Open Philology Challenge

The Open Philology Project plans to revolutionize the availability and teaching of historical languages, including Greek and Latin. We want to allow students to contribute directly to philological research, no matter what their skill level, through the production of morphosyntactic data and aligned translations. To do this, we need to  lower the barrier to entry by modularizing these tasks–creating fun, collaborative games that present users with manageable portions of textual data for analysis. These games and exercises should both contribute our data and be able to help these users learn new vocabulary and grammatical concepts.


We’re looking for your help in designing innovative exercises and quizzes. Instead of being presented with a full sentence for analysis, for example, how can students only align a phrase with its translation, or only diagram an adjective and noun, and how can this process be as rewarding (and educational!) as possible?

We’d also love to crowdsource some of this development to classrooms, so teachers and even students to design games and exercises themselves. We’d like your help in designing a platform to support this.

Challenge #1: Aligned translation

Using a tool to align translations, pick an already-available Greek, Latin, or Classical Arabic text from our repository along with an existing English translation. Align the words of a sentence using our tools, download the XML data, and create a quiz that would evaluate a student attempting to reproduce the alignment you made!

Challenge #2: Treebanking

We’ll give you an XML data file of a morpho-syntactically analyzed Greek or Latin text. Using the file, try to create a game or exercise for a student trying to reproduce the data!

Challenge #3: Platforms

Looking at the two types of data files from the Challenge #1 and Challenge #2, think about ways to create a platform where teachers could easily construct different kinds of games and exercises to respond to the particular needs of their class while working and contributing to the same datasets, but all without forcing the teachers to write a single line of code. If you pick this challenge, use your imagination and don’t be limited by a particular domain. For example, your response to this challenge could be creative–a drawing of a possible interface, or techie–a diagram of possible architecture. Come by our table at the hack day to learn more! Alternatively, feel free to visit or check out to explore our data on your own time.

This challenge is being run by Stella Dee.