SUGGESTION: Morphologies, the usefulness of multiples, and why they aren't documented

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, May 9 2020 10:28 PM

Okay, I have spent two days sorting through the various morphologies, getting annoyed at their lack of visibility (or in one case, apparent suppression), and reading computer papers on parsing algorithms, AI, training and Hebrew/Greek Bible tagging, I am thinking here of morphology in the form of conjugation and declension not all forms of word formation.

  1. There is reasonable documentation for Logos, Andersen-Forbes, and Friberg. Some documentation that I swore I had links to has disappeared. If you have additional documentation, please share.
  2. Morphologies are always circular thinking and tell you nothing more than what you thought to ask in the first place. Circular  in the sense that you take the language, build morphology charts, see patterns, then apply those patterns for teaching or studying the language. My understanding is derived from 
    the  ancient Indian linguist Pāṇini (4th century BC or earlier), who formulated the 3,959 rules of Sanskrit morphology using a constituency grammar, your piece of trivia for the evening.
  3. Formal morphologies such as Logos morphology, take their charts very seriously and pound them into the heads of students much to their benefit. However, they struggle with those cases that "don't fit" and label them exceptions, idioms, uncommon usages etc.
  4. Functional morphologies such Friberg take the idiosyncrasies of language in stride and keep an eye on moving on to the phrase-clause-sentence structures. This may be more reflective of natural language learning but requires greater tolerance for uncertainty than many students are comfortable with.
  5. What is most useful to the student is to be able to see the various classifications provided by the differing morphologies available therefore, I SUGGEST THAT ALL MORPHOLOGIES BE VISIBLE AS AN INTERLINEAR LINE IN THE RESOURCES WHERE THAT MORPHOLOGY IS PART OF THE RESOURCE.
  6. While morphology applies specifically to a "word", there is often formal ambiguity which is resolved by functional context. Therefore,  I SUGGEST THAT ALL MORPHOLOGIES BE VISIBLE AS AN INTERLINEAR LINE IN THE RESOURCES WHERE THAT MORPHOLOGY IS PART OF THE RESOURCE.
  7. Morphology is often tied to particular theories of syntax - constituency, dependency, generative ... - it would be be useful to have an actual link when a particular clausal visualization is implied.
  8. For those who want guidance as to which morphology to use and when, basically a beginning student needs ACCURATE COMPLETE MORPHOLOGY CHARTS (preferably including class identifier) and the Logos morphology; everyone who is ready to think in the phrase-clause-sentence context needs ALL AVAILABLE MORPHOLOGIES so that all morphological information across multiple linguistic theories is available to the student.
  9. Documentation: USERS - GIVE UP. All the morphologies available to us have been through some form of computer tagging. Often the original plan represented a very specific view of linguistic theory. However, as the algorithm was adjusted to better handle unsatisfactory results, adjusted itself via machine learning, and manually overridden for odd cases those original definitions became more and more blurred (Friberg does the best at documenting this). The final result is that the morphology we see is not the result of the words fitting into definitions but rather the result of a complex computer parsing routine ... many rules and many decision points. As users, we need to learn to adjust our understanding of the output to the output of a process we can't quite fathom rather than the output of a person sorting tokens into little boxes. 

Point 9 is why we need to consistently look at several morphology schemes - instead of clear definitions we need to see patterns in how the computer presents the data to us when it is asked to do so in different manners and fed different training data. It is the composite that prepares us to move into frames, dependencies, constituents . . .

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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