Access Grid Logo

Quick Access for Seminars

Wednesday Seminars

Brownbag Seminars


“Computational morphology, specifically detecting principal parts and categorizing languages based on principal-part analysis”

Raphael Finkel (Computer Science) & Greg Stump (Linguistics),UK

Wednesday, February 09, 2011 at 3:30 p.m.
(Refreshments at 3:00 pm)
327 McVey Hall


We discuss the traditional grammatical notion of principal parts and its relevance to linguistic typology. Three principal parts are generally assumed to be necessary for deducing the full inventory of forms in an English verb's inflectional paradigm: the present, the past, and the past participle (sing, sang, sung). By contrast, the paradigm of a Latin verb is traditionally assumed to require four principal parts: the 1st person singular present indicative active form; the infinitive; the 1st person singular perfect indicative active form; and the perfect passive participle (laudō, laudāre, laudāvī, laudātum). Examining the notion of principal parts from a formal perspective, we distinguish three different approaches to principal-part analysis (the static, the adaptive, and the dynamic), then discuss four dimensions of cross-linguistic contrast among principal-part systems. Using evidence from a range of languages, we demonstrate a computational tool that facilitates the automatic analysis of a language's principal-part system; this tool allows us to identify new kinds of typological contrasts among inflectional systems.