Can LSTM Learn to Capture Agreement? The Case of Basque

Shauli Ravfogel, Francis M. Tyers, Yoav Goldberg

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

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sequential neural networks models are powerful tools in a variety of Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. The sequential nature of these models raises the questions: to what extent can these models implicitly learn hierarchical structures typical to human language, and what kind of grammatical phenomena can they acquire? We focus on the task of agreement prediction in Basque, as a case study for a task that requires implicit understanding of sentence structure and the acquisition of a complex but consistent morphological system. Analyzing experimental results from two syntactic prediction tasks - verb number prediction and suffix recovery - we find that sequential models perform worse on agreement prediction in Basque than one might expect on the basis of a previous agreement prediction work in English. Tentative findings based on diagnostic classifiers suggest the network makes use of local heuristics as a proxy for the hierarchical structure of the sentence. We propose the Basque agreement prediction task as challenging benchmark for models that attempt to learn regularities in human language.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEMNLP 2018 - 2018 EMNLP Workshop BlackboxNLP
Subtitle of host publicationAnalyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP, Proceedings of the 1st Workshop
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages98-107
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781948087711
StatePublished - 2018
Event1st Workshop on BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP, co-located with the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018 - Brussels, Belgium
Duration: 1 Nov 2018 → …

Publication series

NameEMNLP 2018 - 2018 EMNLP Workshop BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP, Proceedings of the 1st Workshop

Conference

Conference1st Workshop on BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP, co-located with the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2018
Country/TerritoryBelgium
CityBrussels
Period1/11/18 → …

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Association for Computational Linguistics

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