Bridging Pre-trained Language Models and Hand-crafted Features for Unsupervised POS Tagging

In recent years, large-scale pre-trained language models (PLMs) have made extraordinary progress in most NLP tasks. But, in the unsupervised POS tagging task, works utilizing PLMs are few and fail to achieve state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance. The recent SOTA performance is yielded by a Guassian HMM variant proposed by He et al. (2018). However, as a generative model, HMM makes very strong independence assumptions, making it very challenging to incorporate contexualized word representations from PLMs. In this work, we for the first time propose a neural conditional random field autoencoder (CRF-AE) model for unsupervised POS tagging. The discriminative encoder of CRF-AE can straightforwardly incorporate ELMo word representations. Moreover, inspired by feature-rich HMM, we reintroduce hand-crafted features into the decoder of CRF-AE. Finally, experiments clearly show that our model outperforms previous state-of-the-art models by a large margin on Penn Treebank and multilingual Universal Dependencies treebank v2.0.

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