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Finite-State Composition of French Verb Morphology

Jean-Pierre Chanod
This paper gives a novel account of French verb morphology as a composition of finite-state constraints. It consists of a cascade of transductions, each one dedicated to a specific and linguistically motivated task. Each transducer expresses a number of linguistic generalizations that can be shared between various inflectional paradigms, traditionally classified separately. The sequence of ordered transductions is finally composed into a single lexical transducer which can be used both for analysis and generation. This results in a system which is transparent to the lexicographer, as transductions have a clear interpretation at every stage of the cascade, whereas systems limited to one stage of transductions tend to be opaque and difficult to debug. We show how this approach was applied to an extensive description of the rich morphology of French verbs, whitout even using diacritic signs pointing to traditional inflectional paradigms. This work was implemented with Xerox finite-state tools and is currently used in various higher level NLP projects
MLTT technical reports (April 94)