Paper: Reconstructing Native Language Typology from Foreign Language Usage

ACL ID W14-1603
Title Reconstructing Native Language Typology from Foreign Language Usage
Venue International Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning
Session
Year 2014
Authors

Linguists and psychologists have long been studying cross-linguistic transfer, the influence of native language properties on linguistic performance in a foreign lan- guage. In this work we provide empirical evidence for this process in the form of a strong correlation between language simi- larities derived from structural features in English as Second Language (ESL) texts and equivalent similarities obtained from the typological features of the native lan- guages. We leverage this finding to re- cover native language typological similar- ity structure directly from ESL text, and perform prediction of typological features in an unsupervised fashion with respect to the target languages. Our method achieves 72.2% accuracy on the typology predic- tion task, a result that is highly competi- t...