Soft Uncoupling of Markov Chains for Permeable Language Distinction: A New Algorithm

Richard Nock, Pascal Vaillant, Frank Nielsen and Claudia Henry
Arxiv ID: 810.1261Last updated: 10/8/2008
Without prior knowledge, distinguishing different languages may be a hard task, especially when their borders are permeable. We develop an extension of spectral clustering -- a powerful unsupervised classification toolbox -- that is shown to resolve accurately the task of soft language distinction. At the heart of our approach, we replace the usual hard membership assignment of spectral clustering by a soft, probabilistic assignment, which also presents the advantage to bypass a well-known complexity bottleneck of the method. Furthermore, our approach relies on a novel, convenient construction of a Markov chain out of a corpus. Extensive experiments with a readily available system clearly display the potential of the method, which brings a visually appealing soft distinction of languages that may define altogether a whole corpus.

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