Paper: A Probabilistic Approach to Diachronic Phonology

ACL ID D07-1093
Title A Probabilistic Approach to Diachronic Phonology
Venue Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing
Session Main Conference
Year 2007

We present a probabilistic model of di- achronic phonology in which individual word forms undergo stochastic edits along the branches of a phylogenetic tree. Our ap- proach allows us to achieve three goals with a single unified model: (1) reconstruction of both ancient and modern word forms, (2) discovery of general phonological changes, and (3) selection among different phyloge- nies. We learn our model using a Monte Carlo EM algorithm and present quantitative results validating the model.