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Dec 1996
ISBN 0262611228
202 pp.
30 illus.
The Balancing Act
Judith Klavans and Philip Resnik

"The statistical and symbolic approaches to language have emerged from different starting points and methodologies and have tended to focus on different goals. The resulting tension and confusion has obscured the fact that both approaches can make crucial and often complementary contributions to a deeper understanding of how language works. The papers in this volume show that this is indeed the case: they carefully articulate the theoretical advantages of combining techniques and describe a number of concrete experiments that illustrate and support a systhesis of both approaches."
-- Ronald M. Kaplan, Research Fellow, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center

Symbolic and statistical approaches to language have historically been at odds -- the former viewed as difficult to test and therefore perhaps impossible to define, and the latter as descriptive but possibly inadequate. At the heart of the debate are fundamental questions concerning the nature of language, the role of data in building a model or theory, and the impact of the competence-performance distinction on the field of computational linguistics. Currently, there is an increasing realization in both camps that the two approaches have something to offer in achieving common goals.

The eight contributions in this book explore the inevitable "balancing act" that must take place when symbolic and statistical approaches are brought together -- including basic choices about what knowledge will be represented symbolically and how it will be obtained, what assumptions underlie the statistical model, what principles motivate the symbolic model, and what the researcher gains by combining approaches.

The topics covered include an examination of the relationship between traditional linguistics and statistical methods, qualitative and quantitative methods of speech translation, study and implementation of combined techniques for automatic extraction of terminology, comparative analysis of the contributions of linguistic cues to a statistical word grouping system, automatic construction of a symbolic parser via statistical techniques, combining linguistic with statistical methods in automatic speech understanding, exploring the nature of transformation-based learning, and a hybrid symbolic/statistical approach to recovering from parser failures.


Table of Contents
1 Statistical Methods and Linguistics
by Steven Abney
2 Qualitative and Quantitative Models of Speech Translation
by Hiyan Alshawi
3 Study and Implementation of Combined Techniques for Automatic Extraction of Terminology
by Béatrice Daille
4 Do We Need Linguistics When We Have Statistics? A Comparative Analysis of the Contributions of Linguistic Cues to a Statistical Word Grouping Ssytem
by Vasileios Hatzivassilogiou
5 The Automatic Construction of a Symbolic Parser via Statistical Techniques
by Shyam Kapur and Robin Clark
6 Combining Linguistic with Statistical Methods in Automatic Speech Understanding
by Patti Price
7 Exploring the Nature of Transformation-Based Learning
by Lance A. Ramshaw and Mitchell P. Marcus
8 Recovering from Parser Failures: A Hybrid Statistical and Symbolic Approach
by Carolyn Penstein Rosé and Alex H. Waibel
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