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Named Entity Understanding (NEU) plays an essential role in interactions between users and voice assistants, since successfully identifying entities and correctly linking them to their standard forms is crucial to understanding the user's intent. NEU is a challenging task in voice assistants due to the ambiguous nature of natural language and because noise introduced by speech transcription and user errors occur frequently in spoken natural language queries. In this paper, we propose an architecture with novel features that jointly solves the recognition of named entities (Named Entity Recognition, or NER) and the resolution to their canonical forms (Entity Linking, or EL). We show that by combining NER and EL information in a joint reranking module, our proposed framework improves accuracy in both tasks. This improved performance and the features that enable it, also lead to better accuracy in downstream tasks, such as domain classification and semantic parsing.

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