Lee Kezar


Improving Sign Recognition with Phonology
Lee Kezar | Jesse Thomason | Zed Sehyr
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

We use insights from research on American Sign Language (ASL) phonology to train models for isolated sign language recognition (ISLR), a step towards automatic sign language understanding. Our key insight is to explicitly recognize the role of phonology in sign production to achieve more accurate ISLR than existing work which does not consider sign language phonology. We train ISLR models that take in pose estimations of a signer producing a single sign to predict not only the sign but additionally its phonological characteristics, such as the handshape. These auxiliary predictions lead to a nearly 9% absolute gain in sign recognition accuracy on the WLASL benchmark, with consistent improvements in ISLR regardless of the underlying prediction model architecture. This work has the potential to accelerate linguistic research in the domain of signed languages and reduce communication barriers between deaf and hearing people.


Finding Pragmatic Differences Between Disciplines
Lee Kezar | Jay Pujara
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Scholarly Document Processing

Scholarly documents have a great degree of variation, both in terms of content (semantics) and structure (pragmatics). Prior work in scholarly document understanding emphasizes semantics through document summarization and corpus topic modeling but tends to omit pragmatics such as document organization and flow. Using a corpus of scholarly documents across 19 disciplines and state-of-the-art language modeling techniques, we learn a fixed set of domain-agnostic descriptors for document sections and “retrofit” the corpus to these descriptors (also referred to as “normalization”). Then, we analyze the position and ordering of these descriptors across documents to understand the relationship between discipline and structure. We report within-discipline structural archetypes, variability, and between-discipline comparisons, supporting the hypothesis that scholarly communities, despite their size, diversity, and breadth, share similar avenues for expressing their work. Our findings lay the foundation for future work in assessing research quality, domain style transfer, and further pragmatic analysis.


Mixed Feelings: Natural Text Generation with Variable, Coexistent Affective Categories
Lee Kezar
Proceedings of ACL 2018, Student Research Workshop

Conversational agents, having the goal of natural language generation, must rely on language models which can integrate emotion into their responses. Recent projects outline models which can produce emotional sentences, but unlike human language, they tend to be restricted to one affective category out of a few. To my knowledge, none allow for the intentional coexistence of multiple emotions on the word or sentence level. Building on prior research which allows for variation in the intensity of a singular emotion, this research proposal outlines an LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) language model which allows for variation in multiple emotions simultaneously.