Pattern-and-root inflectional morphology: the Arabic broken plural

Abstract : We present a substantially implemented model of description of the inflectional morphology of Arabic nouns, with special attention to the management of dictionaries and other language resources by Arabic-speaking linguists. Our model includes broken plurals (BPs), i.e. plurals formed by modifying the stem. It is based on the traditional notions of root and pattern of Semitic morphology. However, as compared to traditional Arabic morphology, it keeps the formal description of inflection separate from that of derivation and semantics. As traditional Arabic dictionaries, the updatable dictionary is structured in lexical entries for lemmas, and the reference spelling is fully diacritized. In our model, morphological analysis of Arabic text is performed directly with a dictionary of words and without morphophonological rules. Our taxonomy for noun inflection is simple, orderly and detailed. We simplify the taxonomy of singular patterns by specifying vowel quantity as v or vv, and ignoring vowel quality. Root alternations and orthographical variations are encoded independently from patterns and in a factual way, without deep roots or morphophonological or orthographical rules. Nouns with a triliteral BP are classified according to 22 patterns subdivided into 90 classes, and nouns with a quadriliteral BP according to 3 patterns subdivided into 70 classes. These 160 classes become 300 inflectional classes when we take into account inflectional variations that affect only the singular. We provide a straightforward encoding scheme that we applied to 3 200 entries of BP nouns.
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Alexis Amid Neme, Eric Laporte. Pattern-and-root inflectional morphology: the Arabic broken plural. Language Sciences, Elsevier, 2013, 40, pp.221-250. ⟨10.1016/j.langsci.2013.06.002⟩. ⟨hal-00831338⟩

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