Transparent Semantic Parsing with Universal Dependencies Using Graph Transformations

COLING 2022  ·  Wessel Poelman, Rik van Noord, Johan Bos ·

Even though many recent semantic parsers are based on deep learning methods, we should not forget that rule-based alternatives might offer advantages over neural approaches with respect to transparency, portability, and explainability. Taking advantage of existing off-the-shelf Universal Dependency parsers, we present a method that maps a syntactic dependency tree to a formal meaning representation based on Discourse Representation Theory. Rather than using lambda calculus to manage variable bindings, our approach is novel in that it consists of using a series of graph transformations. The resulting UD semantic parser shows good performance for English, German, Italian and Dutch, with F-scores over 75%, outperforming a neural semantic parser for the lower-resourced languages. Unlike neural semantic parsers, our UD semantic parser does not hallucinate output, is relatively easy to port to other languages, and is completely transparent.

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