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If an NLP system processes a text containing proper nouns like names, trade marks, etc. without knowing anything about the language (ie no lexicon), is it possible to recognise them?

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Essentially you would need to train a named entity recognizer (NER) to recognize the names out of the common words.

There are many works that try to use a similar language to the language in question as a pivot to train a full NER model (for example, Cheap Translation for Cross-Lingual Named Entity Recognition).

Your task might be slightly simpler, as you are interested only in one class: whether it is a named entity or not. But in general it is very similar to this setup.

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