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This section describes how to get the Sparv corpus pipeline up and running on your own machine. The source code is available from GitHub under the MIT license.

Please note that different license terms may apply to any of the additional components that can be plugged into the Sparv Pipeline!


  • A Unix-like environment (e.g. Linux, macOS)
  • Python 3.4 or newer
  • GNU Make
  • Java (if you want to use the MaltParser, Sparv-wsd or hfst-SweNER)

Additional components (optional):

  • Git and Git Large File Storage (for cloning the repository, strongly recommended!)
  • Hunpos, with its path included in your PATH environment variable (for part-of-speech tagging)
  • MaltParser v. 1.7.2 (for dependency parsing)
  • Sparv-wsd (for word-sense disambiguation)
  • hfst-SweNER (for named entity recognition)
  • FreeLing 4.1 (if you want to annotate corpora in Catalan, English, French, Galician, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian or Spanish)
  • TreeTagger (if you want to annotate corpora in Bulgarian, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, Latin, Polish, Romanian or Slovak)
  • fast_align (if you want to run word-linking on parallel corpora)
  • Corpus Workbench (CWB) 3.2 or newer (if you are going to use the Korp backend for searching in your corpora)

Installing the required software

The following information assumes that you are running Ubuntu, but will most likely work for any Linux-based OS.

  1. Install the Sparv Pipeline by cloning the Git repository into a directory of your choice. Please note that you must have Git Large File Storage installed on your machine before cloning the repository. Some files will not be downloaded correctly otherwise. If you do not want to use Git you can download the latest release package from the release page.
  2. Setup a new environment variable SPARV_MAKEFILES and point it to the directory sparv-pipeline/makefiles.

Python virtual environment

Set up a Python virtual environment as a subdirectory to the sparv-pipeline directory:

python3 -m venv venv

Activate the virtual environment and install the required Python packages (in some cases you are required to upgrade pip first):

source venv/bin/activate
pip install --upgrade pip
pip install -r requirements.txt

You can then deactivate the virtual environment:


Configuring some variables

In makefiles/Makefile.config you will find a section called Configuration. Here you will need to specify the path to the pipeline directory by setting the variable SPARV_PIPELINE_PATH. If you are planning on using the pipeline to install corpora on a remote computer, you must (in addition to installing CWB) edit the remote_host, remote_cwb_datadir and remote_cwb_registry variables. If you are going to use anything database related (generating lemgram index or Word Picture data for Korp) you also have to edit the value of rel_mysql_dbname.

Downloading and updating the models

Certain annotations need models to work. To download and generate the models follow these simple steps:

  1. Navigate to the sparv-pipeline/models directory in a terminal.
  2. Run the command make clean, and then make all.
  3. If no errors were reported while running the above commands you may run make space for saving disk space.

By default, the part-of-speech tagger also relies on the SALDO model. You can disable this dependency by commenting out the line beginning with hunpos_morphtable in Makefile.config, or changing its value to $(SPARV_MODELS)/hunpos.suc.morphtable.

Installing additional components (optional)

The following components are not part of the core Sparv Pipeline package. Whether or not you will need to install these components depends on how you want to use the Sparv Pipeline. Please note that different licenses may apply for the individual components.


Hunpos is used for Swedish part-of-speech tagging and it is a prerequisite for all of the SALDO-annotations. Hunpos can be downloaded from here. Installation is done by unpacking and then adding the path of the executables to your PATH environmental variable. If you are running a 64-bit OS, you might also have to install 32-bit compatibility libraries if Hunpos won't run:

sudo apt install ia32-libs

On Arch Linux, activate the multilib repository and install lib32-gcc-libs.

If that doesn't work, you might have to compile Hunpos from its source code.


MaltParser is used for Swedish dependency parsing. The version compatible with the Sparv pipeline is 1.7.2. Download and unpack the zip-file from the MaltParser home page and place its contents under sparv-pipeline/bin/maltparser-1.7.2.

Download the dependency model and place the file swemalt-1.7.2.mco under sparv-pipeline/models.


The Sparv-wsd is used for Swedish word-sense disambiguation. It is developed at Språkbanken and runs under the same license as the Sparv Pipeline core package. In order to use it within the Sparv Pipeline it is enough to download the saldowsd.jar from GitHub and place it inside the sparv-pipeline/bin/wsd directory:

wget -P sparv-pipeline/bin/wsd/

Its models are added automatically when building the Sparv Pipeline models (see above).


The current version of hfst-SweNER expects to be run in a Python 2 environment while the Sparv pipeline is written in Python 3. If you want to use hfst-SweNER's named entity recognition from within Sparv you need to make sure that your python command in your environment refers to Python 2. Alternatively, before installing hfst-SweNER, you can make sure that it will be run with the correct version of Python by replacing python with python2 in all the Python scripts in the hfst-swener-0.9.3/scripts directory. The first line in every script will then look like this:

#! /usr/bin/env python2

TreeTagger and FreeLing

TreeTagger and FreeLing are used for POS-tagging and lemmatization of other languages than Swedish. Please install the software according to the instructions on the respective website or in the provided readme file.

The following is a list over the languages currently supported by the corpus pipeline, their language codes and which tool Sparv uses to analyze them:

LanguageCodeAnalysis Tool
Swedish 1800'ssv-1800Sparv
Swedish development modesv-devSparv

If you are using TreeTagger, please copy the tree-tagger binary file into the sparv-pipeline/bin/treetagger directory belonging to the pipeline. The TreeTagger models (parameter files) need to be downloaded separately and saved in the sparv-pipeline/models/treetagger directory. The parameter files need to be re-named to a two-letter language code followed by the file ending .par, e.g. the Dutch parameter file is called nl.par.

When using Freeling you will need the sparv-freeling extension which is available via GitHub and runs under the AGPL license. Follow the installation instructions for the sparv-freeling module on GitHub in order to set up the models correctly.


fastalign is used for word-linking on parallel corpora. Follow the installation instructions given in the fastalign repository and copy the binary files atools and fast_align into the sparv-pipeline/bin/word_alignment folder of the pipeline.

Preparing a corpus

Create a new directory for your corpus (e.g. mycorpus). Under your new directory create another directory containing your input texts (e.g. original).

The input text must meet the following criteria:

  • The files must be encoded in UTF-8.
  • The format must be valid XML, with the following two exceptions:
    1. No root element is needed. It is however required that all text in the file must be contained within elements.
      The simplest valid file possible consists of a single element, for example <text>, containing nothing but raw text.
    2. Overlapping elements are allowed (<a><b></a></b>).
  • No file should be larger than ~10-20 MB, or you might run into memory problems. Split larger files into smaller files.

Every corpus needs a Makefile in which you configure the format of your input material and what annotations you want. You can use the included Makefile.example as a base for a simple corpus, or Makefile.template if you want to dive into the more advanced stuff. Whichever file you choose, you should put it in the directory you created for your corpus, and name the file Makefile.

By default Makefile.example is configured to read the source files from a directory named original, and assumes that all the text is contained within a <text> element. This can easily be changed by editing the original_dir and xml_elements variables in the Makefile. For a description of every available variable and setting, see Makefile.template.

Once you have edited the Makefile to fit your source material and needs, you are ready to execute it by running one of the following commands in a terminal:

make TEXT
This will parse your source files, which is a good place to start just to make sure everything works as it should. If there are any problems with the format of your source files, the script will complain.

make vrt
This will run every type of annotation that you have specified in the Makefile, and will output a VRT file for every input file. The VRT format is used as input for Corpus Workbench to create binary corpus files. The resulting files will be found in the annotations directory (created automatically).

make export
Same as make vrt, except the output format is XML and the files are saved to the export.original directory.

make cwb
This command will take the VRT files and convert them to a Corpus Workbench corpus.

make install_corpus
This will copy your Corpus Workbench corpus to a remote computer.

make relations
Provided that you are using syntactic parsing, this will generate the relations data for the Word Picture in Korp.

make install_relations
This will install the relations data to a remote MySQL server.

make add
If you remove or add source files to your corpus after having already run one of the commands above, you will have to run the above command.

For a complete list of available commands, run make without any arguments.

Installing Corpus Workbench (optional)

If you are not going to use the Korp backend, you can skip this step.

You will need the latest version of CWB for unicode support. Install by following these steps:

Check out the latest version of the source code from subversion by running the following command in a terminal:

svn co cwb

Navigate to the new cwb directory and run the following command:

sudo ./install-scripts/cwb-install-ubuntu

CWB is now installed, and by default you will find it under /usr/local/cwb-X.X.X/bin (where X.X.X is the version number). Confirm that the installation was successful by typing:

/usr/local/cwb-X.X.X/bin/cqp -v

CWB needs two directories for storing the corpora. One for the data, and one for the corpus registry. You may create these directories wherever you want, but let's assume that you have created the following two:


You also need to edit the following variables in sparv-pipeline/makefiles/Makefile.config, pointing to the directories created above:

export CWB_DATADIR ?= /corpora/data
export CORPUS_REGISTRY ?= /corpora/registry

If you're not running Ubuntu or if you run into any problems, refer to the INSTALL text file in the cwb dir for further instructions.