Data Management

Querying Linguistic Trees

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Executive Summary

Large databases of linguistic annotations are used for testing linguistic hypotheses and for training language processing models. These linguistic annotations are often syntactic or prosodic in nature, and have a hierarchical structure. Query languages are used to select particular structures of interest, or to project out large slices of a corpus for external analysis. Existing languages suffer from a variety of problems in the areas of expressiveness, efficiency, and naturalness for linguistic query. The authors describe the domain of linguistic trees and discuss the expressive requirements for a query language. Then they present a language that can express a wide range of queries over these trees, and show that the language is first-order complete over trees.

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