On the Evolution of Word Order
Idan Rejwan | Avi Caciularu
Proceedings of the Student Research Workshop Associated with RANLP 2021
Most natural languages have a predominant or fixed word order. For example in English the word order is usually Subject-Verb-Object. This work attempts to explain this phenomenon as well as other typological findings regarding word order from a functional perspective. In particular, we examine whether fixed word order provides a functional advantage, explaining why these languages are prevalent. To this end, we consider an evolutionary model of language and demonstrate, both theoretically and using genetic algorithms, that a language with a fixed word order is optimal. We also show that adding information to the sentence, such as case markers and noun-verb distinction, reduces the need for fixed word order, in accordance with the typological findings.
Bayesian Hierarchical Words Representation Learning
Oren Barkan | Idan Rejwan | Avi Caciularu | Noam Koenigstein
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics
This paper presents the Bayesian Hierarchical Words Representation (BHWR) learning algorithm. BHWR facilitates Variational Bayes word representation learning combined with semantic taxonomy modeling via hierarchical priors. By propagating relevant information between related words, BHWR utilizes the taxonomy to improve the quality of such representations. Evaluation of several linguistic datasets demonstrates the advantages of BHWR over suitable alternatives that facilitate Bayesian modeling with or without semantic priors. Finally, we further show that BHWR produces better representations for rare words.