Hannah Booth


2020

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A Penn-style Treebank of Middle Low German
Hannah Booth | Anne Breitbarth | Aaron Ecay | Melissa Farasyn
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We outline the issues and decisions involved in creating a Penn-style treebank of Middle Low German (MLG, 1200-1650), which will form part of the Corpus of Historical Low German (CHLG). The attestation for MLG is rich, but the syntax of the language remains relatively understudied. The development of a syntactically annotated corpus for the language will facilitate future studies with a strong empirical basis, building on recent work which indicates that, syntactically, MLG occupies a position in its own right within West Germanic. In this paper, we describe the background for the corpus and the process by which texts were selected to be included. In particular, we focus on the decisions involved in the syntactic annotation of the corpus, specifically, the practical and linguistic reasons for adopting the Penn annotation scheme, the stages of the annotation process itself, and how we have adapted the Penn scheme for syntactic features specific to MLG. We also discuss the issue of data uncertainty, which is a major issue when building a corpus of an under-researched language stage like MLG, and some novel ways in which we capture this uncertainty in the annotation.

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Representation Problems in Linguistic Annotations: Ambiguity, Variation, Uncertainty, Error and Bias
Christin Beck | Hannah Booth | Mennatallah El-Assady | Miriam Butt
Proceedings of the 14th Linguistic Annotation Workshop

The development of linguistic corpora is fraught with various problems of annotation and representation. These constitute a very real challenge for the development and use of annotated corpora, but as yet not much literature exists on how to address the underlying problems. In this paper, we identify and discuss five sources of representation problems, which are independent though interrelated: ambiguity, variation, uncertainty, error and bias. We outline and characterize these sources, discussing how their improper treatment can have stark consequences for research outcomes. Finally, we discuss how an adequate treatment can inform corpus-related linguistic research, both computational and theoretical, improving the reliability of research results and NLP models, as well as informing the more general reproducibility issue.

2019

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DiaHClust: an Iterative Hierarchical Clustering Approach for Identifying Stages in Language Change
Christin Schätzle | Hannah Booth
Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change

Language change is often assessed against a set of pre-determined time periods in order to be able to trace its diachronic trajectory. This is problematic, since a pre-determined periodization might obscure significant developments and lead to false assumptions about the data. Moreover, these time periods can be based on factors which are either arbitrary or non-linguistic, e.g., dividing the corpus data into equidistant stages or taking into account language-external events. Addressing this problem, in this paper we present a data-driven approach to periodization: ‘DiaHClust’. DiaHClust is based on iterative hierarchical clustering and offers a multi-layered perspective on change from text-level to broader time periods. We demonstrate the usefulness of DiaHClust via a case study investigating syntactic change in Icelandic, modelling the syntactic system of the language in terms of vectors of syntactic change.