Exploring the Statistical Derivation of Transformational Rule Sequences for Part-of-Speech Tagging
Eric Brill has recently proposed a simple and powerful corpus-based language modeling approach that can be applied to various tasks including part-of-speech tagging and building phrase structure trees. The method learns a series of symbolic transformational rules, which can then be applied in sequence to a test corpus to produce predictions. The learning process only requires counting matches for a given set of rule templates, allowing the method to survey a very large space of possible contextual factors. This paper analyses Brill's approach as an interesting variation on existing decision tree methods, based on experiments involving part-of-speech tagging for both English and ancient Greek corpora. In particular, the analysis throws light on why the new mechanism seems surprisingly resistant to overtraining. A fast, incremental implementation and a mechanism for recording the dependencies that underlie the resulting rule sequence are also described.