Learning the Ordering of Coordinate Compounds and Elaborate Expressions in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese

Chenxuan Cui, Katherine J. Zhang, David Mortensen


Abstract
Coordinate compounds (CCs) and elaborate expressions (EEs) are coordinate constructions common in languages of East and Southeast Asia. Mortensen (2006) claims that (1) the linear ordering of EEs and CCs in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese can be predicted via phonological hierarchies and (2) that these phonological hierarchies lack a clear phonetic rationale. These claims are significant because morphosyntax has often been seen as in a feed-forward relationship with phonology, and phonological generalizations have often been assumed to be phonetically “natural”. We investigate whether the ordering of CCs and EEs can be learned empirically and whether computational models (classifiers and sequence-labeling models) learn unnatural hierarchies similar to those posited by Mortensen (2006). We find that decision trees and SVMs learn to predict the order of CCs/EEs on the basis of phonology, beating strong baselines for all three languages, with DTs learning hierarchies strikingly similar to those proposed by Mortensen. However, we also find that a neural sequence labeling model is able to learn the ordering of elaborate expressions in Hmong very effectively without using any phonological information. We argue that EE ordering can be learned through two independent routes: phonology and lexical distribution, presenting a more nuanced picture than previous work.
Anthology ID:
2022.naacl-main.268
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies
Month:
July
Year:
2022
Address:
Seattle, United States
Venue:
NAACL
SIG:
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
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Pages:
3656–3669
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2022.naacl-main.268
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2022.naacl-main.268
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Chenxuan Cui, Katherine J. Zhang, and David Mortensen. 2022. Learning the Ordering of Coordinate Compounds and Elaborate Expressions in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese. In Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, pages 3656–3669, Seattle, United States. Association for Computational Linguistics.
Cite (Informal):
Learning the Ordering of Coordinate Compounds and Elaborate Expressions in Hmong, Lahu, and Chinese (Cui et al., NAACL 2022)
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PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2022.naacl-main.268.pdf