Dependency-length minimization in natural and artificial languages

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Dependency-length minimization in natural and artificial languages
A wide range of evidence points to a preference for syntactic structures in which dependencies are short. Here we examine the question: what kinds of dependency configurations minimize dependency length? We consider two well-established principles of dependency-length minimization; that dependencies should be consistently right-branching or left-branching, and that shorter dependent phrases should be closer to the head. We also add a third, novel, principle; that some ``opposite-branching'' of one-word phrases is desirable. In a series of computational experiments, using unordered dependency trees gathered from written English, we examine the effect of these three principles on dependency length, and show that all three contribute significantly to dependency-length reduction. Finally, we present what appears to be the optimal ``grammar'' for dependency-length minimization.
David Temperley
Added 13 Dec 2010
Updated 13 Dec 2010
Type Journal
Year 2008
Where JQL
Authors David Temperley
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