Contextualized word senses: from attention to compositionality

The neural architectures of language models are becoming increasingly complex, especially that of Transformers, based on the attention mechanism. Although their application to numerous natural language processing tasks has proven to be very fruitful, they continue to be models with little or no interpretability and explainability. One of the tasks for which they are best suited is the encoding of the contextual sense of words using contextualized embeddings. In this paper we propose a transparent, interpretable, and linguistically motivated strategy for encoding the contextual sense of words by modeling semantic compositionality. Particular attention is given to dependency relations and semantic notions such as selection preferences and paradigmatic classes. A partial implementation of the proposed model is carried out and compared with Transformer-based architectures for a given semantic task, namely the similarity calculation of word senses in context. The results obtained show that it is possible to be competitive with linguistically motivated models instead of using the black boxes underlying complex neural architectures.

keywords: compositional distributional semantics, Compositionality, attention