Entity Aware Syntax Tree Based Data Augmentation for Natural Language Understanding

6 Sep 2022  ·  Jiaxing Xu, Jianbin Cui, Jiangneng Li, Wenge Rong, Noboru Matsuda ·

Understanding the intention of the users and recognizing the semantic entities from their sentences, aka natural language understanding (NLU), is the upstream task of many natural language processing tasks. One of the main challenges is to collect a sufficient amount of annotated data to train a model. Existing research about text augmentation does not abundantly consider entity and thus performs badly for NLU tasks. To solve this problem, we propose a novel NLP data augmentation technique, Entity Aware Data Augmentation (EADA), which applies a tree structure, Entity Aware Syntax Tree (EAST), to represent sentences combined with attention on the entity. Our EADA technique automatically constructs an EAST from a small amount of annotated data, and then generates a large number of training instances for intent detection and slot filling. Experimental results on four datasets showed that the proposed technique significantly outperforms the existing data augmentation methods in terms of both accuracy and generalization ability.

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