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Going to the Roots of Dependency Parsing
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology. (Datorlingvistik)
2013 (English)In: Computational linguistics - Association for Computational Linguistics (Print), ISSN 0891-2017, E-ISSN 1530-9312, Vol. 39, no 1, 5-13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dependency trees used in syntactic parsing often include a root node representing a dummy word prefixed or suffixed to the sentence, a device that is generally considered a mere technical convenience and is tacitly assumed to have no impact on empirical results. We demonstrate that this assumption is false and that the accuracy of data-driven dependency parsers can in fact be sensitive to the existence and placement of the dummy root node. In particular, we show that a greedy, left-to-right, arc-eager transition-based parser consistently performs worse when the dummy root node is placed at the beginning of the sentence (following the current convention in data-driven dependency parsing) than when it is placed at the end or omitted completely. Control experiments with an arc-standard transition-based parser and an arc-factored graph-based parser reveal no consistent preferences but nevertheless exhibit considerable variation in results depending on root placement. We conclude that the treatment of dummy root nodes in data-driven dependency parsing is an underestimated source of variation in experiments and may also be a parameter worth tuning for some parsers.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MIT Press, 2013. Vol. 39, no 1, 5-13 p.
National Category
Language Technology (Computational Linguistics)
Research subject
Computational Linguistics
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-198101DOI: 10.1162/COLI_a_00132ISI: 000315648000002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-198101DiVA: diva2:615236
Available from: 2013-04-09 Created: 2013-04-09 Last updated: 2013-07-30

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Nivre, Joakim
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Department of Linguistics and Philology
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