The Universal Morphology (UniMorph) project is a collaborative effort providing broad-coverage instantiated normalized morphological inflection tables for hundreds of diverse world languages. The project comprises two major thrusts: a language-independent feature schema for rich morphological annotation and a type-level resource of annotated data in diverse languages realizing that schema. This paper presents the expansions and improvements made on several fronts over the last couple of years (since McCarthy et al. (2020)). Collaborative efforts by numerous linguists have added 67 new languages, including 30 endangered languages. We have implemented several improvements to the extraction pipeline to tackle some issues, e.g. missing gender and macron information. We have also amended the schema to use a hierarchical structure that is needed for morphological phenomena like multiple-argument agreement and case stacking, while adding some missing morphological features to make the schema more inclusive. In light of the last UniMorph release, we also augmented the database with morpheme segmentation for 16 languages. Lastly, this new release makes a push towards inclusion of derivational morphology in UniMorph by enriching the data and annotation schema with instances representing derivational processes from MorphyNet.
* LREC 2022; The first two authors made equal contributions
Vocal fry or creaky voice refers to a voice quality characterized by irregular glottal opening and low pitch. It occurs in diverse languages and is prevalent in American English, where it is used not only to mark phrase finality, but also sociolinguistic factors and affect. Due to its irregular periodicity, creaky voice challenges automatic speech processing and recognition systems, particularly for languages where creak is frequently used. This paper proposes a deep learning model to detect creaky voice in fluent speech. The model is composed of an encoder and a classifier trained together. The encoder takes the raw waveform and learns a representation using a convolutional neural network. The classifier is implemented as a multi-headed fully-connected network trained to detect creaky voice, voicing, and pitch, where the last two are used to refine creak prediction. The model is trained and tested on speech of American English speakers, annotated for creak by trained phoneticians. We evaluated the performance of our system using two encoders: one is tailored for the task, and the other is based on a state-of-the-art unsupervised representation. Results suggest our best-performing system has improved recall and F1 scores compared to previous methods on unseen data.
A broad goal in natural language processing (NLP) is to develop a system that has the capacity to process any natural language. Most systems, however, are developed using data from just one language such as English. The SIGMORPHON 2020 shared task on morphological reinflection aims to investigate systems' ability to generalize across typologically distinct languages, many of which are low resource. Systems were developed using data from 45 languages and just 5 language families, fine-tuned with data from an additional 45 languages and 10 language families (13 in total), and evaluated on all 90 languages. A total of 22 systems (19 neural) from 10 teams were submitted to the task. All four winning systems were neural (two monolingual transformers and two massively multilingual RNN-based models with gated attention). Most teams demonstrate utility of data hallucination and augmentation, ensembles, and multilingual training for low-resource languages. Non-neural learners and manually designed grammars showed competitive and even superior performance on some languages (such as Ingrian, Tajik, Tagalog, Zarma, Lingala), especially with very limited data. Some language families (Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, Turkic) were relatively easy for most systems and achieved over 90% mean accuracy while others were more challenging.
The noun lexica of many natural languages are divided into several declension classes with characteristic morphological properties. Class membership is far from deterministic, but the phonological form of a noun and/or its meaning can often provide imperfect clues. Here, we investigate the strength of those clues. More specifically, we operationalize this by measuring how much information, in bits, we can glean about declension class from knowing the form and/or meaning of nouns. We know that form and meaning are often also indicative of grammatical gender---which, as we quantitatively verify, can itself share information with declension class---so we also control for gender. We find for two Indo-European languages (Czech and German) that form and meaning respectively share significant amounts of information with class (and contribute additional information above and beyond gender). The three-way interaction between class, form, and meaning (given gender) is also significant. Our study is important for two reasons: First, we introduce a new method that provides additional quantitative support for a classic linguistic finding that form and meaning are relevant for the classification of nouns into declensions. Secondly, we show not only that individual declensions classes vary in the strength of their clues within a language, but also that these variations themselves vary across languages.
* 14 pages, 2 figures, the is the camera-ready version accepted at the
2020 Annual Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL
A major hurdle in data-driven research on typology is having sufficient data in many languages to draw meaningful conclusions. We present VoxClamantis v1.0, the first large-scale corpus for phonetic typology, with aligned segments and estimated phoneme-level labels in 690 readings spanning 635 languages, along with acoustic-phonetic measures of vowels and sibilants. Access to such data can greatly facilitate investigation of phonetic typology at a large scale and across many languages. However, it is non-trivial and computationally intensive to obtain such alignments for hundreds of languages, many of which have few to no resources presently available. We describe the methodology to create our corpus, discuss caveats with current methods and their impact on the utility of this data, and illustrate possible research directions through a series of case studies on the 48 highest-quality readings. Our corpus and scripts are publicly available for non-commercial use at https://voxclamantisproject.github.io.
Corpus phonetics has become an increasingly popular method of research in linguistic analysis. With advances in speech technology and computational power, large scale processing of speech data has become a viable technique. This tutorial introduces the speech scientist and engineer to various automatic speech processing tools. These include acoustic model creation and forced alignment using the Kaldi Automatic Speech Recognition Toolkit (Povey et al., 2011), forced alignment using FAVE-align (Rosenfelder et al., 2014), the Montreal Forced Aligner (McAuliffe et al., 2017), and the Penn Phonetics Lab Forced Aligner (Yuan & Liberman, 2008), as well as stop consonant burst alignment using AutoVOT (Keshet et al., 2014). The tutorial provides a general overview of each program, step-by-step instructions for running the program, as well as several tips and tricks.