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Proceedings of the Workshop on Multiword Expressions: from Parsing and Generation to the Real World

Valia Kordoni; Carlos Ramisch; Aline Villavicencio
Association for Computational Linguistics, Portland, Oregon, USA, 6/2011.


The ACL 2011 Workshop on Multiword Expressions: from Parsing and Generation to the Real World (MWE 2011) took place on June 23, 2011 in Portland, Oregon, USA, in conjunction to the 49th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies (ACL HLT 2011). The workshop has been held every year since 2003 in conjunction with ACL, EACL, COLING and LREC. Multiword Expressions (MWEs) range over linguistic constructions such as idioms (a frog in the throat, kill some time), fixed phrases (per se, by and large, rock’n roll), noun compounds (telephone booth, cable car), compound verbs (give a presentation, go by [a name]), etc. While easily mastered by native speakers, their interpretation poses a major challenge for computational systems, due to their flexible and heterogeneous nature. Surprisingly enough, MWEs are not nearly as frequent in NLP resources (dictionaries, grammars) as they are in real-word text, where they have been reported to account for over 70% of the terms in a domain. Thus, MWEs are a key issue and a current weakness for tasks like Natural Language Parsing (NLP) and Generation (NLG), as well as real-life applications such as Machine Translation. MWE 2011 is the 8th event in the series, and the time has come to move from basic preliminary research and theoretical results to actual applications in real-world NLP tasks. Therefore, following further the trend of previousMWEworkshops, we have now turned our focus towards MWEs on NLP applications, specifically towards Parsing and Generation of MWEs, as there is a wide range of open problems that prevent MWE treatment techniques to be fully integrated in current NLP systems. We have thus asked our contributors for original research related (but not limited) to the following topics: • Lexical representations: In spite of several proposals for MWE representation ranging along the continuum from words-with-spaces to compositional approaches connecting lexicon and grammar, to date, it remains unclear how MWEs should be represented in electronic dictionaries, thesauri and grammars. New methodologies that take into account the type of MWE and its properties are needed for efficiently handling manually and/or automatically acquired expressions in NLP systems. Moreover, strategies are also needed to represent deep attributes and semantic properties for these multiword entries. • Task and Application-oriented evaluation: Evaluation is a crucial aspect for MWE research. Various evaluation techniques have been proposed, from manual inspection of top-n candidates to classic precision/recall measures. However, to get a clear indication of the effect of incorporating a treatment ofMWEs in a particular context, task and application-oriented evaluations are needed. We have thus called for submissions that study the impact of MWE handling in the context of Parsing, Generation, Information Extraction, Machine Translation, Summarization, etc. • Type-dependent analysis: While there is no unique definition or classification of MWEs, most researchers agree on some major classes such as named entities, collocations, multiword terminology and verbal expressions. These, though, are very heterogeneous in terms of syntactic and semantic properties, and should thus be treated differently by applications. Type-dependent analyses could shed some light on the best methodologies to integrate MWE knowledge in our analysis and generation systems. • MWE engineering: Where do MWEs go after being extracted? Do they belong to the lexicon and/or to the grammar? In the pipeline of linguistic analysis and/or generation, where should we insert MWEs? And even more important: HOW? Because all the effort put in automatic MWE extraction will not be useful if we do not know how to employ these rich resources in our real-life NLP applications! This year, we had three different submission types: long, short and demonstration papers. We received a total of 31 submissions, from which 16 were long papers, 9 were short papers and 6 were demo papers. Given our limited capacity as a one-day workshop, we were only able to accept 6 long papers for oral presentation and 4 long papers as posters: an acceptance rate of 62.5%. We further accepted 4 short papers for oral presentation and 2 short papers as posters (67% acceptance), as well as 5 out of the 6 proposed demonstrations. The oral presentations were distributed in three sessions: Short Papers, Identification and Representation, and Tasks and Applications. The workshop also featured two invited talks, by Timothy Baldwin and by Kenneth Church, and a panel discussion. We would like to thank the members of the Program Committee for the timely reviews. We would also like to thank the authors for their valuable contributions. Valia Kordoni, Carlos Ramisch, Aline Villavicencio Co-Organizers

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