 2006): Ceart, a standalone GUI version of the Irish grammar checker, has been released by Cruinneog.
FeaturesAn Gramadóir is:
- Portable. As of version 0.5 the core engine is written entirely in Perl which means it will run on just about anything that plugs in. It has been tested on a variety of platforms and operating systems: Linux (x86, ppc, amd64), *BSD (x86), Sun Solaris, DEC alpha, Mac OSX, and Windows.
- Modular. The Perl module provides separate interfaces for sentence segmentation, spell checking, part-of-speech tagging, and grammar checking. These components provide a platform for the development of applications for much more complex natural language processing tasks (e.g. parsing, machine translation).
- Easy to use. There is a simple command line interface that reads text from standard input and writes errors to standard output (you can see some actual output on the Sampler page). Or, you can try the software now using the Web Interface. There are also interfaces that allow the grammar checker to be called from the text editors emacs, vim, and OpenOffice. Last but not least, if you have a Mac you can try the Java front-end Ceart developed by Cruinneog.
- Corpus-based. Various components of the engine can be bootstrapped from corpora harvested by my web crawling software An Crúbadán. This is essential for languages with severely limited resources, allowing rapid development with a minimum of effort.
- Easy to develop. I've tried to design the language developers' pack so that no programming experience is needed. All Perl code is generated automatically from a number of (hopefully simple) plain text input files. This is especially important for minority languages where in many cases there is a lack of trained linguists, software developers, or both.
- Scalable. With as little as an hour or two of work (editing word lists output by my web crawler) a developer can have a decent spell checking package up and running. On the other hand, the engine is flexible enough to allow for full-scale grammar checking (as evidenced by the rococo Irish version).
- Language independent. (More or less). Most open source language technology is designed with (Indo-)European languages in mind. To counter this trend I've included things like full Unicode support and better support for the rich morphological phenomena found in many non-European languages.
- Free Software. It is released under the GNU General Public License which means (roughly speaking) that you are free to copy, modify, or even sell this software as long as redistributed versions preserve these same freedoms.