April 23, 2007: Seminar: Roxana Girju: "Improving the Interpretation of Noun Phrases with Cross-linguistic Information"

Seminar Announcement

Improving the Interpretation of Noun Phrases with Cross-linguistic Information

Roxana Girju
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Friday, April 27, 2007

12:00 p.m., Room 512 SEO


The acquisition of semantic knowledge is paramount for any application that requires a deep understanding of natural language text. Motivated by the problem of building a noun phrase-level semantic parser and adapting it to various applications, such as machine translation and multilingual question answering, we present a domain-independent model for noun phrase interpretation. We investigate the problem based on cross-linguistic evidence from a set of five Romance languages: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. The focus on Romance languages is well motivated. Most of the time English noun phrases translate into constructions of the form ''N P N'' in Romance languages where, as we will show, the P (preposition) correlates with the semantics.

A set of novel semantic and contextual English-Romance NP features is derived based on empirical observations on the distribution of the syntax and meaning of noun phrases on two corpora of different genre (Europarl and CLUVI). The features are employed in a supervised learning algorithm and the results are compared against two state-of-the-art models reported in the literature on the same task.

Brief Bio:

Roxana Girju is an assistant professor in the Linguistics department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also holds affiliate appointments in the departments of Computer Science, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, and Beckman Institute. Her research interests are in the area of Natural Language Processing / Computational Linguistics with emphasis on computational semantics and its applications to question answering and textual inference. Dr. Girju was awarded a U of I Center for Advanced Study (CAS) Award (2006). Her computational semantics team ranked first in the international semantic evaluation (SemEval 2007) series at ACL 2007.

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