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Morpho-Phonological Modelling in Natural Language Processing

Authors: Eleni Galiotou, Angela Ralli


In this paper we propose a computational model for the representation and processing of morpho-phonological phenomena in a natural language, like Modern Greek. We aim at a unified treatment of inflection, compounding, and word-internal phonological changes, in a model that is used for both analysis and generation. After discussing certain difficulties cuase by well-known finitestate approaches, such as Koskenniemi-s two-level model [7] when applied to a computational treatment of compounding, we argue that a morphology-based model provides a more adequate account of word-internal phenomena. Contrary to the finite state approaches that cannot handle hierarchical word constituency in a satisfactory way, we propose a unification-based word grammar, as the nucleus of our strategy, which takes into consideration word representations that are based on affixation and [stem stem] or [stem word] compounds. In our formalism, feature-passing operations are formulated with the use of the unification device, and phonological rules modeling the correspondence between lexical and surface forms apply at morpheme boundaries. In the paper, examples from Modern Greek illustrate our approach. Morpheme structures, stress, and morphologically conditioned phoneme changes are analyzed and generated in a principled way.

Keywords: Morpho-Phonology, Natural Language Processing.

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