Much Ado About Nothing – Identification of Zero Copulas in Hungarian Using an NMT Model

TitleMuch Ado About Nothing – Identification of Zero Copulas in Hungarian Using an NMT Model
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsDömötör, A., Z. Győző Yang, and A. Novák
Conference NameProceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference
PublisherEuropean Language Resources Association
Conference LocationMarseille, France
ISBN Number979-10-95546-34-4
Keywordsdomotor, novak, yanzigy, zerokopula

The research presented in this paper concerns zero copulas in Hungarian, i.e. the phenomenon that nominal predicates lack an explicit verbal copula in the default present tense 3rd person indicative case. We created a tool based on the state-of-the-art transformer architecture implemented in Marian NMT framework that can identify and mark the location of zero copulas, i.e. the position where an overt copula would appear in the non-default cases. Our primary aim was to support quantitative corpus-based linguistic research by creating a tool that can be used to compile a corpus of significant size containing examples of nominal predicates including the location of the zero copulas. We created the training corpus for our system transforming sentences containing overt copulas into ones containing zero copula labels. However, we first needed to disambiguate occurrences of the massively ambiguous verb van `exist/be/have'. We performed this using a rule-base classifier relying on English translations in the English-Hungarian parallel subcorpus of the OpenSubtitles corpus. We created several NMT-based models using different sampling methods and optionally using our baseline model to synthesize additional training data. Our best model obtains almost 90% precision and 80% recall on an in-domain test set.