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Section: Scientific Foundations

Word structure and automata for computational morphology

Participant : Gérard Huet [ correspondent ] .

Computational models for phonology and morphology are a traditional application of finite state technology [48] , [49] , [50] , [31] . These models often combine symbolic or logical systems, like rewriting systems, and statistical methods like probabilistic automata which can be learnt from corpus by Hidden Markov Models [55] .

Morphology is described by means of regular transducers and regular relations, and lexical data bases, as well as tables of phonological and morphological rules are compiled or interpreted by algebraic operations on automata.

The existing techniques for compiling such machinery are rather confidential, while any naive approach leads to a combinatorial explosion. When transformation rules are local, it is possible to compile them into an invertible transducer directly obtained from the tree which encodes the lexicon.

A generic notion of sharing allows to have compact representation of such automata. Gérard Huet has implemented a toolkit based on this technique, which allows a very efficient automatical segmentation of a continuous phonologic text.

This study of the linear structure of language and of word structures is by itself sufficient for applications like orthographic correctors and text mining. Furthermore, this preprocessing is required for the analysis of other layers of natural language like syntax, semantics, pragmatics, etc.


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