A Computational Method for Predicting Bare Nouns in Peninsular Spanish

By Mike Field.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents a specific example of how syntax and semantics in language can be studied computationally using mathematical techniques. The study describes a method for predicting where bare noun phrases are permitted in Peninsular Spanish. The C4.5 decision tree algorithm was used to classify 48,554 noun phrases from the AnCora-ES corpus of Spanish news articles based on several syntactic, semantic and lexical properties of each noun phrase, including grammatical function, theta role, number, gender, if the noun is modified, position relative to the head verb, and if certain special-case verbs and nouns appeared in the sentence. On 3,852 noun phrases in the evaluation data set, the system achieved 81% precision, 77% recall, an F-measure of 79% and 81% accuracy. Gender was found to have significant importance in the classification, as did the prepositions de, a, entre, sin and con.

Keywords: Computational Linguistics, Bare Nouns, Null Determiners, Spanish, Natural Language Processing, Decision Tree, Variable Rule Analysis

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 12, pp.27-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 953.636KB).

Mike Field

Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Mike Field is an independent researcher and former doctoral candidate of Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. His primary research focus is computational linguistics and the examination of language from a technological perspective. Recent projects include a computational study of bare nouns in Madrid Spanish for use in grammar checking software and natural language generation systems. He has also carried out experiments using speech synthesis techniques that examine the intonation of Mexico City Spanish for use in text-to-speech systems. He has an M.A. in Spanish from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. in Spanish from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario.


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