Morphology

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 565–598 | Cite as

Learning from the computational modelling of Plains Cree verbs

  • Atticus G. Harrigan
  • Katherine Schmirler
  • Antti Arppe
  • Lene Antonsen
  • Trond Trosterud
  • Arok Wolvengrey
Article
  • 70 Downloads

Abstract

This paper describes the ongoing process of creating a computational morphological model of Plains Cree, a language native to North America, making use of finite-state machines, and with a focus on verbs. We cover prior linguistic theoretical and descriptive models of Plains Cree, moving on to the computational implementation of (chiefly) inflectional phenomena, followed by relevant morphophonological processes. We evaluate the performance of our computational implementation with a hand-verified corpus of Plains Cree, and present a discussion of the morphological complexity found in the corpus, as compared to that of our model and its theoretical underpinnings. The results of this evaluation and research into natural language use inform us about the practical extent of morphological complexity for a polysynthetic language, and allow us to identify avenues for improvement of the model. Finally, this computational model for Plains Cree offers the opportunity to create various digital tools and applications for language users for the maintenance and revitalization of this language in the 21st century.

Keywords

Plains Cree Computational modelling Finite state transducer Morphological modelling 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers and the guest editors of this issue for their helpful and insightful comments, as well as Dustin Bowers for his comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper. Moreover, we appreciate the comments, feedback and suggestions we received during the Workshop on Computational Methods for Descriptive and Theoretical Morphology organized by Olivier Bonami and Benoît Sagot at the 17th International Morphology Meeting.

This research was made possible by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (# 890-2013-0047), a SSHRC Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master’s), a Kule Institute for Advanced Study (KIAS) Research Cluster Grant, and a Killam Cornerstones Grant (University of Alberta).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Atticus G. Harrigan
    • 1
  • Katherine Schmirler
    • 1
  • Antti Arppe
    • 1
  • Lene Antonsen
    • 2
  • Trond Trosterud
    • 3
  • Arok Wolvengrey
    • 4
  1. 1.University of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Universitetet i Tromsø—Norges arktiske universitetTromsoNorway
  3. 3.Universitetet i Tromsø—Norges arktiske universitetTromsoNorway
  4. 4.First Nations University of CanadaReginaCanada

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