Minimally supervised induction of morphology through bitexts
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A knowledge of morphology can be useful for many natural language processing systems. Thus, much effort has been expended in developing accurate computational tools for morphology that lemmatize, segment and generate new forms. The most powerful and accurate of these have been manually encoded, such endeavors being without exception expensive and time-consuming. There have been consequently many attempts to reduce this cost in the development of morphological systems through the development of unsupervised or minimally supervised algorithms and learning methods for acquisition of morphology. These efforts have yet to produce a tool that approaches the performance of manually encoded systems. Here, I present a strategy for dealing with morphological clustering and segmentation in a minimally supervised manner but one that will be more linguistically informed than previous unsupervised approaches. That is, this study will attempt to induce clusters of words from an unannotated text that are inflectional variants of each other. Then a set of inflectional suffixes by part-of-speech will be induced from these clusters. This level of detail is made possible by a method known as alignment and transfer (AT), among other names, an approach that uses aligned bitexts to transfer linguistic resources developed for one language–the source language–to another language–the target. This approach has a further advantage in that it allows a reduction in the amount of training data without a significant degradation in performance making it useful in applications targeted at data collected from endangered languages. In the current study, however, I use English as the source and German as the target for ease of evaluation and for certain typlogical properties of German. The two main tasks, that of clustering and segmentation, are approached as sequential tasks with the clustering informing the segmentation to allow for greater accuracy in morphological analysis. While the performance of these methods does not exceed the current roster of unsupervised or minimally supervised approaches to morphology acquisition, it attempts to integrate more learning methods than previous studies. Furthermore, it attempts to learn inflectional morphology as opposed to derivational morphology, which is a crucial distinction in linguistics.