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Take the sentence:

If you see a green light then you may cross the road.

I propose a neural network which produces as output from this sentence 3 masks and a classifier as follows:

input   : If you see a green light then you may cross the road.
output 1: XX                       XXXX
output 2:    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
output 3:                               XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
output 4: [if-then-statement]

So basically we train the neural network on a corpus to split the sentence into it's most general structure. Then we take the masks and use it on the input to produce a new phrase. e.g. let's take the mask from output 2:

input   : you see a green light
output 1:     xxx
output 2: xxx
output 3:         xxxxxxxxxxxxx
output 4:[event]

This time the neural network classifies the input as an event and creates masks for splitting the sentence into subject-object-verb.

So we repeat the process using the masks created to change the input until we have parsed the sentence into a tree-like representation. We use the same neural network each time.

If it fails to find a classification for an input it could go back up one level and try a different classification. (Much like a human might do if it doesn't quite understand a sentence).

The result would be an internal representation which might consist of a tree-like structure of masks and classifications. Which might then be more useful for reasoning about the meaning of the sentence.

This is kind of a top-down approach. I'm not sure how it would learn these masks from un-marked speech, but certainly I think it could learn them from a tagged corpus. I think maybe a similar approach might be used backwards to generate sentences.

Has this sort of thing been tried before?

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  • $\begingroup$ That might be interesting but how do you know where to apply the masks at the different levels for any input sentence? syntactic tree maybe? And what is the output exactly? For instance what do you expect as an output for "Has this sort of thing been tried before?" $\endgroup$ – Erwan Nov 26 '19 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ @Erwan Probably it will pass that as a "has-question" and mask off the second part. The second part would classify as an "event" when passed back into the neural network. Yes that's the tricky bit of teaching the neural networks! $\endgroup$ – zooby Nov 26 '19 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ It looks like you would need a large amount of training data labeled in a very specific way, that could be a problem. Maybe you could look if you can convert existing treebanks? $\endgroup$ – Erwan Nov 26 '19 at 23:40

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