Elena Sofia Ruzzetti


Lacking the Embedding of a Word? Look it up into a Traditional Dictionary
Elena Sofia Ruzzetti | Leonardo Ranaldi | Michele Mastromattei | Francesca Fallucchi | Noemi Scarpato | Fabio Massimo Zanzotto
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Word embeddings are powerful dictionaries, which may easily capture language variations. However, these dictionaries fail to give sense to rare words, which are surprisingly often covered by traditional dictionaries. In this paper, we propose to use definitions retrieved in traditional dictionaries to produce word embeddings for rare words. For this purpose, we introduce two methods: Definition Neural Network (DefiNNet) and Define BERT (DefBERT). In our experiments, DefiNNet and DefBERT significantly outperform state-of-the-art as well as baseline methods devised for producing embeddings of unknown words. In fact, DefiNNet significantly outperforms FastText, which implements a method for the same task-based on n-grams, and DefBERT significantly outperforms the BERT method for OOV words. Then, definitions in traditional dictionaries are useful to build word embeddings for rare words.