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Implementing Voting Constraints with Finite State Transducers

Kemal Oflazer and G?okhan T?ur
Department of Computer Engineering and Information Science
Bilkent University, Bilkent, Ankara, TR-06533, Turkey
fko,[email protected]


We describe a finite state transducer implementation of a constraint-based morphological disambiguation system in which individual constraint rule vote on matching morphological parses. Voting constraint rules have a number of desirable properties: The outcome of the disambiguation is independent of the order of application of the local contextual constraint rules. Thus the rule developer is relieved from worrying about conflicting rule sequencing. The approach can also combine statistically and manually obtained constraints, and incorporate negative constraints that rule out certain patterns. The transducer implementation has a number of desirable properties compared to other finite state tagging and light parsing approaches, implemented with automata intersection. The most important of these is that since constraints do not remove parses there is no risk of an overzealous constraint killing a sentence" by removing all parses of a token during intersection. After a description of our approach we present preliminary results from tagging the Wall Street Journal Corpus with this approach. With about 400 statistically derived constraints and about 570 manual constraints, we can attain an accuracy of 97.82% on the training corpus and 97.29% on the test corpus. We then describe a finite state implementation of our approach and discuss various related issues.

1 Introduction

We describe a finite state implementation of a constraint-based morphological disambiguation system in which individual constraints vote on matching morphological parses and disambiguation of all tokens in a sentence is performed at the end, by selecting parses that collectively make up the the highest voted combination. The approach depends on assigning votes to constraints via statistical and/or manual means, and then letting constraint rule cast votes on matching parses of a given lexical item. This approach does not reflect the outcome of matching constraint rules to the set of morphological parses immediately. Only after all applicable rules are applied to a sentence, all tokens are disambiguated in parallel. Thus, the outcome of the rule applications is independent of the order of rule applications.

Constraint-based morphological disambiguation systems (e.g. [OK94, Vou95, Kos90]) typically look at a context of several sequential tokens each annotated with their possible morphological interpretations (or tags), and in a reductionistic way, remove parses that are considered to be impossible in the given context. Since constraint rule application is ordered, parses removed by one rule may not be used or referred to in subsequent rule applications. Addition of a new rule requires that its place in the sequence be carefully determined to avoid any unwanted interactions. Automata intersection based approaches run the risk of deleting all parses of a sentence, and also have been observed to end up with large intersected machines. Our approach eliminates the ordering problem as parse removals are not committed during application, but only after all rules are processed. Figure 1 highlights the voting constraints paradigm.