Predicting Sentence Deletions for Text Simplification Using a Functional Discourse Structure

Document-level text simplification often deletes some sentences besides performing lexical, grammatical or structural simplification to reduce text complexity. In this work, we focus on sentence deletions for text simplification and use a news genre-specific functional discourse structure, which categorizes sentences based on their contents and their function roles in telling a news story, for predicting sentence deletion. We incorporate sentence categories into a neural net model in two ways for predicting sentence deletions, either as additional features or by jointly predicting sentence deletions and sentence categories. Experimental results using human-annotated data show that incorporating the functional structure improves the recall of sentence deletion prediction by 6.5% and 10.7% respectively using the two methods, and improves the overall F1-score by 3.6% and 4.3% respectively.

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