Example sentences for targeted words in a dictionary play an important role to help readers understand the usage of words. Traditionally, example sentences in a dictionary are usually created by linguistics experts, which are labor-intensive and knowledge-intensive. In this paper, we introduce the problem of dictionary example sentence generation, aiming to automatically generate dictionary example sentences for targeted words according to the corresponding definitions. This task is challenging especially for polysemous words, because the generated sentences need to reflect different usages and meanings of these targeted words. Targeted readers may also have different backgrounds and educational levels. It is essential to generate example sentences that can be understandable for different backgrounds and levels of audiences. To solve these problems, we propose a controllable target-word-aware model for this task. Our proposed model can generate reasonable examples for targeted words, even for polysemous words. In addition, our model allows users to provide explicit control over attributes related to readability, such as length and lexical complexity, thus generating suitable examples for targeted audiences. Automatic and human evaluations on the Oxford dictionary dataset show that our model can generate suitable examples for targeted words with specific definitions while meeting the desired readability.
Commonsense generation aims to generate a realistic sentence describing a daily scene under the given concepts, which is very challenging, since it requires models to have relational reasoning and compositional generalization capabilities. Previous work focuses on retrieving prototype sentences for the provided concepts to assist generation. They first use a sparse retriever to retrieve candidate sentences, then re-rank the candidates with a ranker. However, the candidates returned by their ranker may not be the most relevant sentences, since the ranker treats all candidates equally without considering their relevance to the reference sentences of the given concepts. Another problem is that re-ranking is very expensive, but only using retrievers will seriously degrade the performance of their generation models. To solve these problems, we propose the metric distillation rule to distill knowledge from the metric (e.g., BLEU) to the ranker. We further transfer the critical knowledge summarized by the distilled ranker to the retriever. In this way, the relevance scores of candidate sentences predicted by the ranker and retriever will be more consistent with their quality measured by the metric. Experimental results on the CommonGen benchmark verify the effectiveness of our proposed method: (1) Our generation model with the distilled ranker achieves a new state-of-the-art result. (2) Our generation model with the distilled retriever even surpasses the previous SOTA.
Lexically constrained text generation aims to control the generated text by incorporating certain pre-specified keywords into the output. Previous work injects lexical constraints into the output by controlling the decoding process or refining the candidate output iteratively, which tends to generate generic or ungrammatical sentences, and has high computational complexity. To address these challenges, we proposed Constrained BART (CBART) for lexically constrained text generation. CBART leverages the pre-trained model, BART and transfers part of the generation burden from the decoder to the encoder by decomposing this task into two sub-tasks, thereby improving the sentence quality. Concretely, we extended BART by adding a token-level classifier over the encoder, aiming at instructing the decoder where to replace and insert. Guided by the encoder, the decoder refines multiple tokens of the input in one step by inserting tokens before specific positions and re-predicting tokens at a low confidence level. To further reduce the inference latency, the decoder predicts all tokens in parallel. Experiment results on One-Billion-Word and Yelp show that CBART can generate plausible text with high quality and diversity while largely accelerating inference.