Hedvig Skirgård


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Grambank’s Typological Advances Support Computational Research on Diverse Languages
Hannah J. Haynie | Damián Blasi | Hedvig Skirgård | Simon J. Greenhill | Quentin D. Atkinson | Russell D. Gray
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Research in Computational Linguistic Typology and Multilingual NLP

Of approximately 7,000 languages around the world, only a handful have abundant computational resources. Extending the reach of language technologies to diverse, less-resourced languages is important for tackling the challenges of digital equity and inclusion. Here we introduce the Grambank typological database as a resource to support such efforts. To date, work that uses typological data to extend computational research to less-resourced languages has relied on cross-linguistic morphosyntax datasets that are sparsely populated, use categorical coding that can be difficult to interpret, and introduce redundant information across features. Grambank presents similar information (e.g. word order, grammatical relation marking, constructions like interrogatives and negation), but is designed to avoid several disadvantages of legacy typological resources. Grambank’s 195 features encode basic information about morphology and syntax for 2,467 languages. 83% of these languages are annotated for at least 100 features. By implementing binary coding for most features and curating the dataset to avoid logical dependencies, Grambank presents information in a user-friendly format for computational applications. The scale, completeness, reliability, format, and documentation of Grambank make it a useful resource for linguistically-informed models, cross-lingual NLP, and research targeting less-resourced languages.


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Overlooked Data in Typological Databases: What Grambank Teaches Us About Gaps in Grammars
Jakob Lesage | Hannah J. Haynie | Hedvig Skirgård | Tobias Weber | Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Typological databases can contain a wealth of information beyond the collection of linguistic properties across languages. This paper shows how information often overlooked in typological databases can inform the research community about the state of description of the world’s languages. We illustrate this using Grambank, a morphosyntactic typological database covering 2,467 language varieties and based on 3,951 grammatical descriptions. We classify and quantify the comments that accompany coded values in Grambank. We then aggregate these comments and the coded values to derive a level of description for 17 grammatical domains that Grambank covers (negation, adnominal modification, participant marking, tense, aspect, etc.). We show that the description level of grammatical domains varies across space and time. Information about gaps and uncertainties in the descriptive knowledge of grammatical domains within and across languages is essential for a correct analysis of data in typological databases and for the study of grammatical diversity more generally. When collected in a database, such information feeds into disciplines that focus on primary data collection, such as grammaticography and language documentation.


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The Swedish Model of Public Outreach of Linguistics to secondary school Students through Olympiads
Patrik Roos | Hedvig Skirgård
Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop on Teaching NLP and CL