Measuring language distance among historical varieties using perplexity. Application to European Portuguese.

Jose Ramom Pichel Campos, Pablo Gamallo, Iñaki Alegria


Abstract
The objective of this work is to quantify, with a simple and robust measure, the distance between historical varieties of a language. The measure will be inferred from text corpora corresponding to historical periods. Different approaches have been proposed for similar aims: Language Identification, Phylogenetics, Historical Linguistics or Dialectology. In our approach, we used a perplexity-based measure to calculate language distance between all the historical periods of a specific language: European Portuguese. Perplexity has also proven to be a robust metric to calculate distance between languages. However, this measure has not been tested yet to identify diachronic periods within the historical evolution of a specific language. For this purpose, a historical Portuguese corpus has been constructed from different open sources containing texts with close original spelling. The results of our experiments show that Portuguese keeps an important degree of homogeneity over time. We anticipate this metric to be a starting point to be applied to other languages.
Anthology ID:
W18-3916
Volume:
Proceedings of the Fifth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial 2018)
Month:
August
Year:
2018
Address:
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA
Venues:
COLING | VarDial | WS
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
145–155
Language:
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/W18-3916
DOI:
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PDF:
http://aclanthology.lst.uni-saarland.de/W18-3916.pdf