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gNiall -- The GNOME Non-Intelligent AMOS Language Learner
Gary Benson <rat@spunge.org>        http://rat.spunge.org
=========================================================

     gNiall attempts to learn whatever language you try to teach it by
breaking down the sentences and remembering the connections between words.
See `How it works' for more details, or see `How to use it' to find that
out. It is a complete rewrite of an Amiga program, Niall, that was written
by Matthew Peck in 1990.


Contents
--------

	Installation
	No GNOME?
	How to use it
	History
	How it works 


Installation
------------

     To install gNiall on your system you need GNOME installed, and of
course all the things that GNOME needs. See http://www.gnome.org for
details about that.

Once you have untarred the sources, cd into the gNiall directory and type:
	./configure
	make
	su
	make install

Then, you can type gNiall anywhere and it will run. If you get fed up of 
it, then you can remove it by typing:

	su
	make uninstall

from the directory containing the source.

     The file INSTALL contains generic instructions for using the
configure script, or you can type ./configure --help to see a list of
options.


No GNOME?
---------

     If you don't have GNOME, there is a console-only version. Inside the
gNiall directory, type:

	mv otherStuff/console.c .
	gcc niall.c console.c -o cNiall

And you will have a console-only version to play with. There are some
commands to do various things:

	#new	 - Clear the dictionary
	#load	 - Load a dictionary
	#save	 - Save the dictionary
	#list	 - List the dictionary
	#correct - Correct a spelling
	#exit	 - Quit

But it isn't nearly as pretty or easy to use as the GNOME version.


How to use it
-------------

     This is simplicity itself.  At the bottom of the window is a box into
which you can type sentences. It is not necessary to finish your sentence
with a full stop if you only type one sentence, but you can type more than
one in at once, separated by full stops. It is perfectly legal to type:

	The cat sat on the mat. The cat was called George.

Niall treats commas as if they were full stops, so it is probably better
to just omit them.

Once you press return, Niall will then reply and you can enter another
sentence. If you just press return without entering anything, Niall will
say something anyway. If you just press return when Niall has no
vocabulary, the message "I cannot speak yet!" will be displayed.

     After a while, you can build up huge dictionaries of words, and it
will merrily talk rubbish at you. What fun! The dictionaries can be saved and
loaded using the entries in the file menu, and there is also the facility to
correct mis-spelt words. Selecting `View Dictionary' from the File menu will
produce a representation of the dictionary, which is explained in more detail
in the `How it works' section below.


History
-------

     The original Niall was written in AMOS, a kind of BASIC for Amigas,
but it could only cope with about 500 words and, of course, could only be
used if you had an Amiga (or an emulator). So I rewrote it in C, mainly
to learn how to write GNOME programs, and to find out how automake/
autoconf works. If you are interested, the original AMOS source is in
the otherStuff directory, as is its original documentation. The functional
enhancements made in gNiall are:

    * The number of words that Niall can remember are now limited only by
       the amount of memory that you have.
    * Mis-spelt words may be corrected in a more wholesome way than before.


How it works (nearly verbatim from the original manual)
------------------------------------------------------

Niall attempts to learn English, or whatever language you care to teach it,
by breaking down the sentences you type in, remembering words, connections
between words, the number of times a particular connection has occurred, and
start/end sentence markers.
     The best was to explain is by example.  Suppose the first sentence you
typed was:

	  The large green tree was next to the old red shed

     Niall would split the sentence into separate words and store any new
words it found (Niall's vocabulary is initially blank!).
It would then store the following information:

1.....The word THE can begin a sentence.
2.....The word LARGE can follow the word THE.
3.....The word GREEN can follow the word LARGE...etc
4.....The word SHED can end a sentence.

Therefore after analysing this sentence, NIALL has learnt 10 new words
and knows that the word THE can not only start a sentence by also
join onto both LARGE and OLD. This can be expressed as 
follows:


       /----------<---------------<----------------<----------\
(Start)\-THE --- LARGE -- GREEN -- TREE -- WAS -- NEXT -- TO--/
	    \
	     \--- OLD --- RED --- SHED(End)

Niall then replies to your sentence by picking a random word which can begin
the sentence, followed by one of the words which can join onto it selected
at random, then one which can join onto it, and so on until the end of
sentence marker is reached.  Therefore, NIALL may reply to your first 
sentence like so:

			The old red shed.

The more sentences you type in the more words Niall will learn, the more
connections it will make and the more original the replies will seem.
  Replies must be taken with a pinch of salt since the grammar will be
anything but perfect.  A semi intelligent version which attempts to learn
grammar too, may appear at a later date.

Niall also remember the number of times a particular connection is made in
order to weight the replies and make them sound more realistic. For example,
if the second sentence you type is:

		The old garden gate was blue

Niall now knows that the word THE joins onto the word OLD more 
often than it joins to LARGE.  The table above now looks like this:

       /----------<---------------<----------------<----------\
(Start)\-THE --- LARGE -- GREEN -- TREE -- WAS -- NEXT -- TO -/
	   \\                            /  /
	     === OLD - RED - SHED (End) /  -BLUE (End)
		     \                 /
		      - GARDEN - GATE-/ 

Niall could now reply:
	The old garden gate was next to the old red shed.

      To look at the vocabulary that Niall has built up, select `View
Dictionary' from the File menu. If you had typed in the two sentences above,
then the output would look like this:

   0: > 2| 1(2)
   1: the 3| 8(2) 2(1)
   2: large 1| 3(1)
   3: green 1| 4(1)
   4: tree 1| 5(1)
   5: was 2| 13(1) 6(1)
   6: next 1| 7(1)
   7: to 1| 1(1)
   8: old 2| 11(1) 9(1)
   9: red 1| 10(1)
  10: shed 1| -1(1)
  11: garden 1| 12(1)
  12: gate 1| 5(1)
  13: blue 1| -1(1)

Word 0 (>) is an empty word which is used to start the sentence. The 2| means
that there are 2 possible next words, and the 1(2) means that both those
possibilities are word 1 (The). The word -1 (as in `13: blue 1| -1(1)') means
end-of-sentence.


=========================================================
Gary Benson <rat@spunge.org>        http://rat.spunge.org