Proceedings of the Student Research Workshop Associated with RANLP 2021

Souhila Djabri, Dinara Gimadi, Tsvetomila Mihaylova, Ivelina Nikolova-Koleva (Editors)

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Proceedings of the Student Research Workshop Associated with RANLP 2021
Souhila Djabri | Dinara Gimadi | Tsvetomila Mihaylova | Ivelina Nikolova-Koleva

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Humor Generation and Detection in Code-Mixed Hindi-English
Kaustubh Agarwal | Rhythm Narula

Computational humor generation is one of the hardest tasks in natural language generation, especially in code-mixed languages. Existing research has shown that humor generation in English is a promising avenue. However, studies have shown that bilingual speakers often appreciate humor more in code-mixed languages with unexpected transitions and clever word play. In this study, we propose several methods for generating and detecting humor in code-mixed Hindi-English. Of the experimented approaches, an Attention Based Bi-Directional LSTM with converting parts of text on a word2vec embedding gives the best results by generating 74.8% good jokes and IndicBERT used for detecting humor in code-mixed Hindi-English outperforms other humor detection methods with an accuracy of 96.98%.

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Towards Code-Mixed Hinglish Dialogue Generation
Vibhav Agarwal | Pooja Rao | Dinesh Babu Jayagopi

Code-mixed language plays a crucial role in communication in multilingual societies. Though the recent growth of web users has greatly boosted the use of such mixed languages, the current generation of dialog systems is primarily monolingual. This increase in usage of code-mixed language has prompted dialog systems in a similar language. We present our work in Code-Mixed Dialog Generation, an unexplored task in code-mixed languages, generating utterances in code-mixed language rather than a single language that is more often just English. We present a new synthetic corpus in code-mix for dialogs, CM-DailyDialog, by converting an existing English-only dialog corpus to a mixed Hindi-English corpus. We then propose a baseline approach where we show the effectiveness of using mBART like multilingual sequence-to-sequence transformers for code-mixed dialog generation. Our best performing dialog models can conduct coherent conversations in Hindi-English mixed language as evaluated by human and automatic metrics setting new benchmarks for the Code-Mixed Dialog Generation task.

Hinglish to English Machine Translation using Multilingual Transformers
Vibhav Agarwal | Pooja Rao | Dinesh Babu Jayagopi

Code-Mixed language plays a very important role in communication in multilingual societies and with the recent increase in internet users especially in multilingual societies, the usage of such mixed language has also increased. However, the cross translation be- tween the Hinglish Code-Mixed and English and vice-versa has not been explored very extensively. With the recent success of large pretrained language models, we explore the possibility of using multilingual pretrained transformers like mBART and mT5 for exploring one such task of code-mixed Hinglish to English machine translation. Further, we compare our approach with the only baseline over the PHINC dataset and report a significant jump from 15.3 to 29.5 in BLEU scores, a 92.8% improvement over the same dataset.

SiPOS: A Benchmark Dataset for Sindhi Part-of-Speech Tagging
Wazir Ali | Zenglin Xu | Jay Kumar

In this paper, we introduce the SiPOS dataset for part-of-speech tagging in the low-resource Sindhi language with quality baselines. The dataset consists of more than 293K tokens annotated with sixteen universal part-of-speech categories. Two experienced native annotators annotated the SiPOS using the Doccano text annotation tool with an inter-annotation agreement of 0.872. We exploit the conditional random field, the popular bidirectional long-short-term memory neural model, and self-attention mechanism with various settings to evaluate the proposed dataset. Besides pre-trained GloVe and fastText representation, the character-level representations are incorporated to extract character-level information using the bidirectional long-short-term memory encoder. The high accuracy of 96.25% is achieved with the task-specific joint word-level and character-level representations. The SiPOS dataset is likely to be a significant resource for the low-resource Sindhi language.

Sarcasm Detection and Building an English Language Corpus in Real Time
Oliver Cakebread-Andrews

This is a research proposal for doctoral research into sarcasm detection, and the real-time compilation of an English language corpus of sarcastic utterances. It details the previous research into similar topics, the potential research directions and the research aims.

Correcting Texts Generated by Transformers using Discourse Features and Web Mining
Alexander Chernyavskiy | Dmitry Ilvovsky | Boris Galitsky

Recent transformer-based approaches to NLG like GPT-2 can generate syntactically coherent original texts. However, these generated texts have serious flaws: global discourse incoherence and meaninglessness of sentences in terms of entity values. We address both of these flaws: they are independent but can be combined to generate original texts that will be both consistent and truthful. This paper presents an approach to estimate the quality of discourse structure. Empirical results confirm that the discourse structure of currently generated texts is inaccurate. We propose the research directions to correct it using discourse features during the fine-tuning procedure. The suggested approach is universal and can be applied to different languages. Apart from that, we suggest a method to correct wrong entity values based on Web Mining and text alignment.

Introducing linguistic transformation to improve translation memory retrieval. Results of a professional translators’ survey for Spanish, French and Arabic
Souhila Djabri | Rocío Caro Quintana

Translation memory systems (TMS) are the main component of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools. They store translations allowing to save time by presenting translations on the database through matching of several types such as fuzzy matches, which are calculated by algorithms like the edit distance. However, studies have demonstrated the linguistic deficiencies of these systems and the difficulties in data retrieval or obtaining a high percentage of matching, especially after the application of syntactic and semantic transformations as the active/passive voice change, change of word order, substitution by a synonym or a personal pronoun, for instance. This paper presents the results of a pilot study where we analyze the qualitative and quantitative data of questionnaires conducted with professional translators of Spanish, French and Arabic in order to improve the effectiveness of TMS and explore all possibilities to integrate further linguistic processing from ten transformation types. The results are encouraging, and they allowed us to find out about the translation process itself; from which we propose a pre-editing processing tool to improve the matching and retrieving processes.

Using Transfer Learning to Automatically Mark L2 Writing Texts
Tim Elks

The use of transfer learning in Natural Language Processing (NLP) has grown over the last few years. Large, pre-trained neural networks based on the Transformer architecture are one example of this, achieving state-of-theart performance on several commonly used performance benchmarks, often when finetuned on a downstream task. Another form of transfer learning, Multitask Learning, has also been shown to improve performance in Natural Language Processing tasks and increase model robustness. This paper outlines preliminary findings of investigations into the impact of using pretrained language models alongside multitask fine-tuning to create an automated marking system of second language learners’ written English. Using multiple transformer models and multiple datasets, this study compares different combinations of models and tasks and evaluates their impact on the performance of an automated marking system This presentation is a snap-shot of work being conducted as part of my dissertation for the University of Wolverhampton’s Computational Linguistics Masters’ programme.

Bilingual Terminology Extraction Using Neural Word Embeddings on Comparable Corpora
Darya Filippova | Burcu Can | Gloria Corpas Pastor

Term and glossary management are vital steps of preparation of every language specialist, and they play a very important role at the stage of education of translation professionals. The growing trend of efficient time management and constant time constraints we may observe in every job sector increases the necessity of the automatic glossary compilation. Many well-performing bilingual AET systems are based on processing parallel data, however, such parallel corpora are not always available for a specific domain or a language pair. Domain-specific, bilingual access to information and its retrieval based on comparable corpora is a very promising area of research that requires a detailed analysis of both available data sources and the possible extraction techniques. This work focuses on domain-specific automatic terminology extraction from comparable corpora for the English – Russian language pair by utilizing neural word embeddings.

Web-sentiment analysis of public comments (public reviews) for languages with limited resources such as the Kazakh language
Dinara Gimadi

In the pandemic period, the stay-at-home trend forced businesses to switch their activities to digital mode, for example, app-based payment methods, social distancing via social media platforms, and other digital means have become an integral part of our lives. Sentiment analysis of textual information in user comments is a topical task in emotion AI because user comments or reviews are not homogeneous, they contain sparse context behind, and are misleading both for human and computer. Barriers arise from the emotional language enriched with slang, peculiar spelling, transliteration, use of emoji and their symbolic counterparts, and code-switching. For low resource languages sentiment analysis has not been worked upon extensively, because of an absence of ready-made tools and linguistic resources for sentiment analysis. This research focuses on developing a method for aspect-based sentiment analysis for Kazakh-language reviews in Android Google Play Market.

Disambiguating Grammatical Number and Gender With BERT
Annegret Janzso

Accurately dealing with any type of ambiguity is a major task in Natural Language Processing, with great advances recently reached due to the development of context dependent language models and the use of word or sentence embeddings. In this context, our work aimed at determining how the popular language representation model BERT handle ambiguity of nouns in grammatical number and gender in different languages. We show that models trained on one specific language achieve better results for the disambiguation process than multilingual models. Also, ambiguity is generally better dealt with in grammatical number than it is in grammatical gender, reaching greater distance values from one to another in direct comparisons of individual senses. The overall results show also that the amount of data needed for training monolingual models as well as application should not be underestimated.

Towards a Language Model for Temporal Commonsense Reasoning
Mayuko Kimura | Lis Kanashiro Pereira | Ichiro Kobayashi

Temporal commonsense reasoning is a challenging task as it requires temporal knowledge usually not explicit in text. In this work, we propose an ensemble model for temporal commonsense reasoning. Our model relies on pre-trained contextual representations from transformer-based language models (i.e., BERT), and on a variety of training methods for enhancing model generalization: 1) multi-step fine-tuning using carefully selected auxiliary tasks and datasets, and 2) a specifically designed temporal masked language model task aimed to capture temporal commonsense knowledge. Our model greatly outperforms the standard fine-tuning approach and strong baselines on the MC-TACO dataset.

Text Preprocessing and its Implications in a Digital Humanities Project
Maria Kunilovskaya | Alistair Plum

This paper focuses on data cleaning as part of a preprocessing procedure applied to text data retrieved from the web. Although the importance of this early stage in a project using NLP methods is often highlighted by researchers, the details, general principles and techniques are usually left out due to consideration of space. At best, they are dismissed with a comment “The usual data cleaning and preprocessing procedures were applied”. More coverage is usually given to automatic text annotation such as lemmatisation, part-of-speech tagging and parsing, which is often included in preprocessing. In the literature, the term ‘preprocessing’ is used to refer to a wide range of procedures, from filtering and cleaning to data transformation such as stemming and numeric representation, which might create confusion. We argue that text preprocessing might skew original data distribution with regard to the metadata, such as types, locations and times of registered datapoints. In this paper we describe a systematic approach to cleaning text data mined by a data-providing company for a Digital Humanities (DH) project focused on cultural analytics. We reveal the types and amount of noise in the data coming from various web sources and estimate the changes in the size of the data associated with preprocessing. We also compare the results of a text classification experiment run on the raw and preprocessed data. We hope that our experience and approaches will help the DH community to diagnose the quality of textual data collected from the web and prepare it for further natural language processing.

Compiling a specialised corpus for translation research in the environmental domain
Anastasiia Laktionova

The present study is an ongoing research that aims to investigate lexico-grammatical and stylistic features of texts in the environmental domain in English, their implications for translation into Ukrainian as well as the translation of key terminological units based on a specialised parallel and comparable corpora.

Paragraph Similarity Matches for Generating Multiple-choice Test Items
Halyna Maslak | Ruslan Mitkov

Multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are widely used in knowledge assessment in educational institutions, during work interviews, in entertainment quizzes and games. Although the research on the automatic or semi-automatic generation of multiple-choice test items has been conducted since the beginning of this millennium, most approaches focus on generating questions from a single sentence. In this research, a state-of-the-art method of creating questions based on multiple sentences is introduced. It was inspired by semantic similarity matches used in the translation memory component of translation management systems. The performance of two deep learning algorithms, doc2vec and SBERT, is compared for the paragraph similarity task. The experiments are performed on the ad-hoc corpus within the EU domain. For the automatic evaluation, a smaller corpus of manually selected matching paragraphs has been compiled. The results prove the good performance of Sentence Embeddings for the given task.

Neural Borrowing Detection with Monolingual Lexical Models
John Miller | Emanuel Pariasca | Cesar Beltran Castañon

Identification of lexical borrowings, transfer of words between languages, is an essential practice of historical linguistics and a vital tool in analysis of language contact and cultural events in general. We seek to improve tools for automatic detection of lexical borrowings, focusing here on detecting borrowed words from monolingual wordlists. Starting with a recurrent neural lexical language model and competing entropies approach, we incorporate a more current Transformer based lexical model. From there we experiment with several different models and approaches including a lexical donor model with augmented wordlist. The Transformer model reduces execution time and minimally improves borrowing detection. The augmented donor model shows some promise. A substantive change in approach or model is needed to make significant gains in identification of lexical borrowings.

Does local pruning offer task-specific models to learn effectively ?
Abhishek Kumar Mishra | Mohna Chakraborty

The need to deploy large-scale pre-trained models on edge devices under limited computational resources has led to substantial research to compress these large models. However, less attention has been given to compress the task-specific models. In this work, we investigate the different methods of unstructured pruning on task-specific models for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) tasks. Specifically, we analyze differences in the learning dynamics of pruned models by using the standard pruning techniques to achieve high-performing sparse networks. We develop a hypothesis to demonstrate the effectiveness of local pruning over global pruning considering a simple CNN model. Later, we utilize the hypothesis to demonstrate the efficacy of the pruned state-of-the-art model compared to the over-parameterized state-of-the-art model under two settings, the first considering the baselines for the same task used for generating the hypothesis, i.e., aspect extraction and the second considering a different task, i.e., sentiment analysis. We also provide discussion related to the generalization of the pruning hypothesis.

On Reducing Repetition in Abstractive Summarization
Pranav Nair | Anil Kumar Singh

Repetition in natural language generation reduces the informativeness of text and makes it less appealing. Various techniques have been proposed to alleviate it. In this work, we explore and propose techniques to reduce repetition in abstractive summarization. First, we explore the application of unlikelihood training and embedding matrix regularizers from previous work on language modeling to abstractive summarization. Next, we extend the coverage and temporal attention mechanisms to the token level to reduce repetition. In our experiments on the CNN/Daily Mail dataset, we observe that these techniques reduce the amount of repetition and increase the informativeness of the summaries, which we confirm via human evaluation.

Improving Abstractive Summarization with Commonsense Knowledge
Pranav Nair | Anil Kumar Singh

Large scale pretrained models have demonstrated strong performances on several natural language generation and understanding benchmarks. However, introducing commonsense into them to generate more realistic text remains a challenge. Inspired from previous work on commonsense knowledge generation and generative commonsense reasoning, we introduce two methods to add commonsense reasoning skills and knowledge into abstractive summarization models. Both methods beat the baseline on ROUGE scores, demonstrating the superiority of our models over the baseline. Human evaluation results suggest that summaries generated by our methods are more realistic and have fewer commonsensical errors.

A Dataset for Research on Modelling Depression Severity in Online Forum Data
Isuri Anuradha Nanomi Arachchige | Vihangi Himaya Jayasuriya | Ruvan Weerasinghe

People utilize online forums to either look for information or to contribute it. Because of their growing popularity, certain online forums have been created specifically to provide support, assistance, and opinions for people suffering from mental illness. Depression is one of the most frequent psychological illnesses worldwide. People communicate more with online forums to find answers for their psychological disease. However, there is no mechanism to measure the severity of depression in each post and give higher importance to those who are diagnosed more severely depressed. Despite the fact that numerous researches based on online forum data and the identification of depression have been conducted, the severity of depression is rarely explored. In addition, the absence of datasets will stymie the development of novel diagnostic procedures for practitioners. From this study, we offer a dataset to support research on depression severity evaluation. The computational approach to measure an automatic process, identified severity of depression here is quite novel approach. Nonetheless, this elaborate measuring severity of depression in online forum posts is needed to ensure the measurement scales used in our research meets the expected norms of scientific research.

Handling synset overgeneration: Sense Merging in BTB-WN
Ivaylo Radev | Zara Kancheva

The paper reports on an effort to reconsider the representation of some cases of derivational paradigm patterns in Bulgarian. The new treatment implemented within BulTreeBank-WordNet (BTB-WN), a wordnet for Bulgarian, is the grouping together of related words that have a common main meaning in the same synset while the nuances in sense are to be encoded within the synset as a modification functions over the main meaning. In this way, we can solve the following challenges: (1) to avoid the influence of English Wordnet (EWN) synset distinctions over Bulgarian that was a result from the translation of some of the synsets from Core WordNet; (2) to represent the common meaning of such derivation patterns just once and to improve the management of BTB-WN, and (3) to encode idiosyncratic usages locally to the corresponding synsets instead of introducing new semantic relations.

On the Evolution of Word Order
Idan Rejwan | Avi Caciularu

Most natural languages have a predominant or fixed word order. For example in English the word order is usually Subject-Verb-Object. This work attempts to explain this phenomenon as well as other typological findings regarding word order from a functional perspective. In particular, we examine whether fixed word order provides a functional advantage, explaining why these languages are prevalent. To this end, we consider an evolutionary model of language and demonstrate, both theoretically and using genetic algorithms, that a language with a fixed word order is optimal. We also show that adding information to the sentence, such as case markers and noun-verb distinction, reduces the need for fixed word order, in accordance with the typological findings.

EmoPars: A Collection of 30K Emotion-Annotated Persian Social Media Texts
Nazanin Sabri | Reyhane Akhavan | Behnam Bahrak

The wide reach of social media platforms, such as Twitter, have enabled many users to share their thoughts, opinions and emotions on various topics online. The ability to detect these emotions automatically would allow social scientists, as well as, businesses to better understand responses from nations and costumers. In this study we introduce a dataset of 30,000 Persian Tweets labeled with Ekman’s six basic emotions (Anger, Fear, Happiness, Sadness, Hatred, and Wonder). This is the first publicly available emotion dataset in the Persian language. In this paper, we explain the data collection and labeling scheme used for the creation of this dataset. We also analyze the created dataset, showing the different features and characteristics of the data. Among other things, we investigate co-occurrence of different emotions in the dataset, and the relationship between sentiment and emotion of textual instances. The dataset is publicly available at

A Review on Document Information Extraction Approaches
Kanishka Silva | Thushari Silva

Information extraction from documents has become great use of novel natural language processing areas. Most of the entity extraction methodologies are variant in a context such as medical area, financial area, also come even limited to the given language. It is better to have one generic approach applicable for any document type to extract entity information regardless of language, context, and structure. Also, another issue in such research is structural analysis while keeping the hierarchical, semantic, and heuristic features. Another problem identified is that usually, it requires a massive training corpus. Therefore, this research focus on mitigating such barriers. Several approaches have been identifying towards building document information extractors focusing on different disciplines. This research area involves natural language processing, semantic analysis, information extraction, and conceptual modelling. This paper presents a review of the information extraction mechanism to construct a generic framework for document extraction with aim of providing a solid base for upcoming research.

Towards New Generation Translation Memory Systems
Nikola Spasovski | Ruslan Mitkov

Despite the enormous popularity of Translation Memory systems and the active research in the field, their language processing features still suffer from certain limitations. While many recent papers focus on semantic matching capabilities of TMs, this planned study will address how these tools perform when dealing with longer segments and whether this could be a cause of lower match scores. An experiment will be carried out on corpora from two different (repetitive) domains. Following the results, recommendations for future developments of new TMs will be made.

Question answering in Natural Language: the Special Case of Temporal Expressions
Armand Stricker

Although general question answering has been well explored in recent years, temporal question answering is a task which has not received as much focus. Our work aims to leverage a popular approach used for general question answering, answer extraction, in order to find answers to temporal questions within a paragraph. To train our model, we propose a new dataset, inspired by SQuAD, a state-of-the-art question answering corpus, specifically tailored to provide rich temporal information by adapting the corpus WikiWars, which contains several documents on history’s greatest conflicts. Our evaluation shows that a pattern matching deep learning model, often used in general question answering, can be adapted to temporal question answering, if we accept to ask questions whose answers must be directly present within a text.

Building A Corporate Corpus For Threads Constitution
Lionel Tadonfouet Tadjou | Fabrice Bourge | Tiphaine Marie | Laurent Romary | Éric de la Clergerie

In this paper we describe the process of build-ing a corporate corpus that will be used as a ref-erence for modelling and computing threadsfrom conversations generated using commu-nication and collaboration tools. The overallgoal of the reconstruction of threads is to beable to provide value to the collorator in var-ious use cases, such as higlighting the impor-tant parts of a running discussion, reviewingthe upcoming commitments or deadlines, etc. Since, to our knowledge, there is no avail-able corporate corpus for the French languagewhich could allow us to address this prob-lem of thread constitution, we present here amethod for building such corpora includingdifferent aspects and steps which allowed thecreation of a pipeline to pseudo-anonymisedata. Such a pipeline is a response to theconstraints induced by the General Data Pro-tection Regulation GDPR in Europe and thecompliance to the secrecy of correspondence.

Generating Answer Candidates for Quizzes and Answer-Aware Question Generators
Kristiyan Vachev | Momchil Hardalov | Georgi Karadzhov | Georgi Georgiev | Ivan Koychev | Preslav Nakov

In education, quiz questions have become an important tool for assessing the knowledge of students. Yet, manually preparing such questions is a tedious task, and thus automatic question generation has been proposed as a possible alternative. So far, the vast majority of research has focused on generating the question text, relying on question answering datasets with readily picked answers, and the problem of how to come up with answer candidates in the first place has been largely ignored. Here, we aim to bridge this gap. In particular, we propose a model that can generate a specified number of answer candidates for a given passage of text, which can then be used by instructors to write questions manually or can be passed as an input to automatic answer-aware question generators. Our experiments show that our proposed answer candidate generation model outperforms several baselines.

Toward Discourse-Aware Models for Multilingual Fake News Detection
Francielle Vargas | Fabrício Benevenuto | Thiago Pardo

Statements that are intentionally misstated (or manipulated) are of considerable interest to researchers, government, security, and financial systems. According to deception literature, there are reliable cues for detecting deception and the belief that liars give off cues that may indicate their deception is near-universal. Therefore, given that deceiving actions require advanced cognitive development that honesty simply does not require, as well as people’s cognitive mechanisms have promising guidance for deception detection, in this Ph.D. ongoing research, we propose to examine discourse structure patterns in multilingual deceptive news corpora using the Rhetorical Structure Theory framework. Considering that our work is the first to exploit multilingual discourse-aware strategies for fake news detection, the research community currently lacks multilingual deceptive annotated corpora. Accordingly, this paper describes the current progress in this thesis, including (i) the construction of the first multilingual deceptive corpus, which was annotated by specialists according to the Rhetorical Structure Theory framework, and (ii) the introduction of two new proposed rhetorical relations: INTERJECTION and IMPERATIVE, which we assume to be relevant for the fake news detection task.

Automatic Transformation of Clinical Narratives into Structured Format
Sylvia Vassileva | Gergana Todorova | Kristina Ivanova | Boris Velichkov | Ivan Koychev | Galia Angelova | Svetla Boytcheva

Vast amounts of data in healthcare are available in unstructured text format, usually in the local language of the countries. These documents contain valuable information. Secondary use of clinical narratives and information extraction of key facts and relations from them about the patient disease history can foster preventive medicine and improve healthcare. In this paper, we propose a hybrid method for the automatic transformation of clinical text into a structured format. The documents are automatically sectioned into the following parts: diagnosis, patient history, patient status, lab results. For the “Diagnosis” section a deep learning text-based encoding into ICD-10 codes is applied using MBG-ClinicalBERT - a fine-tuned ClinicalBERT model for Bulgarian medical text. From the “Patient History” section, we identify patient symptoms using a rule-based approach enhanced with similarity search based on MBG-ClinicalBERT word embeddings. We also identify symptom relations like negation. For the “Patient Status” description, binary classification is used to determine the status of each anatomic organ. In this paper, we demonstrate different methods for adapting NLP tools for English and other languages to a low resource language like Bulgarian.