jurafsky&martin_3rdEd_17 (1).pdf

# Words are about 24 characters long on average a

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Words are about 2.4 characters long on average. A simple algorithm that does re-

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24 C HAPTER 2 R EGULAR E XPRESSIONS , T EXT N ORMALIZATION , E DIT D ISTANCE markably well for segmenting Chinese, and often used as a baseline comparison for more advanced methods, is a version of greedy search called maximum match- ing or sometimes MaxMatch . The algorithm requires a dictionary (wordlist) of the maximum matching language. The maximum matching algorithm starts by pointing at the beginning of a string. It chooses the longest word in the dictionary that matches the input at the current position. The pointer is then advanced to the end of that word in the string. If no word matches, the pointer is instead advanced one character (creating a one- character word). The algorithm is then iteratively applied again starting from the new pointer position. Fig. 2.11 shows a version of the algorithm. function M AX M ATCH (sentence, dictionary D) returns word sequence W if sentence is empty return empty list for i length (sentence) downto 1 firstword = first i chars of sentence remainder = rest of sentence if InDictionary( firstword , D ) return list (firstword, MaxMatch(remainder,dictionary) ) # no word was found, so make a one-character word firstword = first char of sentence remainder = rest of sentence return list (firstword, MaxMatch(remainder,dictionary D) ) Figure 2.11 The MaxMatch algorithm for word segmentation. MaxMatch works very well on Chinese; the following example shows an appli- cation to a simple Chinese sentence using a simple Chinese lexicon available from the Linguistic Data Consortium: Input : ÷ y + ú " ¨ - “He especially likes Peking duck” Output : ÷ y + ú " ¨ - He especially likes Peking duck MaxMatch doesn’t work as well on English. To make the intuition clear, we’ll create an example by removing the spaces from the beginning of Turing’s famous quote “We can only see a short distance ahead”, producing “wecanonlyseeashortdis- tanceahead”. The MaxMatch results are shown below. Input : wecanonlyseeashortdistanceahead Output : we canon l y see ash ort distance ahead On English the algorithm incorrectly chose canon instead of stopping at can , which left the algorithm confused and having to create single-character words l and y and use the very rare word ort . The algorithm works better in Chinese than English, because Chinese has much shorter words than English. We can quantify how well a segmenter works using a metric called word error rate . We compare our output segmentation with a perfect word error rate hand-segmented (‘gold’) sentence, seeing how many words differ. The word error rate is then the normalized minimum edit distance in words between our output and the gold: the number of word insertions, deletions, and substitutions divided by the length of the gold sentence in words; we’ll see in Section 2.4 how to compute edit distance. Even in Chinese, however, MaxMatch has problems, for example dealing
2.3 T EXT N ORMALIZATION 25 with unknown words

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