"Treebanking" is the shorthand term for grammatically parsing digital texts of Ancient Greek, Latin and a number of other languages, and the creation of annotated morpho-syntactic trees.
Application in research
Such linguistic annotation allows collecting information that can be used for comprehensive and sophisticated quantitative research on various phenomena in ancient texts with high level of precision. Examples of questions that can be answered using the data created through treebanking is which verbs are more often associated with masculine gender subjects than feminine; how complex are the sentences in given authors/genres relative to others etc.
Treebanking has been proven to be useful as a pedagogical tool in various ways. The trees that have already been created can be used in class as a visualisation of sentences that have more complex or unusual syntax, and by getting involved in the act of building the trees themselves students are provided with a form of online exercise on parsing of grammar and syntax. The data created by the joint efforts of students and supervising teachers can then contribute to the creation of a corpus of morpho-syntactically annotated classical texts that could be queried in future research.
Treebanking both tests and improves students’ understanding of Greek or Latin vocabulary (identifying lemmata and parts of speech), grammar (morphological parsing of word forms), and syntax (the dependencies between words and phrases in a sentence). It can also be used to study writing style, and to cast light on the parallels between translations or alternate language versions of a text.
Treebanking platforms and databases
Online platforms for treebanking incude those built by Infrastructure for the Exploration of Syntax and Semantics (INESS) and the Perseids Project. Both projects have treebanked databases that can be queried and used for research.
- Bamman David & al. 2008. Guidelines for the Syntactic Annotation of Latin Treebanks (v. 1.3). http://nlp.perseus.tufts.edu/syntax/treebank/1.3/docs/guidelines.pdf (only p. 3-21; 24; 26)
- Celano, Giuseppe G. A. 2014. Guidelines for the annotation of the Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank 2.0. https://github.com/PerseusDL/treebank_data/edit/master/AGDT2/guidelines (only Chapter 3, including analysis of the hyperlinked examples)
- Haug, Dag. 2015. “Treebanks in historical linguistic research.” In Carlotta Viti (ed.), Perspectives on Historical Syntax, Benjamins, pp. 188-202. http://folk.uio.no/daghaug/historical-treebanks.pdf
- Mambrini, Francesco. 2016. "The Ancient Greek Dependency Treebank: Linguistic Annotation in a Teaching Environment." In: Bodard, G & Romanello, M (eds.) Digital Classics Outside the Echo-Chamber: Teaching, Knowledge Exchange & Public Engagement, pp. 83–99. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/bat.f
Presentations and tutorials (from Sunoikisis Digital Classics)
- June 16, 2015: An Introduction to Treebanking (Neven Jovanović) (YouTube)
- June 23, 2015: Comparing Trees: an Introduction to Treebanking Evaluation (Giuseppe G.A. Celano)
- Feb 10, 2016: Introduction to Treebanking Part I (Giuseppe G.A. Celano and Dag Haug)
- Feb 17, 2016: Introduction to Treebanking Part II (Giuseppe G.A. Celano) (YouTube)
- Feb 9, 2017: Annotating treebanks (Polina Yordanova and Marja Vierros)
- Feb 16, 2017: Querying treebanks - INESS & Regex (Dag Haug)
- Feb 23, 2017: Querying treebanks - XML/XQuery/XPath (Giuseppe G.A. Celano)
- March 1, 2018: Treebanking 1 (Marja Vierros, Polina Yordanova)
- March 8, 2018: Treebanking 2 (Dag Haug, Francesco Mambrini)
- Feb 7, 2019: Introduction to Treebanking (Marja Vierros & Polina Yordanova)
- Feb 21, 2019: Using treebanked corpora & Universal Dependencies (Timo Korkiakangas & Marco Passarotti)