Rong Xiang


When Cantonese NLP Meets Pre-training: Progress and Challenges
Rong Xiang | Hanzhuo Tan | Jing Li | Mingyu Wan | Kam-Fai Wong
Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 12th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Tutorial Abstracts

Cantonese is an influential Chinese variant with a large population of speakers worldwide. However, it is under-resourced in terms of the data scale and diversity, excluding Cantonese Natural Language Processing (NLP) from the stateof-the-art (SOTA) “pre-training and fine-tuning” paradigm. This tutorial will start with a substantially review of the linguistics and NLP progress for shaping language specificity, resources, and methodologies. It will be followed by an introduction to the trendy transformerbased pre-training methods, which have been largely advancing the SOTA performance of a wide range of downstream NLP tasks in numerous majority languages (e.g., English and Chinese). Based on the above, we will present the main challenges for Cantonese NLP in relation to Cantonese language idiosyncrasies of colloquialism and multilingualism, followed by the future directions to line NLP for Cantonese and other low-resource languages up to the cutting-edge pre-training practice.

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Evaluating Monolingual and Crosslingual Embeddings on Datasets of Word Association Norms
Trina Kwong | Emmanuele Chersoni | Rong Xiang
Proceedings of the BUCC Workshop within LREC 2022

In free word association tasks, human subjects are presented with a stimulus word and are then asked to name the first word (the response word) that comes up to their mind. Those associations, presumably learned on the basis of conceptual contiguity or similarity, have attracted for a long time the attention of researchers in linguistics and cognitive psychology, since they are considered as clues about the internal organization of the lexical knowledge in the semantic memory. Word associations data have also been used to assess the performance of Vector Space Models for English, but evaluations for other languages have been relatively rare so far. In this paper, we introduce word associations datasets for Italian, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese by extracting data from the Small World of Words project, and we propose two different tasks inspired by the previous literature. We tested both monolingual and crosslingual word embeddings on the new datasets, showing that they perform similarly in the evaluation tasks.

HkAmsters at CMCL 2022 Shared Task: Predicting Eye-Tracking Data from a Gradient Boosting Framework with Linguistic Features
Lavinia Salicchi | Rong Xiang | Yu-Yin Hsu
Proceedings of the Workshop on Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics

Eye movement data are used in psycholinguistic studies to infer information regarding cognitive processes during reading. In this paper, we describe our proposed method for the Shared Task of Cognitive Modeling and Computational Linguistics (CMCL) 2022 - Subtask 1, which involves data from multiple datasets on 6 languages. We compared different regression models using features of the target word and its previous word, and target word surprisal as regression features. Our final system, using a gradient boosting regressor, achieved the lowest mean absolute error (MAE), resulting in the best system of the competition.


PolyU CBS-Comp at SemEval-2021 Task 1: Lexical Complexity Prediction (LCP)
Rong Xiang | Jinghang Gu | Emmanuele Chersoni | Wenjie Li | Qin Lu | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the 15th International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval-2021)

In this contribution, we describe the system presented by the PolyU CBS-Comp Team at the Task 1 of SemEval 2021, where the goal was the estimation of the complexity of words in a given sentence context. Our top system, based on a combination of lexical, syntactic, word embeddings and Transformers-derived features and on a Gradient Boosting Regressor, achieves a top correlation score of 0.754 on the subtask 1 for single words and 0.659 on the subtask 2 for multiword expressions.


The CogALex Shared Task on Monolingual and Multilingual Identification of Semantic Relations
Rong Xiang | Emmanuele Chersoni | Luca Iacoponi | Enrico Santus
Proceedings of the Workshop on the Cognitive Aspects of the Lexicon

The shared task of the CogALex-VI workshop focuses on the monolingual and multilingual identification of semantic relations. We provided training and validation data for the following languages: English, German and Chinese. Given a word pair, systems had to be trained to identify which relation holds between them, with possible choices being synonymy, antonymy, hypernymy and no relation at all. Two test sets were released for evaluating the participating systems. One containing pairs for each of the training languages (systems were evaluated in a monolingual fashion) and the other proposing a surprise language to test the crosslingual transfer capabilities of the systems. Among the submitted systems, top performance was achieved by a transformer-based model in both the monolingual and in the multilingual setting, for all the tested languages, proving the potentials of this recently-introduced neural architecture. The shared task description and the results are available at

Affection Driven Neural Networks for Sentiment Analysis
Rong Xiang | Yunfei Long | Mingyu Wan | Jinghang Gu | Qin Lu | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Deep neural network models have played a critical role in sentiment analysis with promising results in the recent decade. One of the essential challenges, however, is how external sentiment knowledge can be effectively utilized. In this work, we propose a novel affection-driven approach to incorporating affective knowledge into neural network models. The affective knowledge is obtained in the form of a lexicon under the Affect Control Theory (ACT), which is represented by vectors of three-dimensional attributes in Evaluation, Potency, and Activity (EPA). The EPA vectors are mapped to an affective influence value and then integrated into Long Short-term Memory (LSTM) models to highlight affective terms. Experimental results show a consistent improvement of our approach over conventional LSTM models by 1.0% to 1.5% in accuracy on three large benchmark datasets. Evaluations across a variety of algorithms have also proven the effectiveness of leveraging affective terms for deep model enhancement.

Ciron: a New Benchmark Dataset for Chinese Irony Detection
Rong Xiang | Xuefeng Gao | Yunfei Long | Anran Li | Emmanuele Chersoni | Qin Lu | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Automatic Chinese irony detection is a challenging task, and it has a strong impact on linguistic research. However, Chinese irony detection often lacks labeled benchmark datasets. In this paper, we introduce Ciron, the first Chinese benchmark dataset available for irony detection for machine learning models. Ciron includes more than 8.7K posts, collected from Weibo, a micro blogging platform. Most importantly, Ciron is collected with no pre-conditions to ensure a much wider coverage. Evaluation on seven different machine learning classifiers proves the usefulness of Ciron as an important resource for Chinese irony detection.

Using Conceptual Norms for Metaphor Detection
Mingyu Wan | Kathleen Ahrens | Emmanuele Chersoni | Menghan Jiang | Qi Su | Rong Xiang | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Figurative Language Processing

This paper reports a linguistically-enriched method of detecting token-level metaphors for the second shared task on Metaphor Detection. We participate in all four phases of competition with both datasets, i.e. Verbs and AllPOS on the VUA and the TOFEL datasets. We use the modality exclusivity and embodiment norms for constructing a conceptual representation of the nodes and the context. Our system obtains an F-score of 0.652 for the VUA Verbs track, which is 5% higher than the strong baselines. The experimental results across models and datasets indicate the salient contribution of using modality exclusivity and modality shift information for predicting metaphoricity.

Sina Mandarin Alphabetical Words:A Web-driven Code-mixing Lexical Resource
Rong Xiang | Mingyu Wan | Qi Su | Chu-Ren Huang | Qin Lu
Proceedings of the 1st Conference of the Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 10th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing

Mandarin Alphabetical Word (MAW) is one indispensable component of Modern Chinese that demonstrates unique code-mixing idiosyncrasies influenced by language exchanges. Yet, this interesting phenomenon has not been properly addressed and is mostly excluded from the Chinese language system. This paper addresses the core problem of MAW identification and proposes to construct a large collection of MAWs from Sina Weibo (SMAW) using an automatic web-based technique which includes rule-based identification, informatics-based extraction, as well as Baidu search engine validation. A collection of 16,207 qualified SMAWs are obtained using this technique along with an annotated corpus of more than 200,000 sentences for linguistic research and applicable inquiries.

Automatic Learning of Modality Exclusivity Norms with Crosslingual Word Embeddings
Emmanuele Chersoni | Rong Xiang | Qin Lu | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the Ninth Joint Conference on Lexical and Computational Semantics

Collecting modality exclusivity norms for lexical items has recently become a common practice in psycholinguistics and cognitive research. However, these norms are available only for a relatively small number of languages and often involve a costly and time-consuming collection of ratings. In this work, we aim at learning a mapping between word embeddings and modality norms. Our experiments focused on crosslingual word embeddings, in order to predict modality association scores by training on a high-resource language and testing on a low-resource one. We ran two experiments, one in a monolingual and the other one in a crosslingual setting. Results show that modality prediction using off-the-shelf crosslingual embeddings indeed has moderate-to-high correlations with human ratings even when regression algorithms are trained on an English resource and tested on a completely unseen language.


Improving Multi-label Emotion Classification by Integrating both General and Domain-specific Knowledge
Wenhao Ying | Rong Xiang | Qin Lu
Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Noisy User-generated Text (W-NUT 2019)

Deep learning based general language models have achieved state-of-the-art results in many popular tasks such as sentiment analysis and QA tasks. Text in domains like social media has its own salient characteristics. Domain knowledge should be helpful in domain relevant tasks. In this work, we devise a simple method to obtain domain knowledge and further propose a method to integrate domain knowledge with general knowledge based on deep language models to improve performance of emotion classification. Experiments on Twitter data show that even though a deep language model fine-tuned by a target domain data has attained comparable results to that of previous state-of-the-art models, this fine-tuned model can still benefit from our extracted domain knowledge to obtain more improvement. This highlights the importance of making use of domain knowledge in domain-specific applications.

PolyU_CBS-CFA at the FinSBD Task: Sentence Boundary Detection of Financial Data with Domain Knowledge Enhancement and Bilingual Training
Mingyu Wan | Rong Xiang | Emmanuele Chersoni | Natalia Klyueva | Kathleen Ahrens | Bin Miao | David Broadstock | Jian Kang | Amos Yung | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the First Workshop on Financial Technology and Natural Language Processing


Leveraging Writing Systems Change for Deep Learning Based Chinese Emotion Analysis
Rong Xiang | Yunfei Long | Qin Lu | Dan Xiong | I-Hsuan Chen
Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis

Social media text written in Chinese communities contains mixed scripts including major text written in Chinese, an ideograph-based writing system, and some minor text using Latin letters, an alphabet-based writing system. This phenomenon is called writing systems changes (WSCs). Past studies have shown that WSCs can be used to express emotions, particularly where the social and political environment is more conservative. However, because WSCs can break the syntax of the major text, it poses more challenges in Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks like emotion classification. In this work, we present a novel deep learning based method to include WSCs as an effective feature for emotion analysis. The method first identifies all WSCs points. Then representation of the major text is learned through an LSTM model whereas the minor text is learned by a separate CNN model. Emotions in the minor text are further highlighted through an attention mechanism before emotion classification. Performance evaluation shows that incorporating WSCs features using deep learning models can improve performance measured by F1-scores compared to the state-of-the-art model.

Dual Memory Network Model for Biased Product Review Classification
Yunfei Long | Mingyu Ma | Qin Lu | Rong Xiang | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the 9th Workshop on Computational Approaches to Subjectivity, Sentiment and Social Media Analysis

In sentiment analysis (SA) of product reviews, both user and product information are proven to be useful. Current tasks handle user profile and product information in a unified model which may not be able to learn salient features of users and products effectively. In this work, we propose a dual user and product memory network (DUPMN) model to learn user profiles and product reviews using separate memory networks. Then, the two representations are used jointly for sentiment prediction. The use of separate models aims to capture user profiles and product information more effectively. Compared to state-of-the-art unified prediction models, the evaluations on three benchmark datasets, IMDB, Yelp13, and Yelp14, show that our dual learning model gives performance gain of 0.6%, 1.2%, and 0.9%, respectively. The improvements are also deemed very significant measured by p-values.


Fake News Detection Through Multi-Perspective Speaker Profiles
Yunfei Long | Qin Lu | Rong Xiang | Minglei Li | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Automatic fake news detection is an important, yet very challenging topic. Traditional methods using lexical features have only very limited success. This paper proposes a novel method to incorporate speaker profiles into an attention based LSTM model for fake news detection. Speaker profiles contribute to the model in two ways. One is to include them in the attention model. The other includes them as additional input data. By adding speaker profiles such as party affiliation, speaker title, location and credit history, our model outperforms the state-of-the-art method by 14.5% in accuracy using a benchmark fake news detection dataset. This proves that speaker profiles provide valuable information to validate the credibility of news articles.

A Cognition Based Attention Model for Sentiment Analysis
Yunfei Long | Qin Lu | Rong Xiang | Minglei Li | Chu-Ren Huang
Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Attention models are proposed in sentiment analysis because some words are more important than others. However,most existing methods either use local context based text information or user preference information. In this work, we propose a novel attention model trained by cognition grounded eye-tracking data. A reading prediction model is first built using eye-tracking data as dependent data and other features in the context as independent data. The predicted reading time is then used to build a cognition based attention (CBA) layer for neural sentiment analysis. As a comprehensive model, We can capture attentions of words in sentences as well as sentences in documents. Different attention mechanisms can also be incorporated to capture other aspects of attentions. Evaluations show the CBA based method outperforms the state-of-the-art local context based attention methods significantly. This brings insight to how cognition grounded data can be brought into NLP tasks.