Tid: Fredag 22 maj 2015, kl. 13:00–16:00
Plats: Hörsal 5, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10B, Södra huset, Frescati


In this thesis I explore Bayesian models for word alignment, how they can be improved through joint annotation transfer, and how they can be extended to parallel texts in more than two languages. In addition to these general methodological developments, I apply the algorithms to problems from sign language research and linguistic typology.

In the first part of the thesis, I show how Bayesian alignment models estimated with Gibbs sampling are more accurate than previous methods for a range of different languages, particularly for languages with few digital resources available — which is unfortunately the state of the vast majority of languages today. Furthermore, I explore how different variations to the models and learning algorithms affect alignment accuracy.

Then, I show how part-of-speech annotation transfer can be performed jointly with word alignment to improve word alignment accuracy. I apply these models to help annotate the Swedish Sign Language Corpus (SSLC) with part-of-speech tags, and to investigate patterns of polysemy across the languages of the world.

Finally, I present a model for multilingual word alignment which learns an intermediate representation of the text. This model is then used with a massively parallel corpus containing translations of the New Testament, to explore word order features in 1001 languages.

Sharon Goldwater (Institute for Language, Cognition and Computation, School of Informatics at University of Edinburgh)

Mats Wirén (Institutionen för lingvistik, Stockholms universitet)