A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment
Author(s)Snyder, Benjamin; Barzilay, Regina; Knight, Kevin
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In this paper we propose a method for the automatic decipherment of lost langauges. Given a non-parallel corpus in a known related language, our model produces both alphabetic mappings and translations of words into their corresponding cognates. We employ a non-parametric Bayesian framework to simultaneously capture both low-level character mappings and high-level morphemic correspondences. This formulation enables us to encode some of the linguistic intuitions that have guided human decipherers. When applied to the ancient Semitic language Ugaritic, the model correctly maps nearly all letters to their Hebrew counterparts, and deduces the correct Hebrew cognate for over half of the Ugaritic words which have cognates in Hebrew.
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DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, ACL 2010
Association for Computational Linguistics
Snyder, Benjamin, Regina Barzilay and Kevin Knight. "A Statistical Model for Lost Language Decipherment." in ACL 2010, 48th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Uppsala, Sweden, July 11–16, 2010.
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