A methodology for automatic identification of nocuous ambiguity

Yang, Hui; De Roeck, Anne; Willis, Alistair and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2010). A methodology for automatic identification of nocuous ambiguity. In: The 23rd International Conference on Computational Linguistics (Coling 2010), 23-27 Aug 2010, Beijing, China, pp. 1218–1226.

URL: http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/C/C10/C10-1137.pdf


Nocuous ambiguity occurs when a linguistic expression is interpreted differently by different readers in a given context. We present an approach to automatically identify nocuous ambiguity that is likely to lead to misunderstandings among readers. Our model is built on a machine learning architecture. It learns from a set of heuristics each of which predicts a factor that may lead a reader to favor a particular interpretation. An ambiguity threshold indicates the extent to which ambiguity can be tolerated in the application domain. Collections of human judgments are used to train heuristics and set ambiguity thresholds, and for evaluation. We report results from applying the methodology to coordination and anaphora ambiguity. Results show that the method can identify nocuous ambiguity in text, and may be widened to cover further types of ambiguity. We discuss approaches to evaluation.

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