Giellatekno, Centre for Saami language technology at the University of Tromsø, started as a project for Saami grammatical analysis August 1st, 2001. In 2004 the project was extended to syntax as well.
In 2005 the Norwegian Saami parliament initiated Divvun, a project and a working group for making Saami proofing tools. Giellatekno and Divvun have ever since worked together on developing the morphological source code, but we have used these basic resources for different purposes. Divvun became a part of the University of Tromsø in 2011, but is still organised as a separate group.
In 2007 Giellatekno started working with interactive pedagogical programs, first with a North Saami version of VISL, in cooperation with Syd-Dansk Universitet, then with the language learning program Oahpa. The first version of Oahpa was made for North Saami, later we also made a version for South Saami, and today we have experimental versions for other languages as well.
Giellatekno also works with electronic dictionaries, where we unify grammatical analysis and dictionaries into programs making it possible to click directly in the text, and get both grammatical analysis and dictionary entry, also for inflected forms.
Language tools, like proofing tools, text processing tools, language learning programs, digital dictionaries and text-to-speech are a prerequisite for any language wanting to survive in a modern society. Giellatekno's goal is to make such programs accessible for the Saami languages, and to make it easier also for other minority language societies to produce such programs.
Our linguistic philosophy is that programs for linguistic analysis should be funded on deep linguistic knowledge, rather than inferring everything from data using statistical principles ("Don't guess, if you know"). We also want the analysis to take the word forms as a starting point, and build the syntactic analysis bottom-up, rather than vice versa. In this way we are able to build analysers that are both robust but at the same time give deep rather than shallow linguistic analyses. These analysers form the basis both for practical programs for end users and for advanced linguistic research.