Content differences in syntactic and semantic representations

Daniel Hershcovich, Omri Abend, Ari Rappoport

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Syntactic analysis plays an important role in semantic parsing, but the nature of this role remains a topic of ongoing debate. The debate has been constrained by the scarcity of empirical comparative studies between syntactic and semantic schemes, which hinders the development of parsing methods informed by the details of target schemes and constructions. We target this gap, and take Universal Dependencies (UD) and UCCA as a test case. After abstracting away from differences of convention or formalism, we find that most content divergences can be ascribed to: (1) UCCA's distinction between a Scene and a non-Scene; (2) UCCA's distinction between primary relations, secondary ones and participants; (3) different treatment of multi-word expressions, and (4) different treatment of inter-clause linkage. We further discuss the long tail of cases where the two schemes take markedly different approaches. Finally, we show that the proposed comparison methodology can be used for fine-grained evaluation of UCCA parsing, highlighting both challenges and potential sources for improvement. The substantial differences between the schemes suggest that semantic parsers are likely to benefit downstream text understanding applications beyond their syntactic counterparts.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationLong and Short Papers
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages478-488
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781950737130
StatePublished - 2019
Event2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, NAACL HLT 2019 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 2 Jun 20197 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameNAACL HLT 2019 - 2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies - Proceedings of the Conference
Volume1

Conference

Conference2019 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, NAACL HLT 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis
Period2/06/197/06/19

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Association for Computational Linguistics

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