Semantics-First Natural Language Processing

Steven L. Lytinen

There is no consensus on how syntax and semantic/pragmatics should interact in natural language processing. This paper focuses on one issue concerning interaction: order of processing. Two approaches are compared empirically: an interleaved syntax-first approach, in which semantic interpretations is performed at intermediate points during parsing; and a semantics-first approach, in which semantic considerations drive the rule selection process during parsing. The study provides empirical evidence that the semantics-first approach is more efficient than the syntax-first approach in processing texts in narrow domains.


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