Quarterly (March, June, September, December)
160 pp. per issue
6 3/4 x 10
2014 Impact factor:

Computational Linguistics

Paola Merlo, Editor
March 2017, Vol. 43, No. 1, Pages 1-30
(doi: 10.1162/COLI_a_00273)
© 2017 Association for Computational Linguistics Published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license
A Statistical, Grammar-Based Approach to Microplanning
Article PDF (530.25 KB)

Although there has been much work in recent years on data-driven natural language generation, little attention has been paid to the fine-grained interactions that arise during microplanning between aggregation, surface realization, and sentence segmentation. In this article, we propose a hybrid symbolic/statistical approach to jointly model the constraints regulating these interactions. Our approach integrates a small handwritten grammar, a statistical hypertagger, and a surface realization algorithm. It is applied to the verbalization of knowledge base queries and tested on 13 knowledge bases to demonstrate domain independence. We evaluate our approach in several ways. A quantitative analysis shows that the hybrid approach outperforms a purely symbolic approach in terms of both speed and coverage. Results from a human study indicate that users find the output of this hybrid statistic/symbolic system more fluent than both a template-based and a purely symbolic grammar-based approach. Finally, we illustrate by means of examples that our approach can account for various factors impacting aggregation, sentence segmentation, and surface realization.