A filter for syntactically incomparable parallel sentences

Martin Kroon, Sjef Barbiers, Jan Odijk, Stéphanie Van Der Pas

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Massive automatic comparison of languages in parallel corpora will greatly speed up and enhance comparative syntactic research. Automatically extracting and mining syntactic differences from parallel corpora requires a pre-processing step that filters out sentence pairs that cannot be compared syntactically, for example because they involve "free" translations. In this paper we explore four possible filters: The Damerau-Levenshtein distance between POS-Tags, the sentence-length ratio, the graph-edit distance between dependency parses, and a combination of the three in a logistic regression model. Results suggest that the dependency-parse filter is the most stable throughout language pairs, while the combination filter achieves the best results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-161
Number of pages15
JournalLinguistics in the Netherlands
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Dependency parses
  • Filter
  • Parallel corpus
  • Syntactic comparability

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