TechTalks from event: NAACL 2015

9C: Linguistic and Psycholinguistic Aspects of CL

  • A Bayesian Model for Joint Learning of Categories and their Features Authors: Lea Frermann and Mirella Lapata
    Categories such as ANIMAL or FURNITURE are acquired at an early age and play an important role in processing, organizing, and conveying world knowledge. Theories of categorization largely agree that categories are characterized by features such as function or appearance and that feature and category acquisition go hand-in-hand, however previous work has considered these problems in isolation. We present the first model that jointly learns categories and their features. The set of features is shared across categories, and strength of association is inferred in a Bayesian framework. We approximate the learning environment with natural language text which allows us to evaluate performance on a large scale. Compared to highly engineered pattern-based approaches, our model is cognitively motivated, knowledge-lean, and learns categories and features which are perceived by humans as more meaningful.
  • Shared common ground influences information density in microblog texts Authors: Gabriel Doyle and Michael Frank
    If speakers use language rationally, they should structure their messages to achieve approximately uniform information density (UID), in order to optimize transmission via a noisy channel. Previous work identified a consistent increase in linguistic information across sentences in text as a signature of the UID hypothesis. This increase was derived from a predicted increase in context, but the context itself was not quantified. We use microblog texts from Twitter, tied to a single shared event (the baseball World Series), to quantify both linguistic and non-linguistic context. By tracking changes in contextual information, we predict and identify gradual and rapid changes in information content in response to in-game events. These findings lend further support to the UID hypothesis and highlights the importance of non-linguistic common ground for language production and processing.
  • Hierarchic syntax improves reading time prediction Authors: Marten van Schijndel and William Schuler
    Previous work has debated whether humans make use of hierarchic syntax when processing language (Frank and Bod, 2011; Fossum and Levy, 2012). This paper uses an eye-tracking corpus to demonstrate that hierarchic syntax significantly improves reading time prediction over a strong n-gram baseline. This study shows that an interpolated 5-gram baseline can be made stronger by combining n-gram statistics over entire eye-tracking regions rather than simply using the last n-gram in each region, but basic hierarchic syntactic measures are still able to achieve significant improvements over this improved baseline.