Expanding Universal Dependencies for Polysynthetic Languages: A Case of St. Lawrence Island Yupik

Hyunji Hayley Park, Lane Schwartz, Francis Tyers


Abstract
This paper describes the development of the first Universal Dependencies (UD) treebank for St. Lawrence Island Yupik, an endangered language spoken in the Bering Strait region. While the UD guidelines provided a general framework for our annotations, language-specific decisions were made necessary by the rich morphology of the polysynthetic language. Most notably, we annotated a corpus at the morpheme level as well as the word level. The morpheme level annotation was conducted using an existing morphological analyzer and manual disambiguation. By comparing the two resulting annotation schemes, we argue that morpheme-level annotation is essential for polysynthetic languages like St. Lawrence Island Yupik. Word-level annotation results in degenerate trees for some Yupik sentences and often fails to capture syntactic relations that can be manifested at the morpheme level. Dependency parsing experiments provide further support for morpheme-level annotation. Implications for UD annotation of other polysynthetic languages are discussed.
Anthology ID:
2021.americasnlp-1.14
Volume:
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas
Month:
June
Year:
2021
Address:
Online
Venues:
AmericasNLP | NAACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
131–142
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.americasnlp-1.14
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2021.americasnlp-1.14
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Hyunji Hayley Park, Lane Schwartz, and Francis Tyers. 2021. Expanding Universal Dependencies for Polysynthetic Languages: A Case of St. Lawrence Island Yupik. In Proceedings of the First Workshop on Natural Language Processing for Indigenous Languages of the Americas, pages 131–142, Online. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Expanding Universal Dependencies for Polysynthetic Languages: A Case of St. Lawrence Island Yupik (Park et al., AmericasNLP 2021)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.americasnlp-1.14.pdf
Data
Universal Dependencies