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Linguistic Essentials for NLP


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Introducing some basic essentials from linguistics that might help when dealing with NLP tasks. This note is reconstruction of Chapter 3 from the book "Foundations of Statistical NLP" by Christopher D. Manning, containing some external sources like Coursera's NLP course held by Dragomir R. Radev in University of Michigan.

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Linguistic Essentials for NLP

  1. 1. IDSLab Linguistic Essentials for NLP SNU IDS Lab. Jamie Seol
  2. 2. IDSLab Jamie Seol Quiz • A ( 1 ) is a category of words, which have similar syntactical or grammatical behavior. • ( 2 ) is the study of the regularities and constraints of word order and phrase structure. • ( 3 ) is the study of the meaning of words, constructions, and utterances. We can divide ( 3 ) into two parts, the study of the meaning of individual words and the study of how meanings of individual words are combined into the meaning of sentences. • (bonus point) list up 4 major types of phrases.
  3. 3. IDSLab Jamie Seol Language (언어) • Definition of language varies through perspective • invariant: it’s a system for communication • We can say so many many things about “What is a language?” • In here, we’re focuing on Natural Human Language from Linguistics which consists: • productivity • syntax • recursivity • displacement • modality independent
  4. 4. IDSLab Jamie Seol Language - Appendix • Natural human language is defined as: a system for complex communications using signs, gestures, sounds, symbols and etc. • complex is achieved by double articulation and syntax (note that drawings don’t have a syntax) • Properties from previous slide and above may appear even in non-human or non-linguistic languages like bee signs or baby cries, but natural human language is the only known one that has those in mutual • Natural human language has two major parts: phonological system and syntactic system; actually, treating those parts as separated concept is quite dangerous! • There are so many other properties in a language! It’s very, very sophisticated system we’re talking about
  5. 5. IDSLab Jamie Seol Language - Appendix • Examples of various languages • formal language: a set of strings and symbols constrained by finite (but possibly recursive) rules, having potential to construct complete and sound axiomatic systems • programming language: extenion of formal language that can determine a turing-complete systems • baby cries: typical non-linguistic communication systems, which is modality dependent, non-recursive, non-displacement • bee signs: typical non-human communication systems, modality dependent and non-recursive but has displacement! • surprisingly, bees can precisely tell the location of nectar sources even if it’s in somewhere out of sight
  6. 6. IDSLab Jamie Seol Language - Appendix • Classifying languages are very, very hard task • 3 major types of language families • dialect continua, isolates, proto-languages • In sense of morphological structure in typology, there are 4 types: • agglutinative: derivation occurs a lot • inflectional: inflection occurs a lot • isolating: like Chinese characters; requires alignment information to determine word’s meanings, neither do derivate nor inflect • polysynthetic: long long words like concatenated morphemes, acts as almost a sentence
  7. 7. IDSLab Jamie Seol Sentence (문장) • A sentence is a sequence of words that is complete in itself which can make a statement, question, command and etc. • compound of several clauses, and complete • Empirically, we do know that (for example, in English) letters → words →phrases → clauses → sentences →paragraphs → documents → … → languages → ? • But we can’t deal with some infinite concept! • Temporarily, we’ll only talk about things at most a sentence • semantics and pragmatics can cover cases with multiple sentences
  8. 8. IDSLab Jamie Seol Clause (절) • A clause is a sequence of words that has exactly one relationship of a subject and a predicate • “because she smiled at her” • this is a typical type of dependent clause • if a clause is complete in itself, then it can be a sentence and we call it an independent clause • “놀랍게도