Uniparser morphology


uniparser-morph is yet another rule-based morphological analysis tool. No built-in rules are provided; you will have to write some if you want to parse texts in your language. Uniparser-morph was developed primarily for under-resourced languages, which don’t have enough data for training statistical parsers. Here’s how it’s different from other similar tools:

  • It is designed to be usable by theoretical linguists with no prior knowledge of NLP (and has been successfully used by them with minimal guidance). So it’s not just another way of defining an FST; the way you describe lexemes and morphology resembles what you do in a traditional theoretical description, at least in part.

  • It was developed with a large variety of linguistic phenomena in mind and is easily applicable to most languages – not just the Standard Average European.

  • Apart from POS-tagging and full morphological tagging, there is a glossing option (words can be split into morphemes).

  • Lexemes can carry any number of attributes that have to end up in the annotation, e.g. translations into the metalanguage.

  • Ambiguity is allowed: all words you analyze will receive all theoretically possible analyses regardless of the context. (You can then use e.g. CG for rule-based disambiguation.)

  • While, in computational terms, the language described by uniparser-morph rules is certainly regular, the description is actually NOT entirely converted into an FST. Therefore, it’s not nearly as fast as FST-based analyzers. The speed varies depending on the language structure and hardware characteristics, but you can hardly expect to parse more than 20,000 words per second. For heavily polysynthetic languages that figure can go as low as 200 words per second. So it’s not really designed for industrial use.

The primary usage scenario I was thinking about is the following:

  • You have a corpus of texts where you want to add morphological annotation (this includes POS-tagging).

  • You manually prepare a grammar for the language in uniparser-morph format (probably making use of existing digital dictionaries of the language).

  • You compile a list of unique words in your corpus and parse it.

  • Then you annotate your texts based on this wordlist with any software you want.

Of course, you can do other things with uniparser-morph, e.g. make it a part of a more complex NLP pipeline; just make sure low speed is not an issue in your case.

If you want to write rules for your language, see Format overview for uniparser-morph format description, or look at the List of examples. If you already have a grammar and would like to know how to analyze texts with it, see Usage.



I developed the format and the first version of uniparser-morph in 2011-2012 as part of my PhD thesis (here is its summary in Russian). I completely rewrote it in Python in 2015-2016, adding only slight changes afterwards. I and other people have used uniparser-morph to annotate a couple dozen corpora, e.g. some corpora at web-corpora.net and Corpora of the Volga-Kama Uralic languages.