Detecting Structural Irregularity in Electronic Dictionaries Using Language Modeling

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Paul Rodrigues, David Zajic, David Doermann, Michael Bloodgood, and Peng Ye. 2011. Detecting structural irregularity in electronic dictionaries using language modeling. In Proceedings of Electronic Lexicography in the 21st Century (eLex), pages 227-232, Bled, Slovenia, November. Trojina Institute for Applied Slovene Studies.


Dictionaries are often developed using tools that save to Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based standards. These standards often allow high-level repeating elements to represent lexical entries, and utilize descendants of these repeating elements to represent the structure within each lexical entry, in the form of an XML tree. In many cases, dictionaries are published that have errors and inconsistencies that are expensive to find manually. This paper discusses a method for dictionary writers to quickly audit structural regularity across entries in a dictionary by using statistical language modeling. The approach learns the patterns of XML nodes that could occur within an XML tree, and then calculates the probability of each XML tree in the dictionary against these patterns to look for entries that diverge from the norm.