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Language technology makes extensive use of hierarchically annotated text and speech data. These databases are stored in flat files and manipulated using corpus specific query tool or scripts. While the size of these databases and the range of applications has grown rapidly in recent years, neither method for managing the data has led to reusable, scalable software. The formal properties of the languages are not well understood. Hence established methods for indexing tree data and optimizing tree queries cannot be employed. The authors analyze a range of existing linguistic query languages, and adduce a set of requirements for a reusable, scalable linguistic query language.
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