A Probabilistic Generative Grammar for Semantic Parsing

by   Abulhair Saparov, et al.

We present a framework that couples the syntax and semantics of natural language sentences in a generative model, in order to develop a semantic parser that jointly infers the syntactic, morphological, and semantic representations of a given sentence under the guidance of background knowledge. To generate a sentence in our framework, a semantic statement is first sampled from a prior, such as from a set of beliefs in a knowledge base. Given this semantic statement, a grammar probabilistically generates the output sentence. A joint semantic-syntactic parser is derived that returns the k-best semantic and syntactic parses for a given sentence. The semantic prior is flexible, and can be used to incorporate background knowledge during parsing, in ways unlike previous semantic parsing approaches. For example, semantic statements corresponding to beliefs in a knowledge base can be given higher prior probability, type-correct statements can be given somewhat lower probability, and beliefs outside the knowledge base can be given lower probability. The construction of our grammar invokes a novel application of hierarchical Dirichlet processes (HDPs), which in turn, requires a novel and efficient inference approach. We present experimental results showing, for a simple grammar, that our parser outperforms a state-of-the-art CCG semantic parser and scales to knowledge bases with millions of beliefs.


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