LFG parse disambiguation for Wolof

Cheikh M. Bamba Dione, University of Bergen, Norway, Norway


This paper presents several techniques for managing ambiguity in LFG parsing of Wolof, a less-resourced Niger-Congo language. Ambiguity is pervasive in Wolof and This raises a number of theoretical and practical issues for managing ambiguity associated with different objectives. From a theoretical perspective, the main aim is to design a large-scale grammar for Wolof that is able to make linguistically motivated disambiguation decisions, and to find appropriate ways of controlling ambiguity at important interface representations. The practical aim is to develop disambiguation strategies to improve the performance of the grammar in terms of efficiency, robustness and coverage.

To achieve these goals, different avenues are explored to manage ambiguity in the Wolof grammar, including the formal encoding of noun class indeterminacy, lexical specifications, the use of Constraint Grammar models (Karlsson 1990) for morphological disambiguation, the application of the c-structure pruning mechanism (Cahill et al. 2007, 2008; Crouch et al. 2013), and the use of optimality marks for preferences (Frank et al. 1998, 2001). The parsing system is further controlled by packing ambiguities. In addition, discriminant-based techniques for parse disambiguation (Rosén et al. 2007) are applied for treebanking purposes.


LFG; computational grammar; Constraint Grammar; c-structure pruning; discriminant-based disambiguation; Wolof; underspecification; optimality marks

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15398/jlm.v2i1.81

ISSN of the paper edition: 2299-856X