This article describes MetaRomance, a rule-based cross-lingual parser for Romance languages submitted to
CoNLL 2017 Shared Task: Multilingual Parsing from Raw Text to Universal Dependencies. The system is an almost delexicalized parser which does not need training data to analyze Romance languages.
It contains linguistically motivated rules based on PoS-tag patterns. The rules included in MetaRomance were developed in about 12 hours by one expert with no prior knowledge in Universal Dependencies, and can be
easily extended using a transparent formalism.
In this paper we compare the performance of MetaRomance with other supervised systems participating in the competition, paying special attention to the parsing of different treebanks of the same language.
We also compare our system with a delexicalized parser for Romance languages, and take advantage of the harmonized annotation of Universal Dependencies to propose a language ranking based on the syntactic distance each variety has from Romance languages.
Keywords: dependency parsing, rule-based parsing, multilingual parsing, natural language processing