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Formaliser les langues avec l’ordinateur : de INTEX à Nooj

Svetla Koeva
Denis Maurel
Max Silberztein

Premiere partie. Formalisation de ressources linguistiques

9. Morphological processing of Nouns in Macedonian

Aleksandar Petrovski

Texte intégral


1The Macedonian language standard is one of the youngest language standards in Europe. It is an old Slavic language, but due to historical circumstances, the language codification began at the end of the Second World War. Now, the Macedonian language is the official language in Macedonia, and Cyrillic is its official alphabet.

2Regarding computational linguistics, we are at the very beginning. The only existing electronic tools are a few spelling checkers. Thus, the working field is very wide. On the other hand, many problems have been faced due to a poor tradition in lexicography, a lack of inflectional references, and at the end, the non-existence of any representative electronic corpus.

3There are twelve word categories in Macedonian : Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns, Verbs, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Particles, Interjections, modal words, Numerals and Abbreviations.

4This project deals only with Nouns. I chose to start by working on Nouns because of their relative simple inflection.

I. Grammatical categories

5The following table presents the grammatical categories for nouns.

ATT VAL Example Code
Gender Masculine list m
Feminine devojka f
Neuter dete n
Number Singular list s
Common plural listovi p
Count plural lista c
Collective plural lisja, lisje l
Case Nominative list o
Vocative listu, liste v
Other case forms lista a
Definiteness No list 0
Yes listot x
Close distance listov y
Far distance liston z

6As it can be seen, some categories are specific. For example, the only existing case, apart from nominative, is vocative. Even there, vocative exists only with masculine gender. With feminine and neuter gender, nominative is used for calling purposes. There are other case forms left, but their usage is very rare.

7Definiteness is a specific category. A particle is used to separate an object from many other objects. The particle expresses definiteness. If there is no particle, then there is no definiteness.

8The following table presents the suffixes that are used as particles.

ms fs ns *p
x -ot -ta -to -te
y -ov -va -vo -ve
z -on -na -no -ne

9Particle suffixes have space function as well. Suffixes -ov, -va, - vo, -ve are used to separate objects that are close to the speaker. The suffixes –on, -na, -no, -ne are used to separate objects that are far from the speaker (but the speaker must still see them).

II. Inflectional classes

10The following table presents the inflectional paradigm for the noun “pisatel” (eng. “writer”).

Singular Plural
ATT Inflectional code ATT Inflectional code
pisatel mso0 pisatel-a mco0
pisatel-u msv0 pisatel-i mpo0
pisatel-e msv0 pisatel-ite mpox
pisatel-a msa0 pisatel-ive mpoy
pisatel-ot msox pisatel-ine mpoz
pisatel-on msoz

11There are two forms for vocative singular (msv0) : pisatel-u and pisatel-e. This is very common with masculine nouns, therefore the construction of two inflectional classes to take the different forms of vocative into account would not be adequate. Therefore, we decided to keep one inflectional class that describes the two vocative forms. There is no strict rule that states what noun has two, one or no forms of vocative.

12The above inflectional paradigm can be represented by the following regular expression :

13Pisatel (ε/mso0 + u/msv0 + e/msv0 + a/msa0 + ot/msox + ov/msoy + on/msoz + a/mco0 + i (ε/mpo0 + te/mpox + ve/mpoy + ne/mpoz))

14The right factor in this regular expression can also be represented by the following graph :

15The above graph represents the inflectional class N1010 of the Macedonian module. All masculine nouns that end with “-el” belong to this class.

III. Problems

16The main problem in constructing all the inflectional classes is that traditional dictionaries do not give all the inflected forms of a given lexical entry. Usually, only the basic form of the word is given, and sometimes one or more plural forms.

17Feminine Nouns that end with a consonant must be associated to a specific paradigm. The following table presents the inflectional paradigm for the Noun “radost” (eng. “joy”).

Singular Plural
ATT Inflectional code ATT Inflectional code
radost fso0 radost-i fpo0
radost-Lta fsox radost-ite fpox
radost-Lva fsoy radost-ive fpoy
radost-ine fpoz

18Unfortunately, we cannot find, in any traditional dictionary, any confirmation that the above paradigm is right. A sufficiently large corpus should be helpful in this case.

19Some Nouns accept two genders. For example, the noun “krv” (eng. blood) is feminine (for example “krv-ta”). But at the same time, it is acceptable to say “krv-ot” (“ot” is a particle for masculine nouns). We have decided to describe them with two entries in our dictionary.

20Another problem is that some nouns do not have any singular form (pluaria tantum). The gender of these Nouns cannot be determined reliably. For example the noun “nogari” (eng. “trestle”) could belong equally to masculine and feminine gender. Whichever gender one chooses, it is the right one...

IV. State of the art

21The resulting file will be a starting point for a Macedonian dictionary. It is still under construction, but we estimate that it will have over 64,000 entries.

22Subclasses for singular and plural are designed for Nouns. Each resulting class consists of two subclasses. The following table presents the distribution of subclasses per number and gender.

Masculine Feminine Neutre
Singular 11 4 1
Plural 26 5 11

23It is obvious that nouns of masculine gender have the richest inflection, which was expected. It is noticed that the nouns of neuter gender have only one singular subclass.

24There are 56 Inflectional classes designed from above subclasses, out of which 35 are for masculine, 10 for feminine and 11 for neuter gender. This is not the final number, since several new classes are expected to appear when it comes to the assigning of Inflectional classes to the nouns in the DELAS type dictionary.



DIMITROVSKI, Todor, KORUBIN, Blagoja, STAMATOSKI, Trajko (1961-1966), Rechnik na makedonskiot jazik : so srpskohrvatski tolkuvanja, vol. 1-3, Skopje, Detska radost.

KONESKI, Kiril (1999), Pravopisen rechnik na makedonskiot literaturen jazik, Skopje, Prosvetno delo.

KONESKI, Blazhe (2004), Gramatika na makedonskiot literaturen jazik, Skopje, Prosvetno delo.

Table des illustrations

Fichier image/jpeg, 19k


Tetovo University (Macedonia)
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