Formalism for Morphology: A Hands-On Experience

Course time: 
Tuesday/Friday 9:00-10:50 AM
Description: 

This class will introduce several formalisms for representing morphology: network morphology and paradigm function morphology, along with web-based tools (KATR and PFME) for converting theories written in those formalisms into paradigm charts. After working through a few examples together, the class will divide into smaller groups, each one working on one language, preferably suggested by one of the group members. Each group will build both a KATR and a PFME theory for its chosen language. The theories will likely be restricted to verbs, but that depends on the languages chosen; a theory that also (or only) covers nominals is also possible. Full-class meetings will be devoted to discussing the choices that the groups have made. The final week will be devoted to principal-part analysis (using the online PPA tool), again working in groups.

Motivation for the course

Both network morphology and paradigm function morphology have been in use for at least 15 years, but few researchers have actually built theories, and even fewer have tested them using the available software. Principal part analysis is only a few years old, and several researchers have begun to study particular languages through this technique. The course will train researchers interested in morphology to gain the skills necessary to use these tools, which should be in wider use than they currently are.

Outline of course topics or readings

Suggested reading: Raphael Finkel, "Computer-based Tools for Word and Paradigm Computational Morphology", in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Linguistics, Oxford University Press, April 2016; http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199384655.013.162

Topics

  1. Network morphology. KATR theories for Latin nouns and verbs, Irish verbs, and Skolt Saami verbs (all available online).
  2. Group activity: Partition the class into groups of about 4 students each. Each group builds a KATR theory for some component(s) of a language chosen by the group and uses the online tool to verify its correctness.
  3. Paradigm function morphology. PFM theories for Eleme verbs, Farsi verbs, and Turkish nouns (all available online).
  4. Group activity: Partition the class into new groups of about 4 students each. Each group builds a PFM theory for some component(s) of a language chosen by the group and tests it using PFME.
  5. Principal part analysis: PPA plats for Latin verbs and Icelandic nouns (available online).
  6. Group activity: Partition the class into new groups of about 4 students each. Each group builds a plat for some component(s) of a language chosen by the group and analyses it using the online PPA tool for principal parts.

Synergistic activities

This course will be complementary to the morphotactics course that Gregory Stump will present, which will use tools similar to PFME. Students attending Fabiola Henri's course on the morphology of Creole languages might wish to use the tools of this course to investigate those languages. Likewise, students attending Andrea Sims' introduction to morphology course will likely also wish to use the tools of this course to formalize examples they see in that course.