What are the levels of knowledge used in language understanding? Also write down the techniques used in NLP.
1 Answer

A natural language understanding system must have knowledge about what the words mean, how words combine to form sentences, how word meanings combine to from sentence meanings and so on.

The different Levels (forms) of knowledge required for natural language understanding are given below.

Phonetic And Phonological Knowledge

Phonetics is the study of language at the level of sounds while phonology is the study of combination of sounds into organized units of speech, the formation of syllables and larger units. Phonetic and phonological knowledge are essential for speech based systems as they deal with how words are related to the sounds that realize them.

Morphological Knowledge

Morphology concerns word formation. It is a study of the patterns of formation of words by the combination of sounds into minimal distinctive units of meaning called mophemes. Morphological knowledge concerns how words are constructed from morphemes.

Syntactic Knowledge

Syntax is the level at which we study how words combine to form phrases, phrases combine to form clauses and clauses join to make sentences. Syntactic analysis concerns sentence formation. It deals with how words can be put together to form correct sentences. It also determines what structural role each word plays in the sentence and what phrases are subparts of what other phrases.

Semantic Knowledge

It concerns meanings of the words and sentences. This is the study of context independent meaning that is the meaning a sentence has, no matter in which context it is used. Defining the meaning of a sentence is very difficult due to the ambiguities involved.

Pragmatic Knowledge

Pragmatics is the extension of the meaning or semantics. Pragmatics deals with the contextual aspects of meaning in particular situations. It concerns how sentences are used in different situations and how use affects the interpretation of the sentence.

Discourse Knowledge

Discourse concerns connected sentences. It is a study of chunks of language which are bigger than a single sentence. Dicourse language concerns inter-sentential links that is how the immediately preceding sentences affect the interpretation of the next sentence. Discourse knowledge is important for interpreting pronouns and temporal aspects of the information conveyed.

World Knowledge

Word knowledge is nothing but everyday knowledge that all speakers share about the world. It includes the general knowledge about the structure of the world and what each language user must know about the other user’s beliefs and goals. This essential to make the language understanding much better.

There are several main techniques used in analysing natural language processing. Some of them can be briefly described as follows.

Pattern matching

The idea here is an approach to natural language processing is to interpret input utterances as a whole father than building up their interpretation by combining the structure and meaning of words or other lower level constituents. That means the interpretations are obtained by matching patterns of words against the input utterance. For a deep level of analysis in pattern matching a large number of patterns are required even for a restricted domain. This problem can be ameliorated by hierarchical pattern matching in which the input is gradually canonicalized through pattern matching against subphrases. Another way to reduce the number of patterns is by matching with semantic primitives instead of words.

Syntactically driven Parsing

Syntax means ways that words can fit together to form higher level units such as phrases, clauses and sentences. Therefore syntactically driven parsing means interpretation of larger groups of words are built up out of the interpretation of their syntactic constituent words or phrases. In a way this is the opposite of pattern matching as here the interpretation of the input is done as a whole. Syntactic analyses are obtained by application of a grammar that determines what scentences are legal in the language that is being parsed.

Semantic Grammars

Natural language analysis based on semantic grammar is bit similar to syntactically driven parsing except that in semantic grammar the categories used are defined semantically and syntactically. There here semantic grammar is also involved.

Case frame instantiation

Case frame instantiation is one of the major parsing techniques under active research today. The has some very useful computational properties such as its recursive nature and its ability to combine bottom-up recognition of key constituents with top-down instantiation of less structured constituents.

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