The research on machine learning of morphology often involves formulating morphological descriptions directly on surface forms of words. As the established two-level morphology paradigm requires the knowledge of the underlying structure, it is not widely used in such settings. In this paper, we propose a formalism describing structural relationships between words based on theories of morphology that reject the notions of internal word structure and morpheme. The formalism covers a wide variety of morphological phenomena (including non-concatenative ones like stem vowel alternation) without the need of workarounds and extensions. Furthermore, we show that morphological rules formulated in such way can be easily translated to FSTs, which enables us to derive performant approaches to morphological analysis, generation and automatic rule discovery.
We approach the problem of POS tagging of morphologically rich languages in a setting where only a small amount of labeled training data is available. We show that a bigram HMM tagger benefits from re-training on a larger untagged text using Baum-Welch estimation. Most importantly, this estimation can be significantly improved by pre-guessing tags for OOV words based on morphological criteria. We consider two models for this task: a character-based recurrent neural network, which guesses the tag from the string form of the word, and a recently proposed graph-based model of morphological transformations. In the latter, the unknown POS tags can be modeled as latent variables in a way very similar to Hidden Markov Tree models and an analogue of the Forward-Backward algorithm can be formulated, which enables us to compute expected values over unknown taggings. We evaluate both the quality of the induced tag lexicon and its impact on the HMM’s tagging accuracy. In both tasks, the graph-based morphology model performs significantly better than the RNN predictor. This confirms the intuition that morphologically related words provide useful information about an unknown word’s POS tag.