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Some languages (in Indo-European particularly Germanic languages) like to make long compound words with low frequency that are unlikely to be found in dictionaries. Typically for any "normal" noun, there can be around 10—100 compound nouns which inflect in exactly the same way (at least for Afrikaans).

  • Afrikaans: infrastruktuurontwikkelingsplan, infrastruktuur+ontwikkelings+plan ("infrastructure development plan"), (cf. personeelverminderingsprosedure, "personnel protection procedure")
  • Dutch : "hulpagina" (help page), "woordbetekenis" (meaning of a word), "inwonertal" (number of inhabitants)
  • German: Kontaktlinsenverträglichkeitstest, Kontakt+linsen+verträglichkeits+test ("contact-lens compatibility test")

Perhaps there could be some method of attempting to resolve unknown compound words into their constituent parts.

Outstanding questions

  • Where would compound processing go in the pipeline? Presumably after initial analysis? e.g. in between lt-proc and apertium-tagger.

Proposed algorithms


input: ^*infrastruktuurontwikkelingsplan$

  1. Read word from left to right.
  2. Take the longest match first from the dictionaries, e.g. infrastruktuurontwikkelingsplan,
    1. Read i-n-f-r-a-s-t-r-u-k-u-u-r (add, because no words have +o)
    2. Read o-n-t-w-i-k-k-e-l-i-n-g-s (add, because no words have +p)
    3. Read p-l-a-n
  3. Output in order.

output: ^infrastruktuur<n><sg>$ ^ontwikkeling<n><pl>$ ^plan<n><sg>$

Further reading