Towards Semi-Supervised Classification of Discourse Relations using Feature Correlations

Hugo Hernault,  Danushka Bollegala,  Mitsuru Ishizuka
The University of Tokyo


Two of the main corpora available for training discourse relation classifiers are the RST Discourse Treebank (RST-DT) and the Penn Discourse Treebank (PDTB), which are both based on the Wall Street Journal corpus. Most recent work using discourse relation classifiers have employed fully-supervised methods on these corpora. However, certain discourse relations dispose of little labeled data, causing low classification performance for their associated classes. In this paper, we attempt to tackle this problem by employing a semi-supervised method for discourse relation classification. The proposed method is based on the analysis of feature co-occurrences in unlabeled data. This information is then used as a basis to extend the feature vectors during training. The proposed method is evaluated on both RST-DT and PDTB, where it significantly outperformed baseline classifiers. Finally, an analysis of the types of features selected for feature vector extension is presented. We believe that the proposed method is a first step towards improving classification performance, particularly for discourse relations lacking annotated data.