In this work, we present a phenomenon-oriented comparative analysis of the two dominant approaches in English Resource Semantic (ERS) parsing: classic, knowledge-intensive and neural, data-intensive models. To reflect state-of-the-art neural NLP technologies, a factorization-based parser is introduced that can produce Elementary Dependency Structures much more accurately than previous data-driven parsers. We conduct a suite of tests for different linguistic phenomena to analyze the grammatical competence of different parsers, where we show that, despite comparable performance overall, knowledge- and data-intensive models produce different types of errors, in a way that can be explained by their theoretical properties. This analysis is beneficial to in-depth evaluation of several representative parsing techniques and leads to new directions for parser development.

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Author notes


Equal contribution. The work was done while the first three authors were at Peking University. Junjie Cao is now at Alibaba, and Zi Lin is now at Google.


Corresponding author. Now at the Department of Computer Science and Technology of University of Cambridge.

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