Helen O’Horan


Modeling Language Variation and Universals: A Survey on Typological Linguistics for Natural Language Processing
Edoardo Maria Ponti | Helen O’Horan | Yevgeni Berzak | Ivan Vulić | Roi Reichart | Thierry Poibeau | Ekaterina Shutova | Anna Korhonen
Computational Linguistics, Volume 45, Issue 3 - September 2019

Linguistic typology aims to capture structural and semantic variation across the world’s languages. A large-scale typology could provide excellent guidance for multilingual Natural Language Processing (NLP), particularly for languages that suffer from the lack of human labeled resources. We present an extensive literature survey on the use of typological information in the development of NLP techniques. Our survey demonstrates that to date, the use of information in existing typological databases has resulted in consistent but modest improvements in system performance. We show that this is due to both intrinsic limitations of databases (in terms of coverage and feature granularity) and under-utilization of the typological features included in them. We advocate for a new approach that adapts the broad and discrete nature of typological categories to the contextual and continuous nature of machine learning algorithms used in contemporary NLP. In particular, we suggest that such an approach could be facilitated by recent developments in data-driven induction of typological knowledge.


Survey on the Use of Typological Information in Natural Language Processing
Helen O’Horan | Yevgeni Berzak | Ivan Vulić | Roi Reichart | Anna Korhonen
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

In recent years linguistic typologies, which classify the world’s languages according to their functional and structural properties, have been widely used to support multilingual NLP. While the growing importance of typologies in supporting multilingual tasks has been recognised, no systematic survey of existing typological resources and their use in NLP has been published. This paper provides such a survey as well as discussion which we hope will both inform and inspire future work in the area.