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A comparative evaluation of deep and shallow approaches to the automatic detection of common grammatical errors

Association for Computational Linguistics
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  • Machine Translating
  • Error Detection


This paper compares a deep and a shallow processing approach to the problem of classifying a sentence as grammatically wellformed or ill-formed. The deep processing approach uses the XLE LFG parser and English grammar: two versions are presented, one which uses the XLE directly to perform the classification, and another one which uses a decision tree trained on features consisting of the XLE’s output statistics. The shallow processing approach predicts grammaticality based on n-gram frequency statistics: we present two versions, one which uses frequency thresholds and one which uses a decision tree trained on the frequencies of the rarest n-grams in the input sentence. We find that the use of a decision tree improves on the basic approach only for the deep parser-based approach. We also show that combining both the shallow and deep decision tree features is effective. Our evaluation is carried out using a large test set of grammatical and ungrammatical sentences. The ungrammatical test set is generated automatically by inserting grammatical errors into well-formed BNC sentences.

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