Semantic structure and interpretability of word embeddings
Senel, Lutfi Kerem
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio Speech and Language Processing
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
1769 - 1779
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Dense word embeddings, which encode meanings of words to low-dimensional vector spaces, have become very popular in natural language processing (NLP) research due to their state-of-the-art performances in many NLP tasks. Word embeddings are substantially successful in capturing semantic relations among words, so a meaningful semantic structure must be present in the respective vector spaces. However, in many cases, this semantic structure is broadly and heterogeneously distributed across the embedding dimensions making interpretation of dimensions a big challenge. In this study, we propose a statistical method to uncover the underlying latent semantic structure in the dense word embeddings. To perform our analysis, we introduce a new dataset (SEMCAT) that contains more than 6500 words semantically grouped under 110 categories. We further propose a method to quantify the interpretability of the word embeddings. The proposed method is a practical alternative to the classical word intrusion test that requires human intervention.