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Bootstrapping Structure into Language: Alignment-Based Learning

By Menno Matthias Van Zaanen

Abstract

refined and abstract meanings largely grow out of more concrete meanings. Bloomfield (1933)\ud \ud This thesis introduces a new unsupervised learning framework, called Alignment-Based Learning, which is based on the alignment of sentences and Harris's (1951) notion of substitutability . Instances of the framework can be applied to an untagged, unstructured corpus of natural language sentences, resulting in a labelled, bracketed version of that corpus. Firstly, the framework aligns all sentences in the corpus in pairs, resulting in a partition of the sentences consisting of parts of the sentences that are equal in both sentences and parts that are unequal. Unequal parts of sen tences can be seen as being substitutable for each other, since substituting one unequal part for the other results in another valid sentence. The unequal parts of the sentences are thus considered to be possible (possibly overlapping) constituents, called hypotheses.\ud \ud Secondly , the selection learning phase considers all hypotheses found by the alignment learning phase and selects the best of these. The hypotheses are selected based on the order in which they were found, or based on a probabilistic function. The framework can be extended with a grammar extraction phase. This extended framework is called parseABL. Instead of returning a structured version of the unstructured input corpus, like the ABL system, this system also returns a stochastic context-free or tree substitution grammar. \ud \ud Different instances of the framework have been tested on the English ATIS corpus, the Dutch OVIS corpus and the Wall Street Journal corpus. One of the interesting results, apart from the encouraging numerical results, is that all instances can (and do) learn recursive structures.\u

Publisher: School of Computing (Leeds)
Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:etheses.whiterose.ac.uk:1304

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