New Paper on Phonological Reconstruction

A new paper was accepted, together with Nathan W. Hill and Robert Forkel, titled "A new framework for fast automated phonological reconstruction using trimmed alignments and sound correespondence patterns". It will appear in the proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change, co-located with the ACL 2022 meeting in Dublin. In this study, we present a new framework for supervised phonological reconstruction which is quite simple and also fast and thus perfect as a baseline to be compared with more complex methods. The preprint of the study can be found online now.

Computational approaches in historical linguistics have been increasingly applied during the past decade and many new methods that implement parts of the traditional comparative method have been proposed. Despite these increased efforts, there are not many easy-to-use and fast approaches for the task of phonological reconstruction. Here we present a new framework that combines state-of-the-art techniques for automated sequence comparison with novel techniques for phonetic alignment analysis and sound correspondence pattern detection to allow for the supervised reconstruction of word forms in ancestral languages. We test the method on a new dataset covering six groups from three different language families. The results show that our method yields promising results while at the same time being not only fast but also easy to apply and expand.