Detecting Lexical Borrowings from Dominant Languages in Multilingual Wordlists
Language contact is a pervasive phenomenon reflected in the borrowing of words from donor to recipient languages. Most computational approaches to borrowing detection treat all languages under study as equally important, even though dominant languages have a stronger impact on heritage languages than vice versa. We test new methods for lexical borrowing detection in contact situations where dominant languages play an important role, applying two classical sequence comparison methods and one machine learning method to a sample of seven Latin American languages which have all borrowed extensively from Spanish. All methods perform well, with the supervised machine learning system outperforming the classical systems. A review of detection errors shows that borrowing detection could be substantially improved by taking into account donor words with divergent meanings from recipient words.
- Pub Date:
- January 2023
- Computer Science - Computation and Language
- To appear at The 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics. See https://www.aclweb.org/portal/content/17th-conference-european-chapter-association-computational-linguistics