Arabic Computational Morphology: A Trade-off Between Multiple Operations and Multiple Stems

  • Violetta Cavalli-Sforza
  • Abdelhadi Soudi
Part of the Text, Speech and Language Technology book series (TLTB, volume 38)


We present a computational approach to Arabic morphology description that draws from Lexeme-Based Morphology (Aronoff, 1994; Beard, 1995), giving priority to stems and granting a subordinate status to inflectional prefixes and suffixes. Although the morphology of Arabic is non-concatenative, we make the process of generating inflected forms concatenative by separating the generation of stems from that of other inflectional affixes. Our approach is implemented in an extension of the MORPHĒ tool (Leavitt, 1994), which has been enhanced in order to provide a representational formalism that embodies Lexeme-Based Morphology theory and minimizes the number of rules required for the description of Arabic morphology


Leaf Node Transformational Rule Default Rule Person Plural Plural Noun 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abu Al-Suud, A. (1971). Al-Faisal fi Alwaan Al-Jumuu [The Distinction among the Colors of the Plurals]. Cairo: Daar Al-maarif.Google Scholar
  2. Aronoff, M. (1994). Morphology by Itself: Stems and Inflectional Classes. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Badawi, E., Carter, M.G. & Gully, A. (2004). Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Beard, R. (1995). Lexeme-Morpheme Base Morphology: A General Theory of Inflection and Word Formation. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beesley, K. (1996). Arabic Finite-State Morphological Analysis and Generation. In Proceedings of COLING-96 (Vol. 1, pp. 89–94).Google Scholar
  6. Beesley, K. (1998). Consonant Spreading in Arabic Stems. In Proceedings of COLING-98 (pp. 117–123).Google Scholar
  7. Cavalli-Sforza, V. & Soudi A. (2003). Enhancements to a Morphological Generator to Capture Arabic Morphology. In Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Social Communication (pp. 565–570), Center of Applied Linguistics, Santiago de Cuba.Google Scholar
  8. Cavalli-Sforza, V. & Soudi A. (2006). IMORPHĒ: An Inheritance and Equivalence Based Morphology Description Compiler. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-06, pp.13–18), Genova, Italy.Google Scholar
  9. Cavalli-Sforza, V., Soudi, A. & Mitamura, T. (2000). Arabic Morphology Generation Using a Concatenative Strategy. In Proceedings of the 1st Meeting of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL-00, pp. 86–93), Seattle.Google Scholar
  10. Guerssel, M. & Lowenstamm, J. (1996). Ablaut in Classical Arabic Measure 1 Active Verbal Forms. In Lecarme, J., Lowenstamm, J. & Shlonsky, U. (Eds.), Studies in Afroasiatic Grammar (pp. 123–134). The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.Google Scholar
  11. Kay, M. (1987). Non-concatenative Finite-state Morphology. In Proceedings of the Third Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (pp. 2–10), Copenhagen, Denmark.Google Scholar
  12. Kiraz, G. (1994). Multi-tape Two-level Morphology: A Case study in Semitic Non-Linear Morphology. In Proceedings of COLING-94 (Vol. 1, pp. 180–186).Google Scholar
  13. Kiraz, G. (1998). Arabic Computational Morphology in the West. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference and Exhibition on Multi-lingual Computing, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  14. Kiraz, G. (2000). A Multi-tiered Nonlinear Morphology using Multi-tape Finite State Auto-mata: A Case Study on Syriac and Arabic. In Computational Linguistics, 26(1), 77–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Koskenniemi, K. (1983). Two-level morphology: A General Computational Model for Word-Form Recognition and Production. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Helsinki.Google Scholar
  16. Lane, E.W. (1863–93). An Arabic-English Lexicon (8 volumes). London: Williams and Norgate.Google Scholar
  17. Leavitt, J.R. (1994). MORPHĒ: A Morphological Rule Compiler. Technical Report, CMU-CMT-94-MEMO.Google Scholar
  18. Levy, M.M. (1971). The Plural of the Noun in Modern Standard Arabic. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  19. McCarthy, J. (1979). On Stress and Syllabification. Linguistic Inquiry, 10, 443–465.Google Scholar
  20. McCarthy, J.A. (1981). Prosodic Theory of Non-Concatenative Morphology. Linguistic Inquiry, 12, 373–418.Google Scholar
  21. Murtonen, A. (1964). Broken Plurals, the Origin and Development of the System. Leiden: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
  22. Nyberg, E. & Mitamura, T. (1992). The KANT system: Fast, accurate, high-quality translation in practical domains. Proceedings of COLING-92 (pp. 1254–1258).Google Scholar
  23. Ratcliffe, R.R. (1992). The Broken Plural Problem in Arabic, Semitic and Afroasiatic: A Solution Based on the Diachronic Application of Prosodic Analysis. Ph.D. Dissertation, Yale University.Google Scholar
  24. Ratcliffe, R.R. (1998). The ’Broken’ Plural Problem in Arabic and Comparative Semitic: Allomorphy and Analogy in Non-concatenative Morphology. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  25. Soudi, A., Cavalli-Sforza, V. & Jamari, A. (2001). A Computational Lexeme-based Treatment of Arabic Morphology. In Proceedings of the ACL-01 Workshop on Arabic Language Processing: Status and Prospects (pp. 155–162), Toulouse, France.Google Scholar
  26. Soudi, A., Cavalli-Sforza, V. & Jamari, A. (2002). The Arabic Noun System Generation. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on The Processing of Arabic (pp. 69–87), University of Manouba, Tunisia.Google Scholar
  27. Stump, G.T. (1993). On Rules of Referral. Language, 69(3), 449–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Wehr, H. (1980). A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Milton Cowan, J., Ed., 4th ed.). Ithaca, NY: Spoken Language Services.Google Scholar
  29. Zwicky, A. (1985). How to Describe Inflection. Berkeley Linguistic Society, 372–386.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Violetta Cavalli-Sforza
    • 1
  • Abdelhadi Soudi
    • 2
  1. 1.Language Technologies InstituteCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghU.S.A
  2. 2.Ecole Nationale de l’Industrie MinéraleRabatMorocco

Personalised recommendations