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Article

Developing a polysynthetic language corpus: problems and solutions

Arkhangelskiy T.A., Lander Yu.A.

Although there exist comprehensive morphologically annotated corpora for many morphologically rich languages, there have been no such corpora for any polysynthetic language so far. Developing a corpus of a polysynthetic language poses a range of theoretical and practical challenges for corpus linguistics. Some of these challenges have been partly addressed when developing corpora for languages with extensive morphological inventories and numerous productive derivation models such as Turkic or Uralic, while others are unique for this kind of languages. As we are currently working on a corpus of  the polysynthetic West Circassian language, we had to identify these challenges and propose theoretical and practical solutions. These include the tokenization problem, which involves delimiting morphology from syntax, the problem with lemmatization and part-of-speech tagging, and a number of glossing and search issues. The solutions proposed in the paper are partly implemented and will be available for public testing when the preliminary version of the corpus is released.