Morphological analyser

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Morphological transducers

A morphological transducer is just a directed graph. It consists of nodes (numbered below) and arcs (with labels), with a starting node (0 below) and an ending node (16 below).

Simple transducer.png

You follow the arcs that are available from your input. The only acceptable paths are ones that start from starting node and end at the ending node. You may match your input to either side of the arc's label (separated by : above), and the other side is returned as output.

In the transducer above, the left side is the form and the right side is the analysis. If you match your input to the left side (the form), then your output will be the right side (the analysis)—this is morphological analysis. Likewise, if you follow the transducer by matching your input to the right side (the analysis) and output the left side (the form), then you are performing morphological generation.

An example of a complete path is w:w o:o l:l v:f e:<n> s:<pl>. The left/form side of this spells wolves and the right/analysis side of this spells wolf<n><pl>. Mapping between one and the other is as simple as taking one as input and following the path—by outputting the other side of each arc, you will get the other as output!

Question: What are all the possible paths provided by this transducer?

The formalism we use (lexc)

Transducers are pretty cool, and quite efficient... for computers. Following paths by hand is tedious, and drawing a transducer for anything more complex than the example above is torture. See the transducer below for Tuvan.

Tuvan transducer.png

This transducer provides the combinations of about 8 case marker, 5 possessive morphemes, and the plural marker for three Tuvan nouns.

An example is өг>{L}{A}р>{i}м>{D}{A}н mapping to өг<n><pl><px1sg><abl>, meaning "from my houses". The analysis side is clear to anyone familiar with tags (and knowing that "өг" means "house"). The form side is actually something that will get fixed by morphophonology, which we'll worry about later (for now: letters like {L} can be realised in a variety of ways, and > is used as a morpheme boundary); the actual orthographic form is өглеримден.

Question: How can we quantify the complexity of this graph?

Fortunately, we don't have to draw this graph by hand. We can simply define the various sections of it and link them together with a straightforward formalism called lexc. A section of a lexc file that corresponds (mostly) to the graph above looks like the following:


%<gen%>:%>%{N%}{I%}ң # ;
%<acc%>:%>%{N%}%{I%} # ;
%<dat%>:%>%{G%}%{A%} # ;
%<loc%>:%>%{D%}%{A%} CLITICS-COPULA ;
%<abl%>:%>%{D%}%{A%}н # ;
%<all%>:%>%{J%}е # ;
%<all%>:%>%{D%}%{I%}в%{A%} # ; ! Dir/LR


%<px1sg%>:%>%{i%}м CASES ;
%<px2sg%>:%>%{i%}ң CASES ;
%<px3sp%>:%>%{z%}%{I%}%{n%} CASES ;
%<px1pl%>:%>%{i%}в%{I%}с CASES ;
%<px2pl%>:%>%{i%}ң%{A%}р CASES ;




%<pl%>:%>%{L%}%{A%}р N-INFL-COMMON ;


%<n%>%<attr%>: # ;
%<n%>: SUBST ;


өг:өг N1 ; ! "yurt"
аът:аът N1 ; ! "horse"
ном:ном N1 ; ! "book"


  • What is % doing?
  • What is ! doing?
  • What is : doing?
  • How are the continuation lexica (LEXICONs) connected?
  • What is ; doing?
  • What is # doing?
  • What is mentioned in this code that isn't in the graph above?
  • What is not mentioned in this code that is in the graph above?
  • Can you match sections of the graph to sections of the code?

In-class exercise


The assignment

This assignment will be due on Thursday of the 5th week of class before class starts (this semester: 11:20am on Thursday, February 16th, 2017).

This assignment is to develop a morphological analyser that implements a good deal of the basic morphology of your language.

  1. Bootstrap a transducer for your language.
  2. Initialise the module (./, and compile it (make).
    • If this is successful, you should have several "modes" available; run apertium -d . -l to see.
    • One mode should be an xyz-moprh mode; this is your analyser. Check it by running echo "houses" | apertium -d . xyz-morph , which should give you a morphological analysis of the word "houses".
  3. Add all of the tags you came up with during the Grammar documentation assignment to the Multicchar_Symbols section of the file. Provide a symbol, and a brief comment explaining what the symbol means.
  4. Add all of the stems from your Grammar documentation assignment, and categorise them correctly so that all of your tests pass.
  5. Housekeeping:
    1. Add yourself to the AUTHORS file.
    2. Make sure the COPYING file contains an open-source license of your liking (default should be GPL3).
    3. Add a link to the transducer to the list of resources you developed for your language on the language's page on this wiki.