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Automatic extraction of typological linguistic features from descriptive grammars

Conference paper
Authors Shafqat Virk
Lars Borin
Anju Saxena
Harald Hammarström
Published in Text, Speech, and Dialogue 20th International Conference, TSD 2017, Prague, Czech Republic, August 27-31, 2017, Proceedings / edited by Kamil Ekštein, Václav Matoušek.
ISBN 978-3-319-64205-5
ISSN 0302-9743
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Swedish
Language en
Keywords Information extraction, Language typology, Semantic parsing, Typological database, linguistic typology, areal linguistics, Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman
Subject categories Language Technology (Computational Linguistics), Computational linguistics, General Language Studies and Linguistics, Linguistics, Other languages


The present paper describes experiments on automatically extracting typological linguistic features of natural languages from traditional written descriptive grammars. The feature-extraction task has high potential value in typological, genealogical, historical, and other related areas of linguistics that make use of databases of structural features of languages. Until now, extraction of such features from grammars has been done manually, which is highly time and labor consuming and becomes prohibitive when extended to the thousands of languages for which linguistic descriptions are available. The system we describe here starts from semantically parsed text over which a set of rules are applied in order to extract feature values. We evaluate the system’s performance on the manually curated Grambank database as the gold standard and report the first measures of precision and recall for this problem.

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