Can computer scientists think computational morphology out of the box?
At the end of the nineties, Arabic gained the reputation of having a “rich and complex morphology”. As much as half of the scientific papers in Arabic NLP start with this key phrase. The richness of Arabic morphology is obvious, since for instance Arabic nouns have four inflectional features, while French nouns have two. However, the complexity has two facets: the complexity of the details of morpho-phonological facts; and the complexity due to the implementation of their description. The stereotype of the rich and complex morphology might well hide confusion between the two facets, where computer scientists are overwhelmed by the inadequacy of their own approach and implementation.
Various models based on the traditional model were implemented by research teams. These implementations have two common points: the traditional model was taken for granted totally or partially without questioning its aims and definitions; and no accurate lexical resource was produced meanwhile.