On the Computational Modelling of Michif Verbal Morphology

Fineen Davis, Eddie Antonio Santos, Heather Souter


Abstract
This paper presents a finite-state computational model of the verbal morphology of Michif. Michif, the official language of the Métis peoples, is a uniquely mixed language with Algonquian and French origins. It is spoken across the Métis homelands in what is now called Canada and the United States, but it is highly endangered with less than 100 speakers. The verbal morphology is remarkably complex, as the already polysynthetic Algonquian patterns are combined with French elements and unique morpho-phonological interactions.The model presented in this paper, LI VERB KAA-OOSHITAHK DI MICHIF handles this complexity by using a series of composed finite-state transducers to model the concatenative morphology and phonological rule alternations that are unique to Michif. Such a rule-based approach is necessary as there is insufficient language data for an approach that uses machine learning. A language model such as LI VERB KAA-OOSHITAHK DI MICHIF furthers the goals of Indigenous computational linguistics in Canada while also supporting the creation of tools for documentation, education, and revitalization that are desired by the Métis community.
Anthology ID:
2021.eacl-main.226
Volume:
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume
Month:
April
Year:
2021
Address:
Online
Venue:
EACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
2631–2636
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.eacl-main.226
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2021.eacl-main.226
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Fineen Davis, Eddie Antonio Santos, and Heather Souter. 2021. On the Computational Modelling of Michif Verbal Morphology. In Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume, pages 2631–2636, Online. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
On the Computational Modelling of Michif Verbal Morphology (Davis et al., EACL 2021)
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.eacl-main.226.pdf