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Derivational Smoothing for Syntactic Distributional Semantics

Sebastian Pado, Jan Snajder and Britta Zeller

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


Syntax-based vector spaces are used widely in lexical semantics and are more versatile than word-based spaces (Baroni and Lenci, 2010). However, they are also sparse, with resulting reliability and coverage problems. We address this problem by derivational smoothing, which uses knowledge about derivationally related words (oldish → old) to improve semantic similarity estimates. We develop a set of derivational smoothing methods and evaluate them on two German tasks. Even for models built from very large corpora, simple derivational smoothing can improve coverage considerably.

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