Generation Of Noun Compounds In Hebrew: Can Syntactic Knowledge Be Fully Encapsulated?

Yael Dahan Netzer, Michael Elhadad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Hebrew •includes a very productive noun-compounding construction called smixut. Because smixut is marked morphologically and is restricted by many syntactic constraints, it has been the focus of many descriptive studies in Hebrew grammar. We present the treatment of smixut in HUGG, a FUF-based syntactic realization system capable of producing complex noun phrases in Hebrew. We contrast the treatment of smixut
with noun-compounding in English and illustrate the potential for paraphrasing it introduces. We Specifically address the issue of determining when a smixut construction can be generated as opposed to other semantically equivalent constructs. We investigate several competing hypotheses - smixut is lexically, semantically and/or pragmatically determined. For each hy:
pothesis, we explain why the decision to produce a smixut construction cannot be reduced to a computation Over features produced by an outside module that Would not need to know about the smixut phenomenon. We conclude that smixut provides yet another theoretical example where the interface that a syntactic realization component presents to the other components of a generation architecture cannot be made as isolated as we would hope. While the syntactic constraints on smixut are encapsulated within HUGG, the input Specification language to HUGG must contain a feature that specifies that smixut is requested if possible. • However, because smixut accounts for close to half the cases of NP modifiers observed
on a corpus of complex NPs, and it •appears to be the unmarked realization form for some frequent semantic relations, we empirically evaluate a default setting strategy for the feature
use-smixut based on a simple semantic Classification of the relations head-modifier in the NP. This study provides a Solid ground for the definition of a small set of predicates in the input
specification language to HUGG, that has applications beyond the selection of smixut -- for the determination of the order of modifiers in the NP and the use of stacking vs. conjunction --and for the definition of a bilingual input specification language.
Original languageEnglish GB
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Ninth International Workshop on Natural Language Generation, INLG 1998, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, August 5-7, 1998
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
StatePublished - 1998


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