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Transfer Learning for Constituency-Based Grammars

Yuan Zhang, Regina Barzilay and Amir Globerson

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


In this paper, we consider the problem of cross-formalism transfer in parsing. We are interested in parsing constituency-based grammars such as HPSG and CCG using a small amount of data specific for the target formalism, and a large quantity of coarse CFG annotations from the Penn Treebank. While all of the target formalisms share a similar basic syntactic structure with Penn Treebank CFG, they also encode additional constraints and semantic features. To handle this apparent discrepancy, we design a probabilistic model that jointly generates CFG and target formalism parses. The model includes features of both parses, allowing transfer between the formalisms, while preserving parsing efficiency. We evaluate our approach on three constituency-based grammars — CCG, HPSG, and LFG, augmented with the Penn Treebank-1. Our experiments show that across all three formalisms, the target parsers significantly benefit from the coarse annotations.

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