As a precious cultural heritage of human beings, classical Chinese poetry has a very unique writing style and often contains special words that rarely appear in general Chinese texts, posting critical challenges for natural language processing. Little effort has been made in the literature for processing texts from classical Chinese poetry. This study fills in this gap with TopWORDS-Poetry, an unsupervised method that can achieve reliable text segmentation and word discovery for classical Chinese poetry simultaneously without pre-given vocabulary or training corpus. Experimental studies confirm that TopWORDS-Poetry can successfully recognize unique poetry words, such as named entities and literary allusions, from metrical poems of Complete Tang Poetry and segment these poetry lines into sequences of meaningful words with high quality.
Processing open-domain Chinese texts has been a critical bottleneck in computational linguistics for decades, partially because text segmentation and word discovery often entangle with each other in this challenging scenario. No existing methods yet can achieve effective text segmentation and word discovery simultaneously in open domain. This study fills in this gap by proposing a novel method called TopWORDS-Seg based on Bayesian inference, which enjoys robust performance and transparent interpretation when no training corpus and domain vocabulary are available. Advantages of TopWORDS-Seg are demonstrated by a series of experimental studies.