Treebanks traditionally treat punctuation marks as ordinary words, but linguists have suggested that a tree’s “true” punctuation marks are not observed (Nunberg, 1990). These latent “underlying” marks serve to delimit or separate constituents in the syntax tree. When the tree’s yield is rendered as a written sentence, a string rewriting mechanism transduces the underlying marks into “surface” marks, which are part of the observed (surface) string but should not be regarded as part of the tree. We formalize this idea in a generative model of punctuation that admits efficient dynamic programming. We train it without observing the underlying marks, by locally maximizing the incomplete data likelihood (similarly to the EM algorithm). When we use the trained model to reconstruct the tree’s underlying punctuation, the results appear plausible across 5 languages, and in particular are consistent with Nunberg’s analysis of English. We show that our generative model can be used to beat baselines on punctuation restoration. Also, our reconstruction of a sentence’s underlying punctuation lets us appropriately render the surface punctuation (via our trained underlying-to-surface mechanism) when we syntactically transform the sentence.
To approximately parse an unfamiliar language, it helps to have a treebank of a similar language. But what if the closest available treebank still has the wrong word order? We show how to (stochastically) permute the constituents of an existing dependency treebank so that its surface part-of-speech statistics approximately match those of the target language. The parameters of the permutation model can be evaluated for quality by dynamic programming and tuned by gradient descent (up to a local optimum). This optimization procedure yields trees for a new artificial language that resembles the target language. We show that delexicalized parsers for the target language can be successfully trained using such “made to order” artificial languages.
We introduce a novel framework for delexicalized dependency parsing in a new language. We show that useful features of the target language can be extracted automatically from an unparsed corpus, which consists only of gold part-of-speech (POS) sequences. Providing these features to our neural parser enables it to parse sequences like those in the corpus. Strikingly, our system has no supervision in the target language. Rather, it is a multilingual system that is trained end-to-end on a variety of other languages, so it learns a feature extractor that works well. We show experimentally across multiple languages: (1) Features computed from the unparsed corpus improve parsing accuracy. (2) Including thousands of synthetic languages in the training yields further improvement. (3) Despite being computed from unparsed corpora, our learned task-specific features beat previous work’s interpretable typological features that require parsed corpora or expert categorization of the language. Our best method improved attachment scores on held-out test languages by an average of 5.6 percentage points over past work that does not inspect the unparsed data (McDonald et al., 2011), and by 20.7 points over past “grammar induction” work that does not use training languages (Naseem et al., 2010).
We show how to predict the basic word-order facts of a novel language given only a corpus of part-of-speech (POS) sequences. We predict how often direct objects follow their verbs, how often adjectives follow their nouns, and in general the directionalities of all dependency relations. Such typological properties could be helpful in grammar induction. While such a problem is usually regarded as unsupervised learning, our innovation is to treat it as supervised learning, using a large collection of realistic synthetic languages as training data. The supervised learner must identify surface features of a language’s POS sequence (hand-engineered or neural features) that correlate with the language’s deeper structure (latent trees). In the experiment, we show: 1) Given a small set of real languages, it helps to add many synthetic languages to the training data. 2) Our system is robust even when the POS sequences include noise. 3) Our system on this task outperforms a grammar induction baseline by a large margin.
We show how to adapt bilingual word embeddings (BWE’s) to bootstrap a cross-lingual name-entity recognition (NER) system in a language with no labeled data. We assume a setting where we are given a comparable corpus with NER labels for the source language only; our goal is to build a NER model for the target language. The proposed multi-task model jointly trains bilingual word embeddings while optimizing a NER objective. This creates word embeddings that are both shared between languages and fine-tuned for the NER task.
We release Galactic Dependencies 1.0—a large set of synthetic languages not found on Earth, but annotated in Universal Dependencies format. This new resource aims to provide training and development data for NLP methods that aim to adapt to unfamiliar languages. Each synthetic treebank is produced from a real treebank by stochastically permuting the dependents of nouns and/or verbs to match the word order of other real languages. We discuss the usefulness, realism, parsability, perplexity, and diversity of the synthetic languages. As a simple demonstration of the use of Galactic Dependencies, we consider single-source transfer, which attempts to parse a real target language using a parser trained on a “nearby” source language. We find that including synthetic source languages somewhat increases the diversity of the source pool, which significantly improves results for most target languages.