Computational Linguistics is the journal of The Association for Computational Linguistics published by The MIT Press.

A Special Issue of the Computational Linguistics Journal
Parsing Morphologically Rich Languages

In the context of computational linguistics, parsing is the task of automatically analyzing the syntactic structure of sentences in natural language, providing information that is crucial for further semantic processing and downstream applications. Although the performance of parsing systems has in general improved tremendously in recent years, there is increasing evidence that performance is highly sensitive to typological differences between languages. Thus, statistical models for phrase structure parsing developed for English often exhibit a drastic drop in performance when applied to languages such as German, Arabic, French and Hebrew. Similarly, multilingual evaluation campaigns for statistical dependency parsers have shown considerable variation in accuracy across languages that seem to be related at least partly to typological characteristics. In both cases, it appears that the greatest challenges are posed by morphologically rich languages (MRL), where significant information concerning syntactic structure is expressed at the word level, where each word can have a very high number of possible forms, and where word order is weakly constrained by syntactic structure.

The challenges exhibited by MRLs transcend language boundaries, and emerging insights are often relevant across different theoretical frameworks and methodological traditions. Considering parsing research from the point of view of MRLs therefore sheds light on the generality and adequacy of currently available state-of-the-art parsing methods for dealing with complex linguistic phenomena, vis à vis morphosyntactic interactions. This special issue aims to provide the focal point for studies of large-scale, broad-coverage parsing models that can successfully cope with the challenges exhibited by MRLs, from both the formal and the statistical points of view. It sets out to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art solutions, shared insights across languages and frameworks, and lessons relevant to downstream applications (such as machine translation of MRLs).


We solicit novel contributions describing completed work on broad-coverage parsing of morphologically rich languages, from formal or statistical points of view, in a single or multiple frameworks. We encourage contributions that emphasize how particular methods respond to the challenges associated with parsing MRLs and morphosyntactic phenomena, and go beyond the idiosyncrasies associated with individual languages. The range of topics to be covered in the special issue includes, but is not limited to:


In order to provide a wide exposure to the state-of-the-art in the field, allowing us to cover multiple frameworks as well as multiple languages that exhibit different structure and characteristics, the extended editorial board of this special issue will use a new format with multiple short papers of length up to 25 pages (excluding references). Submitted papers must follow the CL formatting guidelines available at Submissions should be made through the CL electronic submission system.


Potential contributors are invited to send an expression of interest (EOI) to the guest editors by February 20, 2011. The EOIs should consist of a title, the language(s), and a brief indication of the topic. This will help the editorial board determine the typological reach of the issue and the required language-specific expertise for the reviews.
EOIs and inquiries should be directed to the guest editors via clpmrl [at]


Call for papers: December 20, 2010
Expression of interest: February 20, 2011
Submission of full articles: September 30, 2011 (was June 1, 2011)
Notification to authors: January 20, 2012 (was September 20, 2011)
Submission of revised articles: April 2012 (was December 20, 2011)
Final decision to authors: May 2012 (was January 15, 2012)
Final version due:    June 2012 (was February 1, 2012)


Reut Tsarfaty (Uppsala University, Sweden)
Djamé Seddah (Alpage & Université Paris Sorbonne, France)
Sandra Kübler (Indiana University, USA)
Joakim Nivre (Uppsala University, Sweden)


Daniel Bikel (Google Research, US)
Aoife Cahill (University of Stuttgart, Germany)
Marie Candito (Université Paris 7, France)
Michael Elhadad (Ben Gurion University, Israel)
Jennifer Foster (Dublin City University, Ireland)
Josef van Genabith (Dublin City University, Ireland)   
Yoav Goldberg (Ben Gourion University, Israel)
Jan Hajic (Charles University, Czech Republic)
Julia Hockenmaier (University of Illinois, US)
Alon Lavie (Carnagie Mellon University, US)
Takuya Matsuzaki (University of Toyko, Japan)
Paola Merlo (University of Geneva, Switzerland)
Yusuke Miyao (University of Toyko, Japan)
Kemal Oflazer (Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar)
Owen Rambow (University of Columbia, US)
Ines Rehbein (Saarland University, Germany)
Khalil Sima'an (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Lamia Tounsi (Dublin City University, Ireland)
Yannick Versley (Tuebingen University, Germany)


Mail: clpmrl [at]
External website: