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Constructing a Family Tree of Ten Indo-European Languages with Delexicalized Cross-linguistic Transfer Patterns

07/17/2020
by   Yuanyuan Zhao, et al.
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It is reasonable to hypothesize that the divergence patterns formulated by historical linguists and typologists reflect constraints on human languages, and are thus consistent with Second Language Acquisition (SLA) in a certain way. In this paper, we validate this hypothesis on ten Indo-European languages. We formalize the delexicalized transfer as interpretable tree-to-string and tree-to-tree patterns which can be automatically induced from web data by applying neural syntactic parsing and grammar induction technologies. This allows us to quantitatively probe cross-linguistic transfer and extend inquiries of SLA. We extend existing works which utilize mixed features and support the agreement between delexicalized cross-linguistic transfer and the phylogenetic structure resulting from the historical-comparative paradigm.

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