Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics

Donia Scott, Nuria Bel, Chengqing Zong (Editors)

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Barcelona, Spain (Online)
International Committee on Computational Linguistics
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Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics
Donia Scott | Nuria Bel | Chengqing Zong

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Exploring Controllable Text Generation Techniques
Shrimai Prabhumoye | Alan W Black | Ruslan Salakhutdinov

Neural controllable text generation is an important area gaining attention due to its plethora of applications. Although there is a large body of prior work in controllable text generation, there is no unifying theme. In this work, we provide a new schema of the pipeline of the generation process by classifying it into five modules. The control of attributes in the generation process requires modification of these modules. We present an overview of different techniques used to perform the modulation of these modules. We also provide an analysis on the advantages and disadvantages of these techniques. We further pave ways to develop new architectures based on the combination of the modules described in this paper.

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Infusing Sequential Information into Conditional Masked Translation Model with Self-Review Mechanism
Pan Xie | Zhi Cui | Xiuying Chen | XiaoHui Hu | Jianwei Cui | Bin Wang

Non-autoregressive models generate target words in a parallel way, which achieve a faster decoding speed but at the sacrifice of translation accuracy. To remedy a flawed translation by non-autoregressive models, a promising approach is to train a conditional masked translation model (CMTM), and refine the generated results within several iterations. Unfortunately, such approach hardly considers the sequential dependency among target words, which inevitably results in a translation degradation. Hence, instead of solely training a Transformer-based CMTM, we propose a Self-Review Mechanism to infuse sequential information into it. Concretely, we insert a left-to-right mask to the same decoder of CMTM, and then induce it to autoregressively review whether each generated word from CMTM is supposed to be replaced or kept. The experimental results (WMT14 En ↔ De and WMT16 En ↔ Ro) demonstrate that our model uses dramatically less training computations than the typical CMTM, as well as outperforms several state-of-the-art non-autoregressive models by over 1 BLEU. Through knowledge distillation, our model even surpasses a typical left-to-right Transformer model, while significantly speeding up decoding.

Building Hierarchically Disentangled Language Models for Text Generation with Named Entities
Yash Agarwal | Devansh Batra | Ganesh Bagler

Named entities pose a unique challenge to traditional methods of language modeling. While several domains are characterised with a high proportion of named entities, the occurrence of specific entities varies widely. Cooking recipes, for example, contain a lot of named entities — viz. ingredients, cooking techniques (also called processes), and utensils. However, some ingredients occur frequently within the instructions while most occur rarely. In this paper, we build upon the previous work done on language models developed for text with named entities by introducing a Hierarchically Disentangled Model. Training is divided into multiple branches with each branch producing a model with overlapping subsets of vocabulary. We found the existing datasets insufficient to accurately judge the performance of the model. Hence, we have curated 158,473 cooking recipes from several publicly available online sources. To reliably derive the entities within this corpus, we employ a combination of Named Entity Recognition (NER) as well as an unsupervised method of interpretation using dependency parsing and POS tagging, followed by a further cleaning of the dataset. This unsupervised interpretation models instructions as action graphs and is specific to the corpus of cooking recipes, unlike NER which is a general method applicable to all corpora. To delve into the utility of our language model, we apply it to tasks such as graph-to-text generation and ingredients-to-recipe generation, comparing it to previous state-of-the-art baselines. We make our dataset (including annotations and processed action graphs) available for use, considering their potential use cases for language modeling and text generation research.

CharBERT: Character-aware Pre-trained Language Model
Wentao Ma | Yiming Cui | Chenglei Si | Ting Liu | Shijin Wang | Guoping Hu

Most pre-trained language models (PLMs) construct word representations at subword level with Byte-Pair Encoding (BPE) or its variations, by which OOV (out-of-vocab) words are almost avoidable. However, those methods split a word into subword units and make the representation incomplete and fragile.In this paper, we propose a character-aware pre-trained language model named CharBERT improving on the previous methods (such as BERT, RoBERTa) to tackle these problems. We first construct the contextual word embedding for each token from the sequential character representations, then fuse the representations of characters and the subword representations by a novel heterogeneous interaction module. We also propose a new pre-training task named NLM (Noisy LM) for unsupervised character representation learning. We evaluate our method on question answering, sequence labeling, and text classification tasks, both on the original datasets and adversarial misspelling test sets. The experimental results show that our method can significantly improve the performance and robustness of PLMs simultaneously.

A Graph Representation of Semi-structured Data for Web Question Answering
Xingyao Zhang | Linjun Shou | Jian Pei | Ming Gong | Lijie Wen | Daxin Jiang

The abundant semi-structured data on the Web, such as HTML-based tables and lists, provide commercial search engines a rich information source for question answering (QA). Different from plain text passages in Web documents, Web tables and lists have inherent structures, which carry semantic correlations among various elements in tables and lists. Many existing studies treat tables and lists as flat documents with pieces of text and do not make good use of semantic information hidden in structures. In this paper, we propose a novel graph representation of Web tables and lists based on a systematic categorization of the components in semi-structured data as well as their relations. We also develop pre-training and reasoning techniques on the graph model for the QA task. Extensive experiments on several real datasets collected from a commercial engine verify the effectiveness of our approach. Our method improves F1 score by 3.90 points over the state-of-the-art baselines.

Catching Attention with Automatic Pull Quote Selection
Tanner Bohn | Charles Ling

To advance understanding on how to engage readers, we advocate the novel task of automatic pull quote selection. Pull quotes are a component of articles specifically designed to catch the attention of readers with spans of text selected from the article and given more salient presentation. This task differs from related tasks such as summarization and clickbait identification by several aspects. We establish a spectrum of baseline approaches to the task, ranging from handcrafted features to a neural mixture-of-experts to cross-task models. By examining the contributions of individual features and embedding dimensions from these models, we uncover unexpected properties of pull quotes to help answer the important question of what engages readers. Human evaluation also supports the uniqueness of this task and the suitability of our selection models. The benefits of exploring this problem further are clear: pull quotes increase enjoyment and readability, shape reader perceptions, and facilitate learning. Code to reproduce this work is available at

MZET: Memory Augmented Zero-Shot Fine-grained Named Entity Typing
Tao Zhang | Congying Xia | Chun-Ta Lu | Philip Yu

Named entity typing (NET) is a classification task of assigning an entity mention in the context with given semantic types. However, with the growing size and granularity of the entity types, few previous researches concern with newly emerged entity types. In this paper, we propose MZET, a novel memory augmented FNET (Fine-grained NET) model, to tackle the unseen types in a zero-shot manner. MZET incorporates character-level, word-level, and contextural-level information to learn the entity mention representation. Besides, MZET considers the semantic meaning and the hierarchical structure into the entity type representation. Finally, through the memory component which models the relationship between the entity mention and the entity type, MZET transfers the knowledge from seen entity types to the zero-shot ones. Extensive experiments on three public datasets show the superior performance obtained by MZET, which surpasses the state-of-the-art FNET neural network models with up to 8% gain in Micro-F1 and Macro-F1 score.

Span-based Joint Entity and Relation Extraction with Attention-based Span-specific and Contextual Semantic Representations
Bin Ji | Jie Yu | Shasha Li | Jun Ma | Qingbo Wu | Yusong Tan | Huijun Liu

Span-based joint extraction models have shown their efficiency on entity recognition and relation extraction. These models regard text spans as candidate entities and span tuples as candidate relation tuples. Span semantic representations are shared in both entity recognition and relation extraction, while existing models cannot well capture semantics of these candidate entities and relations. To address these problems, we introduce a span-based joint extraction framework with attention-based semantic representations. Specially, attentions are utilized to calculate semantic representations, including span-specific and contextual ones. We further investigate effects of four attention variants in generating contextual semantic representations. Experiments show that our model outperforms previous systems and achieves state-of-the-art results on ACE2005, CoNLL2004 and ADE.

Hierarchical Chinese Legal event extraction via Pedal Attention Mechanism
Shirong Shen | Guilin Qi | Zhen Li | Sheng Bi | Lusheng Wang

Event extraction plays an important role in legal applications, including case push and auxiliary judgment. However, traditional event structure cannot express the connections between arguments, which are extremely important in legal events. Therefore, this paper defines a dynamic event structure for Chinese legal events. To distinguish between similar events, we design hierarchical event features for event detection. Moreover, to address the problem of long-distance semantic dependence and anaphora resolution in argument classification, we propose a novel pedal attention mechanism to extract the semantic relation between two words through their dependent adjacent words. We label a Chinese legal event dataset and evaluate our model on it. Experimental results demonstrate that our model can surpass other state-of-the-art models.

Is Killed More Significant than Fled? A Contextual Model for Salient Event Detection
Disha Jindal | Daniel Deutsch | Dan Roth

Identifying the key events in a document is critical to holistically understanding its important information. Although measuring the salience of events is highly contextual, most previous work has used a limited representation of events that omits essential information. In this work, we propose a highly contextual model of event salience that uses a rich representation of events, incorporates document-level information and allows for interactions between latent event encodings. Our experimental results on an event salience dataset demonstrate that our model improves over previous work by an absolute 2-4% on standard metrics, establishing a new state-of-the-art performance for the task. We also propose a new evaluation metric that addresses flaws in previous evaluation methodologies. Finally, we discuss the importance of salient event detection for the downstream task of summarization.

Appraisal Theories for Emotion Classification in Text
Jan Hofmann | Enrica Troiano | Kai Sassenberg | Roman Klinger

Automatic emotion categorization has been predominantly formulated as text classification in which textual units are assigned to an emotion from a predefined inventory, for instance following the fundamental emotion classes proposed by Paul Ekman (fear, joy, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise) or Robert Plutchik (adding trust, anticipation). This approach ignores existing psychological theories to some degree, which provide explanations regarding the perception of events. For instance, the description that somebody discovers a snake is associated with fear, based on the appraisal as being an unpleasant and non-controllable situation. This emotion reconstruction is even possible without having access to explicit reports of a subjective feeling (for instance expressing this with the words “I am afraid.”). Automatic classification approaches therefore need to learn properties of events as latent variables (for instance that the uncertainty and the mental or physical effort associated with the encounter of a snake leads to fear). With this paper, we propose to make such interpretations of events explicit, following theories of cognitive appraisal of events, and show their potential for emotion classification when being encoded in classification models. Our results show that high quality appraisal dimension assignments in event descriptions lead to an improvement in the classification of discrete emotion categories. We make our corpus of appraisal-annotated emotion-associated event descriptions publicly available.

A Symmetric Local Search Network for Emotion-Cause Pair Extraction
Zifeng Cheng | Zhiwei Jiang | Yafeng Yin | Hua Yu | Qing Gu

Emotion-cause pair extraction (ECPE) is a new task which aims at extracting the potential clause pairs of emotions and corresponding causes in a document. To tackle this task, a two-step method was proposed by previous study which first extracted emotion clauses and cause clauses individually, then paired the emotion and cause clauses, and filtered out the pairs without causality. Different from this method that separated the detection and the matching of emotion and cause into two steps, we propose a Symmetric Local Search Network (SLSN) model to perform the detection and matching simultaneously by local search. SLSN consists of two symmetric subnetworks, namely the emotion subnetwork and the cause subnetwork. Each subnetwork is composed of a clause representation learner and a local pair searcher. The local pair searcher is a specially-designed cross-subnetwork component which can extract the local emotion-cause pairs. Experimental results on the ECPE corpus demonstrate the superiority of our SLSN over existing state-of-the-art methods.

Jointly Learning Aspect-Focused and Inter-Aspect Relations with Graph Convolutional Networks for Aspect Sentiment Analysis
Bin Liang | Rongdi Yin | Lin Gui | Jiachen Du | Ruifeng Xu

In this paper, we explore a novel solution of constructing a heterogeneous graph for each instance by leveraging aspect-focused and inter-aspect contextual dependencies for the specific aspect and propose an Interactive Graph Convolutional Networks (InterGCN) model for aspect sentiment analysis. Specifically, an ordinary dependency graph is first constructed for each sentence over the dependency tree. Then we refine the graph by considering the syntactical dependencies between contextual words and aspect-specific words to derive the aspect-focused graph. Subsequently, the aspect-focused graph and the corresponding embedding matrix are fed into the aspect-focused GCN to capture the key aspect and contextual words. Besides, to interactively extract the inter-aspect relations for the specific aspect, an inter-aspect GCN is adopted to model the representations learned by aspect-focused GCN based on the inter-aspect graph which is constructed by the relative dependencies between the aspect words and other aspects. Hence, the model can be aware of the significant contextual and aspect words when interactively learning the sentiment features for a specific aspect. Experimental results on four benchmark datasets illustrate that our proposed model outperforms state-of-the-art methods and substantially boosts the performance in comparison with BERT.

METNet: A Mutual Enhanced Transformation Network for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Bin Jiang | Jing Hou | Wanyue Zhou | Chao Yang | Shihan Wang | Liang Pang

Aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA) aims to determine the sentiment polarity of each specific aspect in a given sentence. Existing researches have realized the importance of the aspect for the ABSA task and have derived many interactive learning methods that model context based on specific aspect. However, current interaction mechanisms are ill-equipped to learn complex sentences with multiple aspects, and these methods underestimate the representation learning of the aspect. In order to solve the two problems, we propose a mutual enhanced transformation network (METNet) for the ABSA task. First, the aspect enhancement module in METNet improves the representation learning of the aspect with contextual semantic features, which gives the aspect more abundant information. Second, METNet designs and implements a hierarchical structure, which enhances the representations of aspect and context iteratively. Experimental results on SemEval 2014 Datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of METNet, and we further prove that METNet is outstanding in multi-aspect scenarios.

Making the Best Use of Review Summary for Sentiment Analysis
Sen Yang | Leyang Cui | Jun Xie | Yue Zhang

Sentiment analysis provides a useful overview of customer review contents. Many review websites allow a user to enter a summary in addition to a full review. Intuitively, summary information may give additional benefit for review sentiment analysis. In this paper, we conduct a study to exploit methods for better use of summary information. We start by finding out that the sentimental signal distribution of a review and that of its corresponding summary are in fact complementary to each other. We thus explore various architectures to better guide the interactions between the two and propose a hierarchically-refined review-centric attention model. Empirical results show that our review-centric model can make better use of user-written summaries for review sentiment analysis, and is also more effective compared to existing methods when the user summary is replaced with summary generated by an automatic summarization system.

From Sentiment Annotations to Sentiment Prediction through Discourse Augmentation
Patrick Huber | Giuseppe Carenini

Sentiment analysis, especially for long documents, plausibly requires methods capturing complex linguistics structures. To accommodate this, we propose a novel framework to exploit task-related discourse for the task of sentiment analysis. More specifically, we are combining the large-scale, sentiment-dependent MEGA-DT treebank with a novel neural architecture for sentiment prediction, based on a hybrid TreeLSTM hierarchical attention model. Experiments show that our framework using sentiment-related discourse augmentations for sentiment prediction enhances the overall performance for long documents, even beyond previous approaches using well-established discourse parsers trained on human annotated data. We show that a simple ensemble approach can further enhance performance by selectively using discourse, depending on the document length.

End-to-End Emotion-Cause Pair Extraction with Graph Convolutional Network
Ying Chen | Wenjun Hou | Shoushan Li | Caicong Wu | Xiaoqiang Zhang

Emotion-cause pair extraction (ECPE), which aims at simultaneously extracting emotion-cause pairs that express emotions and their corresponding causes in a document, plays a vital role in understanding natural languages. Considering that most emotions usually have few causes mentioned in their contexts, we present a novel end-to-end Pair Graph Convolutional Network (PairGCN) to model pair-level contexts so that to capture the dependency information among local neighborhood candidate pairs. Moreover, in the graphical network, contexts are grouped into three types and each type of contexts is propagated by its own way. Experiments on a benchmark Chinese emotion-cause pair extraction corpus demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model.

A Unified Sequence Labeling Model for Emotion Cause Pair Extraction
Xinhong Chen | Qing Li | Jianping Wang

Emotion-cause pair extraction (ECPE) aims at extracting emotions and causes as pairs from documents, where each pair contains an emotion clause and a set of cause clauses. Existing approaches address the task by first extracting emotion and cause clauses via two binary classifiers separately, and then training another binary classifier to pair them up. However, the extracted emotion-cause pairs of different emotion types cannot be distinguished from each other through simple binary classifiers, which limits the applicability of the existing approaches. Moreover, such two-step approaches may suffer from possible cascading errors. In this paper, to address the first problem, we assign emotion type labels to emotion and cause clauses so that emotion-cause pairs of different emotion types can be easily distinguished. As for the second problem, we reformulate the ECPE task as a unified sequence labeling task, which can extract multiple emotion-cause pairs in an end-to-end fashion. We propose an approach composed of a convolution neural network for encoding neighboring information and two Bidirectional Long-Short Term Memory networks for two auxiliary tasks. Experiment results demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of our approaches.

Regrexit or not Regrexit: Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis in Polarized Contexts
Vorakit Vorakitphan | Marco Guerini | Elena Cabrio | Serena Villata

Emotion analysis in polarized contexts represents a challenge for Natural Language Processing modeling. As a step in the aforementioned direction, we present a methodology to extend the task of Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis (ABSA) toward the affect and emotion representation in polarized settings. In particular, we adopt the three-dimensional model of affect based on Valence, Arousal, and Dominance (VAD). We then present a Brexit scenario that proves how affect varies toward the same aspect when politically polarized stances are presented. Our approach captures aspect-based polarization from newspapers regarding the Brexit scenario of 1.2m entities at sentence-level. We demonstrate how basic constituents of emotions can be mapped to the VAD model, along with their interactions respecting the polarized context in ABSA settings using biased key-concepts (e.g., “stop Brexit” vs. “support Brexit”). Quite intriguingly, the framework achieves to produce coherent aspect evidences of Brexit’s stance from key-concepts, showing that VAD influence the support and opposition aspects.

Affective and Contextual Embedding for Sarcasm Detection
Nastaran Babanejad | Heidar Davoudi | Aijun An | Manos Papagelis

Automatic sarcasm detection from text is an important classification task that can help identify the actual sentiment in user-generated data, such as reviews or tweets. Despite its usefulness, sarcasm detection remains a challenging task, due to a lack of any vocal intonation or facial gestures in textual data. To date, most of the approaches to addressing the problem have relied on hand-crafted affect features, or pre-trained models of non-contextual word embeddings, such as Word2vec. However, these models inherit limitations that render them inadequate for the task of sarcasm detection. In this paper, we propose two novel deep neural network models for sarcasm detection, namely ACE 1 and ACE 2. Given as input a text passage, the models predict whether it is sarcastic (or not). Our models extend the architecture of BERT by incorporating both affective and contextual features. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to directly alter BERT’s architecture and train it from scratch to build a sarcasm classifier. Extensive experiments on different datasets demonstrate that the proposed models outperform state-of-the-art models for sarcasm detection with significant margins.

Understanding Pre-trained BERT for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Hu Xu | Lei Shu | Philip Yu | Bing Liu

This paper analyzes the pre-trained hidden representations learned from reviews on BERT for tasks in aspect-based sentiment analysis (ABSA). Our work is motivated by the recent progress in BERT-based language models for ABSA. However, it is not clear how the general proxy task of (masked) language model trained on unlabeled corpus without annotations of aspects or opinions can provide important features for downstream tasks in ABSA. By leveraging the annotated datasets in ABSA, we investigate both the attentions and the learned representations of BERT pre-trained on reviews. We found that BERT uses very few self-attention heads to encode context words (such as prepositions or pronouns that indicating an aspect) and opinion words for an aspect. Most features in the representation of an aspect are dedicated to the fine-grained semantics of the domain (or product category) and the aspect itself, instead of carrying summarized opinions from its context. We hope this investigation can help future research in improving self-supervised learning, unsupervised learning and fine-tuning for ABSA. The pre-trained model and code can be found at

Weighed Domain-Invariant Representation Learning for Cross-domain Sentiment Analysis
Minlong Peng | Qi Zhang

Cross-domain sentiment analysis is currently a hot topic in both the research and industrial areas. One of the most popular framework for the task is domain-invariant representation learning (DIRL), which aims to learn a distribution-invariant feature representation across domains. However, in this work, we find out that applying DIRL may degrade domain adaptation performance when the label distribution P(Y) changes across domains. To address this problem, we propose a modification to DIRL, obtaining a novel weighted domain-invariant representation learning (WDIRL) framework. We show that it is easy to transfer existing models of the DIRL framework to the WDIRL framework. Empirical studies on extensive cross-domain sentiment analysis tasks verified our statements and showed the effectiveness of our proposed solution.

Improving Sentiment Analysis over non-English Tweets using Multilingual Transformers and Automatic Translation for Data-Augmentation
Valentin Barriere | Alexandra Balahur

Tweets are specific text data when compared to general text. Although sentiment analysis over tweets has become very popular in the last decade for English, it is still difficult to find huge annotated corpora for non-English languages. The recent rise of the transformer models in Natural Language Processing allows to achieve unparalleled performances in many tasks, but these models need a consequent quantity of text to adapt to the tweet domain. We propose the use of a multilingual transformer model, that we pre-train over English tweets on which we apply data-augmentation using automatic translation to adapt the model to non-English languages. Our experiments in French, Spanish, German and Italian suggest that the proposed technique is an efficient way to improve the results of the transformers over small corpora of tweets in a non-English language.

Joint Aspect Extraction and Sentiment Analysis with Directional Graph Convolutional Networks
Guimin Chen | Yuanhe Tian | Yan Song

End-to-end aspect-based sentiment analysis (EASA) consists of two sub-tasks: the first extracts the aspect terms in a sentence and the second predicts the sentiment polarities for such terms. For EASA, compared to pipeline and multi-task approaches, joint aspect extraction and sentiment analysis provides a one-step solution to predict both aspect terms and their sentiment polarities through a single decoding process, which avoid the mismatches in between the results of aspect terms and sentiment polarities, as well as error propagation. Previous studies, especially recent ones, for this task focus on using powerful encoders (e.g., Bi-LSTM and BERT) to model contextual information from the input, with limited efforts paid to using advanced neural architectures (such as attentions and graph convolutional networks) or leveraging extra knowledge (such as syntactic information). To extend such efforts, in this paper, we propose directional graph convolutional networks (D-GCN) to jointly perform aspect extraction and sentiment analysis with encoding syntactic information, where dependency among words are integrated in our model to enhance its ability of representing input sentences and help EASA accordingly. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, where D-GCN achieves state-of-the-art performance on all datasets.

Train Once, and Decode As You Like
Chao Tian | Yifei Wang | Hao Cheng | Yijiang Lian | Zhihua Zhang

In this paper we propose a unified approach for supporting different generation manners of machine translation, including autoregressive, semi-autoregressive, and refinement-based non-autoregressive models. Our approach works by repeatedly selecting positions and generating tokens at these selected positions. After being trained once, our approach achieves better or competitive translation performance compared with some strong task-specific baseline models in all the settings. This generalization ability benefits mainly from the new training objective that we propose. We validate our approach on the WMT’14 English-German and IWSLT’14 German-English translation tasks. The experimental results are encouraging.

A Representation Learning Approach to Animal Biodiversity Conservation
Meet Mukadam | Mandhara Jayaram | Yongfeng Zhang

Generating knowledge from natural language data has aided in solving many artificial intelligence problems. Vector representations of words have been the driving force behind the majority of natural language processing tasks. This paper develops a novel approach for predicting the conservation status of animal species using custom generated scientific name embeddings. We use two different vector embeddings generated using representation learning on Wikipedia text and animal taxonomy data. We generate name embeddings for all species in the animal kingdom using unsupervised learning and build a model on the IUCN Red List dataset to classify species into endangered or least-concern. To our knowledge, this is the first work that makes use of learnt features instead of handcrafted features for this task and achieves competitive results. Based on the high confidence results of our model, we also predict the conservation status of data deficient species whose conservation status is still unknown and thus steering more focus towards them for protection. These embeddings have also been made publicly available here. We believe this will greatly help in solving various downstream tasks and further advance research in the cross-domain involving natural language processing, conservation biology, and life sciences.

Integrating External Event Knowledge for Script Learning
Shangwen Lv | Fuqing Zhu | Songlin Hu

Script learning aims to predict the subsequent event according to the existing event chain. Recent studies focus on event co-occurrence to solve this problem. However, few studies integrate external event knowledge to solve this problem. With our observations, external event knowledge can provide additional knowledge like temporal or causal knowledge for understanding event chain better and predicting the right subsequent event. In this work, we integrate event knowledge from ASER (Activities, States, Events and their Relations) knowledge base to help predict the next event. We propose a new approach consisting of knowledge retrieval stage and knowledge integration stage. In the knowledge retrieval stage, we select relevant external event knowledge from ASER. In the knowledge integration stage, we propose three methods to integrate external knowledge into our model and infer final answers. Experiments on the widely-used Multi- Choice Narrative Cloze (MCNC) task show our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance compared to other methods.

Pointing to Subwords for Generating Function Names in Source Code
Shogo Fujita | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Hiroya Takamura | Manabu Okumura

We tackle the task of automatically generating a function name from source code. Existing generators face difficulties in generating low-frequency or out-of-vocabulary subwords. In this paper, we propose two strategies for copying low-frequency or out-of-vocabulary subwords in inputs. Our best performing model showed an improvement over the conventional method in terms of our modified F1 and accuracy on the Java-small and Java-large datasets.

Heterogeneous Graph Neural Networks to Predict What Happen Next
Jianming Zheng | Fei Cai | Yanxiang Ling | Honghui Chen

Given an incomplete event chain, script learning aims to predict the missing event, which can support a series of NLP applications. Existing work cannot well represent the heterogeneous relations and capture the discontinuous event segments that are common in the event chain. To address these issues, we introduce a heterogeneous-event (HeterEvent) graph network. In particular, we employ each unique word and individual event as nodes in the graph, and explore three kinds of edges based on realistic relations (e.g., the relations of word-and-word, word-and-event, event-and-event). We also design a message passing process to realize information interactions among homo or heterogeneous nodes. And the discontinuous event segments could be explicitly modeled by finding the specific path between corresponding nodes in the graph. The experimental results on one-step and multi-step inference tasks demonstrate that our ensemble model HeterEvent[W+E] can outperform existing baselines.

CEREC: A Corpus for Entity Resolution in Email Conversations
Parag Pravin Dakle | Dan Moldovan

We present the first large scale corpus for entity resolution in email conversations (CEREC). The corpus consists of 6001 email threads from the Enron Email Corpus containing 36,448 email messages and 38,996 entity coreference chains. The annotation is carried out as a two-step process with minimal manual effort. Experiments are carried out for evaluating different features and performance of four baselines on the created corpus. For the task of mention identification and coreference resolution, a best performance of 54.1 F1 is reported, highlighting the room for improvement. An in-depth qualitative and quantitative error analysis is presented to understand the limitations of the baselines considered.

SQL Generation via Machine Reading Comprehension
Zeyu Yan | Jianqiang Ma | Yang Zhang | Jianping Shen

Text-to-SQL systems offers natural language interfaces to databases, which can automatically generates SQL queries given natural language questions. On the WikiSQL benchmark, state-of- the-art text-to-SQL systems typically take a slot-filling approach by building several specialized models for each type of slot. Despite being effective, such modularized systems are complex and also fall short in jointly learning for different slots. To solve these problems, this paper proposes a novel approach that formulates the task as a question answering problem, where different slots are predicted by a unified machine reading comprehension (MRC) model. For this purpose, we use a BERT-based MRC model, which can also benefit from intermediate training on other MRC datasets. The proposed method can achieve competitive results on WikiSQL, suggesting it being a promising direction for text-to-SQL.

Towards Privacy by Design in Learner Corpora Research: A Case of On-the-fly Pseudonymization of Swedish Learner Essays
Elena Volodina | Yousuf Ali Mohammed | Sandra Derbring | Arild Matsson | Beata Megyesi

This article reports on an ongoing project aiming at automatization of pseudonymization of learner essays. The process includes three steps: identification of personal information in an unstructured text, labeling for a category, and pseudonymization. We experiment with rule-based methods for detection of 15 categories out of the suggested 19 (Megyesi et al., 2018) that we deem important and/or doable with automatic approaches. For the detection and labeling steps,we use resources covering personal names, geographic names, company and university names and others. For the pseudonymization step, we replace the item using another item of the same type from the above-mentioned resources. Evaluation of the detection and labeling steps are made on a set of manually anonymized essays. The results are promising and show that 89% of the personal information can be successfully identified in learner data, and annotated correctly with an inter-annotator agreement of 86% measured as Fleiss kappa and Krippendorff’s alpha.

PG-GSQL: Pointer-Generator Network with Guide Decoding for Cross-Domain Context-Dependent Text-to-SQL Generation
Huajie Wang | Mei Li | Lei Chen

Text-to-SQL is a task of translating utterances to SQL queries, and most existing neural approaches of text-to-SQL focus on the cross-domain context-independent generation task. We pay close attention to the cross-domain context-dependent text-to-SQL generation task, which requires a model to depend on the interaction history and current utterance to generate SQL query. In this paper, we present an encoder-decoder model called PG-GSQL based on the interaction-level encoder and with two effective innovations in decoder to solve cross-domain context-dependent text-to-SQL task. 1) To effectively capture historical information of SQL query and reuse the previous SQL query tokens, we use a hybrid pointer-generator network as decoder to copy tokens from the previous SQL query via pointer, the generator part is utilized to generate new tokens. 2) We propose a guide component to limit the prediction space of vocabulary for avoiding table-column dependency and foreign key dependency errors during decoding phase. In addition, we design a column-table linking mechanism to improve the prediction accuracy of tables. On the challenging cross-domain context-dependent text-to-SQL benchmark SParC, PG-GSQL achieves 34.0% question matching accuracy and 19.0% interaction matching accuracy on the dev set. With BERT augmentation, PG-GSQL obtains 53.1% question matching accuracy and 34.7% interaction matching accuracy on the dev set, outperforms the previous state-of-the-art model by 5.9% question matching accuracy and 5.2% interaction matching accuracy. Our code is publicly available.

Neural Approaches for Natural Language Interfaces to Databases: A Survey
Radu Cristian Alexandru Iacob | Florin Brad | Elena-Simona Apostol | Ciprian-Octavian Truică | Ionel Alexandru Hosu | Traian Rebedea

A natural language interface to databases (NLIDB) enables users without technical expertise to easily access information from relational databases. Interest in NLIDBs has resurged in the past years due to the availability of large datasets and improvements to neural sequence-to-sequence models. In this survey we focus on the key design decisions behind current state of the art neural approaches, which we group into encoder and decoder improvements. We highlight the three most important directions, namely linking question tokens to database schema elements (schema linking), better architectures for encoding the textual query taking into account the schema (schema encoding), and improved generation of structured queries using autoregressive neural models (grammar-based decoders). To foster future research, we also present an overview of the most important NLIDB datasets, together with a comparison of the top performing neural models and a short insight into recent non deep learning solutions.

Predicting Stance Change Using Modular Architectures
Aldo Porco | Dan Goldwasser

The ability to change a person’s mind on a given issue depends both on the arguments they are presented with and on their underlying perspectives and biases on that issue. Predicting stance changes require characterizing both aspects and the interaction between them, especially in realistic settings in which stance changes are very rare. In this paper, we suggest a modular learning approach, which decomposes the task into multiple modules, focusing on different aspects of the interaction between users, their beliefs, and the arguments they are exposed to. Our experiments show that our modular approach archives significantly better results compared to the end-to-end approach using BERT over the same inputs.

Leveraging HTML in Free Text Web Named Entity Recognition
Colin Ashby | David Weir

HTML tags are typically discarded in free text Named Entity Recognition from Web pages. We investigate whether these discarded tags might be used to improve NER performance. We compare Text+Tags sentences with their Text-Only equivalents, over five datasets, two free text segmentation granularities and two NER models. We find an increased F1 performance for Text+Tags of between 0.9% and 13.2% over all datasets, variants and models. This performance increase, over datasets of varying entity types, HTML density and construction quality, indicates our method is flexible and adaptable. These findings imply that a similar technique might be of use in other Web-aware NLP tasks, including the enrichment of deep language models.

Multimodal Review Generation with Privacy and Fairness Awareness
Xuan-Son Vu | Thanh-Son Nguyen | Duc-Trong Le | Lili Jiang

Users express their opinions towards entities (e.g., restaurants) via online reviews which can be in diverse forms such as text, ratings, and images. Modeling reviews are advantageous for user behavior understanding which, in turn, supports various user-oriented tasks such as recommendation, sentiment analysis, and review generation. In this paper, we propose MG-PriFair, a multimodal neural-based framework, which generates personalized reviews with privacy and fairness awareness. Motivated by the fact that reviews might contain personal information and sentiment bias, we propose a novel differentially private (dp)-embedding model for training privacy guaranteed embeddings and an evaluation approach for sentiment fairness in the food-review domain. Experiments on our novel review dataset show that MG-PriFair is capable of generating plausibly long reviews while controlling the amount of exploited user data and using the least sentiment biased word embeddings. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first to bring user privacy and sentiment fairness into the review generation task. The dataset and source codes are available at

Generating Equation by Utilizing Operators : GEO model
Kyung Seo Ki | Donggeon Lee | Bugeun Kim | Gahgene Gweon

Math word problem solving is an emerging research topic in Natural Language Processing. Recently, to address the math word problem-solving task, researchers have applied the encoder-decoder architecture, which is mainly used in machine translation tasks. The state-of-the-art neural models use hand-crafted features and are based on generation methods. In this paper, we propose the GEO (Generation of Equations by utilizing Operators) model that does not use hand-crafted features and addresses two issues that are present in existing neural models: 1. missing domain-specific knowledge features and 2. losing encoder-level knowledge. To address missing domain-specific feature issue, we designed two auxiliary tasks: operation group difference prediction and implicit pair prediction. To address losing encoder-level knowledge issue, we added an Operation Feature Feed Forward (OP3F) layer. Experimental results showed that the GEO model outperformed existing state-of-the-art models on two datasets, 85.1% in MAWPS, and 62.5% in DRAW-1K, and reached comparable performance of 82.1% in ALG514 dataset.

Improving Abstractive Dialogue Summarization with Graph Structures and Topic Words
Lulu Zhao | Weiran Xu | Jun Guo

Recently, people have been beginning paying more attention to the abstractive dialogue summarization task. Since the information flows are exchanged between at least two interlocutors and key elements about a certain event are often spanned across multiple utterances, it is necessary for researchers to explore the inherent relations and structures of dialogue contents. However, the existing approaches often process the dialogue with sequence-based models, which are hard to capture long-distance inter-sentence relations. In this paper, we propose a Topic-word Guided Dialogue Graph Attention (TGDGA) network to model the dialogue as an interaction graph according to the topic word information. A masked graph self-attention mechanism is used to integrate cross-sentence information flows and focus more on the related utterances, which makes it better to understand the dialogue. Moreover, the topic word features are introduced to assist the decoding process. We evaluate our model on the SAMSum Corpus and Automobile Master Corpus. The experimental results show that our method outperforms most of the baselines.

Speaker-change Aware CRF for Dialogue Act Classification
Guokan Shang | Antoine Tixier | Michalis Vazirgiannis | Jean-Pierre Lorré

Recent work in Dialogue Act (DA) classification approaches the task as a sequence labeling problem, using neural network models coupled with a Conditional Random Field (CRF) as the last layer. CRF models the conditional probability of the target DA label sequence given the input utterance sequence. However, the task involves another important input sequence, that of speakers, which is ignored by previous work. To address this limitation, this paper proposes a simple modification of the CRF layer that takes speaker-change into account. Experiments on the SwDA corpus show that our modified CRF layer outperforms the original one, with very wide margins for some DA labels. Further, visualizations demonstrate that our CRF layer can learn meaningful, sophisticated transition patterns between DA label pairs conditioned on speaker-change in an end-to-end way. Code is publicly available.

LAVA: Latent Action Spaces via Variational Auto-encoding for Dialogue Policy Optimization
Nurul Lubis | Christian Geishauser | Michael Heck | Hsien-chin Lin | Marco Moresi | Carel van Niekerk | Milica Gasic

Reinforcement learning (RL) can enable task-oriented dialogue systems to steer the conversation towards successful task completion. In an end-to-end setting, a response can be constructed in a word-level sequential decision making process with the entire system vocabulary as action space. Policies trained in such a fashion do not require expert-defined action spaces, but they have to deal with large action spaces and long trajectories, making RL impractical. Using the latent space of a variational model as action space alleviates this problem. However, current approaches use an uninformed prior for training and optimize the latent distribution solely on the context. It is therefore unclear whether the latent representation truly encodes the characteristics of different actions. In this paper, we explore three ways of leveraging an auxiliary task to shape the latent variable distribution: via pre-training, to obtain an informed prior, and via multitask learning. We choose response auto-encoding as the auxiliary task, as this captures the generative factors of dialogue responses while requiring low computational cost and neither additional data nor labels. Our approach yields a more action-characterized latent representations which support end-to-end dialogue policy optimization and achieves state-of-the-art success rates. These results warrant a more wide-spread use of RL in end-to-end dialogue models.

Recent Neural Methods on Slot Filling and Intent Classification for Task-Oriented Dialogue Systems: A Survey
Samuel Louvan | Bernardo Magnini

In recent years, fostered by deep learning technologies and by the high demand for conversational AI, various approaches have been proposed that address the capacity to elicit and understand user’s needs in task-oriented dialogue systems. We focus on two core tasks, slot filling (SF) and intent classification (IC), and survey how neural based models have rapidly evolved to address natural language understanding in dialogue systems. We introduce three neural architectures: independent models, which model SF and IC separately, joint models, which exploit the mutual benefit of the two tasks simultaneously, and transfer learning models, that scale the model to new domains. We discuss the current state of the research in SF and IC, and highlight challenges that still require attention.

Re-framing Incremental Deep Language Models for Dialogue Processing with Multi-task Learning
Morteza Rohanian | Julian Hough

We present a multi-task learning framework to enable the training of one universal incremental dialogue processing model with four tasks of disfluency detection, language modelling, part-of-speech tagging and utterance segmentation in a simple deep recurrent setting. We show that these tasks provide positive inductive biases to each other with optimal contribution of each one relying on the severity of the noise from the task. Our live multi-task model outperforms similar individual tasks, delivers competitive performance and is beneficial for future use in conversational agents in psychiatric treatment.

AprilE: Attention with Pseudo Residual Connection for Knowledge Graph Embedding
Yuzhang Liu | Peng Wang | Yingtai Li | Yizhan Shao | Zhongkai Xu

Knowledge graph embedding maps entities and relations into low-dimensional vector space. However, it is still challenging for many existing methods to model diverse relational patterns, especially symmetric and antisymmetric relations. To address this issue, we propose a novel model, AprilE, which employs triple-level self-attention and pseudo residual connection to model relational patterns. The triple-level self-attention treats head entity, relation, and tail entity as a sequence and captures the dependency within a triple. At the same time the pseudo residual connection retains primitive semantic features. Furthermore, to deal with symmetric and antisymmetric relations, two schemas of score function are designed via a position-adaptive mechanism. Experimental results on public datasets demonstrate that our model can produce expressive knowledge embedding and significantly outperforms most of the state-of-the-art works.

Variational Autoencoder with Embedded Student-t Mixture Model for Authorship Attribution
Benedikt Boenninghoff | Steffen Zeiler | Robert Nickel | Dorothea Kolossa

Traditional computational authorship attribution describes a classification task in a closed-set scenario. Given a finite set of candidate authors and corresponding labeled texts, the objective is to determine which of the authors has written another set of anonymous or disputed texts. In this work, we propose a probabilistic autoencoding framework to deal with this supervised classification task. Variational autoencoders (VAEs) have had tremendous success in learning latent representations. However, existing VAEs are currently still bound by limitations imposed by the assumed Gaussianity of the underlying probability distributions in the latent space. In this work, we are extending a VAE with an embedded Gaussian mixture model to a Student-t mixture model, which allows for an independent control of the “heaviness” of the respective tails of the implied probability densities. Experiments over an Amazon review dataset indicate superior performance of the proposed method.

Knowledge Graph Embeddings in Geometric Algebras
Chengjin Xu | Mojtaba Nayyeri | Yung-Yu Chen | Jens Lehmann

Knowledge graph (KG) embedding aims at embedding entities and relations in a KG into a low dimensional latent representation space. Existing KG embedding approaches model entities and relations in a KG by utilizing real-valued , complex-valued, or hypercomplex-valued (Quaternion or Octonion) representations, all of which are subsumed into a geometric algebra. In this work, we introduce a novel geometric algebra-based KG embedding framework, GeomE, which utilizes multivector representations and the geometric product to model entities and relations. Our framework subsumes several state-of-the-art KG embedding approaches and is advantageous with its ability of modeling various key relation patterns, including (anti-)symmetry, inversion and composition, rich expressiveness with higher degree of freedom as well as good generalization capacity. Experimental results on multiple benchmark knowledge graphs show that the proposed approach outperforms existing state-of-the-art models for link prediction.

Exploiting Node Content for Multiview Graph Convolutional Network and Adversarial Regularization
Qiuhao Lu | Nisansa de Silva | Dejing Dou | Thien Huu Nguyen | Prithviraj Sen | Berthold Reinwald | Yunyao Li

Network representation learning (NRL) is crucial in the area of graph learning. Recently, graph autoencoders and its variants have gained much attention and popularity among various types of node embedding approaches. Most existing graph autoencoder-based methods aim to minimize the reconstruction errors of the input network while not explicitly considering the semantic relatedness between nodes. In this paper, we propose a novel network embedding method which models the consistency across different views of networks. More specifically, we create a second view from the input network which captures the relation between nodes based on node content and enforce the latent representations from the two views to be consistent by incorporating a multiview adversarial regularization module. The experimental studies on benchmark datasets prove the effectiveness of this method, and demonstrate that our method compares favorably with the state-of-the-art algorithms on challenging tasks such as link prediction and node clustering. We also evaluate our method on a real-world application, i.e., 30-day unplanned ICU readmission prediction, and achieve promising results compared with several baseline methods.

RatE: Relation-Adaptive Translating Embedding for Knowledge Graph Completion
Hao Huang | Guodong Long | Tao Shen | Jing Jiang | Chengqi Zhang

Many graph embedding approaches have been proposed for knowledge graph completion via link prediction. Among those, translating embedding approaches enjoy the advantages of light-weight structure, high efficiency and great interpretability. Especially when extended to complex vector space, they show the capability in handling various relation patterns including symmetry, antisymmetry, inversion and composition. However, previous translating embedding approaches defined in complex vector space suffer from two main issues: 1) representing and modeling capacities of the model are limited by the translation function with rigorous multiplication of two complex numbers; and 2) embedding ambiguity caused by one-to-many relations is not explicitly alleviated. In this paper, we propose a relation-adaptive translation function built upon a novel weighted product in complex space, where the weights are learnable, relation-specific and independent to embedding size. The translation function only requires eight more scalar parameters each relation, but improves expressive power and alleviates embedding ambiguity problem. Based on the function, we then present our Relation-adaptive translating Embedding (RatE) approach to score each graph triple. Moreover, a novel negative sampling method is proposed to utilize both prior knowledge and self-adversarial learning for effective optimization. Experiments verify RatE achieves state-of-the-art performance on four link prediction benchmarks.

SentiX: A Sentiment-Aware Pre-Trained Model for Cross-Domain Sentiment Analysis
Jie Zhou | Junfeng Tian | Rui Wang | Yuanbin Wu | Wenming Xiao | Liang He

Pre-trained language models have been widely applied to cross-domain NLP tasks like sentiment analysis, achieving state-of-the-art performance. However, due to the variety of users’ emotional expressions across domains, fine-tuning the pre-trained models on the source domain tends to overfit, leading to inferior results on the target domain. In this paper, we pre-train a sentiment-aware language model (SentiX) via domain-invariant sentiment knowledge from large-scale review datasets, and utilize it for cross-domain sentiment analysis task without fine-tuning. We propose several pre-training tasks based on existing lexicons and annotations at both token and sentence levels, such as emoticons, sentiment words, and ratings, without human interference. A series of experiments are conducted and the results indicate the great advantages of our model. We obtain new state-of-the-art results in all the cross-domain sentiment analysis tasks, and our proposed SentiX can be trained with only 1% samples (18 samples) and it achieves better performance than BERT with 90% samples.

Bayes-enhanced Lifelong Attention Networks for Sentiment Classification
Hao Wang | Shuai Wang | Sahisnu Mazumder | Bing Liu | Yan Yang | Tianrui Li

The classic deep learning paradigm learns a model from the training data of a single task and the learned model is also tested on the same task. This paper studies the problem of learning a sequence of tasks (sentiment classification tasks in our case). After each sentiment classification task is learned, its knowledge is retained to help future task learning. Following this setting, we explore attention neural networks and propose a Bayes-enhanced Lifelong Attention Network (BLAN). The key idea is to exploit the generative parameters of naive Bayes to learn attention knowledge. The learned knowledge from each task is stored in a knowledge base and later used to build lifelong attentions. The constructed lifelong attentions are then used to enhance the attention of the network to help new task learning. Experimental results on product reviews from show the effectiveness of the proposed model.

Arabizi Language Models for Sentiment Analysis
Gaétan Baert | Souhir Gahbiche | Guillaume Gadek | Alexandre Pauchet

Arabizi is a written form of spoken Arabic, relying on Latin characters and digits. It is informal and does not follow any conventional rules, raising many NLP challenges. In particular, Arabizi has recently emerged as the Arabic language in online social networks, becoming of great interest for opinion mining and sentiment analysis. Unfortunately, only few Arabizi resources exist and state-of-the-art language models such as BERT do not consider Arabizi. In this work, we construct and release two datasets: (i) LAD, a corpus of 7.7M tweets written in Arabizi and (ii) SALAD, a subset of LAD, manually annotated for sentiment analysis. Then, a BERT architecture is pre-trained on LAD, in order to create and distribute an Arabizi language model called BAERT. We show that a language model (BAERT) pre-trained on a large corpus (LAD) in the same language (Arabizi) as that of the fine-tuning dataset (SALAD), outperforms a state-of-the-art multi-lingual pretrained model (multilingual BERT) on a sentiment analysis task.

Author’s Sentiment Prediction
Mohaddeseh Bastan | Mahnaz Koupaee | Youngseo Son | Richard Sicoli | Niranjan Balasubramanian

Even though sentiment analysis has been well-studied on a wide range of domains, there hasn’tbeen much work on inferring author sentiment in news articles. To address this gap, we introducePerSenT, a crowd-sourced dataset that captures the sentiment of an author towards the mainentity in a news article. Our benchmarks of multiple strong baselines show that this is a difficultclassification task. BERT performs the best amongst the baselines. However, it only achievesa modest performance overall suggesting that fine-tuning document-level representations aloneisn’t adequate for this task. Making paragraph-level decisions and aggregating over the entiredocument is also ineffective. We present empirical and qualitative analyses that illustrate thespecific challenges posed by this dataset. We release this dataset with 5.3k documents and 38kparagraphs with 3.2k unique entities as a challenge in entity sentiment analysis.

Modeling Local Contexts for Joint Dialogue Act Recognition and Sentiment Classification with Bi-channel Dynamic Convolutions
Jingye Li | Hao Fei | Donghong Ji

In this paper, we target improving the joint dialogue act recognition (DAR) and sentiment classification (SC) tasks by fully modeling the local contexts of utterances. First, we employ the dynamic convolution network (DCN) as the utterance encoder to capture the dialogue contexts. Further, we propose a novel context-aware dynamic convolution network (CDCN) to better leverage the local contexts when dynamically generating kernels. We extended our frameworks into bi-channel version (i.e., BDCN and BCDCN) under multi-task learning to achieve the joint DAR and SC. Two channels can learn their own feature representations for DAR and SC, respectively, but with latent interaction. Besides, we suggest enhancing the tasks by employing the DiaBERT language model. Our frameworks obtain state-of-the-art performances against all baselines on two benchmark datasets, demonstrating the importance of modeling the local contexts.

Named Entity Recognition for Chinese biomedical patents
Yuting Hu | Suzan Verberne

There is a large body of work on Biomedical Entity Recognition (Bio-NER) for English but there have only been a few attempts addressing NER for Chinese biomedical texts. Because of the growing amount of Chinese biomedical discoveries being patented, and lack of NER models for patent data, we train and evaluate NER models for the analysis of Chinese biomedical patent data, based on BERT. By doing so, we show the value and potential of this domain-specific NER task. For the evaluation of our methods we built our own Chinese biomedical patents NER dataset, and our optimized model achieved an F1 score of 0.54±0.15. Further biomedical analysis indicates that our solution can help detecting meaningful biomedical entities and novel gene-gene interactions, with limited labeled data, training time and computing power.

Learning Health-Bots from Training Data that was Automatically Created using Paraphrase Detection and Expert Knowledge
Anna Liednikova | Philippe Jolivet | Alexandre Durand-Salmon | Claire Gardent

A key bottleneck for developing dialog models is the lack of adequate training data. Due to privacy issues, dialog data is even scarcer in the health domain. We propose a novel method for creating dialog corpora which we apply to create doctor-patient interaction data. We use this data to learn both a generation and a hybrid classification/retrieval model and find that the generation model consistently outperforms the hybrid model. We show that our data creation method has several advantages. Not only does it allow for the semi-automatic creation of large quantities of training data. It also provides a natural way of guiding learning and a novel method for assessing the quality of human-machine interactions.

A Joint Learning Approach based on Self-Distillation for Keyphrase Extraction from Scientific Documents
Tuan Lai | Trung Bui | Doo Soon Kim | Quan Hung Tran

Keyphrase extraction is the task of extracting a small set of phrases that best describe a document. Most existing benchmark datasets for the task typically have limited numbers of annotated documents, making it challenging to train increasingly complex neural networks. In contrast, digital libraries store millions of scientific articles online, covering a wide range of topics. While a significant portion of these articles contain keyphrases provided by their authors, most other articles lack such kind of annotations. Therefore, to effectively utilize these large amounts of unlabeled articles, we propose a simple and efficient joint learning approach based on the idea of self-distillation. Experimental results show that our approach consistently improves the performance of baseline models for keyphrase extraction. Furthermore, our best models outperform previous methods for the task, achieving new state-of-the-art results on two public benchmarks: Inspec and SemEval-2017.

Enhancing Clinical BERT Embedding using a Biomedical Knowledge Base
Boran Hao | Henghui Zhu | Ioannis Paschalidis

Domain knowledge is important for building Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems for low-resource settings, such as in the clinical domain. In this paper, a novel joint training method is introduced for adding knowledge base information from the Unified Medical Language System (UMLS) into language model pre-training for some clinical domain corpus. We show that in three different downstream clinical NLP tasks, our pre-trained language model outperforms the corresponding model with no knowledge base information and other state-of-the-art models. Specifically, in a natural language inference task applied to clinical texts, our knowledge base pre-training approach improves accuracy by up to 1.7%, whereas in clinical name entity recognition tasks, the F1-score improves by up to 1.0%. The pre-trained models are available at

TIMBERT: Toponym Identifier For The Medical Domain Based on BERT
MohammadReza Davari | Leila Kosseim | Tien Bui

In this paper, we propose an approach to automate the process of place name detection in the medical domain to enable epidemiologists to better study and model the spread of viruses. We created a family of Toponym Identification Models based on BERT (TIMBERT), in order to learn in an end-to-end fashion the mapping from an input sentence to the associated sentence labeled with toponyms. When evaluated with the SemEval 2019 task 12 test set (Weissenbacher et al., 2019), our best TIMBERT model achieves an F1 score of 90.85%, a significant improvement compared to the state-of-the-art of 89.13% (Wang et al., 2019).

BioMedBERT: A Pre-trained Biomedical Language Model for QA and IR
Souradip Chakraborty | Ekaba Bisong | Shweta Bhatt | Thomas Wagner | Riley Elliott | Francesco Mosconi

The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic spotlighted the importance of moving quickly with biomedical research. However, as the number of biomedical research papers continue to increase, the task of finding relevant articles to answer pressing questions has become significant. In this work, we propose a textual data mining tool that supports literature search to accelerate the work of researchers in the biomedical domain. We achieve this by building a neural-based deep contextual understanding model for Question-Answering (QA) and Information Retrieval (IR) tasks. We also leverage the new BREATHE dataset which is one of the largest available datasets of biomedical research literature, containing abstracts and full-text articles from ten different biomedical literature sources on which we pre-train our BioMedBERT model. Our work achieves state-of-the-art results on the QA fine-tuning task on BioASQ 5b, 6b and 7b datasets. In addition, we observe superior relevant results when BioMedBERT embeddings are used with Elasticsearch for the Information Retrieval task on the intelligently formulated BioASQ dataset. We believe our diverse dataset and our unique model architecture are what led us to achieve the state-of-the-art results for QA and IR tasks.

Extracting Adherence Information from Electronic Health Records
Jordan Sanders | Meghana Gudala | Kathleen Hamilton | Nishtha Prasad | Jordan Stovall | Eduardo Blanco | Jane E Hamilton | Kirk Roberts

Patient adherence is a critical factor in health outcomes. We present a framework to extract adherence information from electronic health records, including both sentence-level information indicating general adherence information (full, partial, none, etc.) and span-level information providing additional information such as adherence type (medication or nonmedication), reasons and outcomes. We annotate and make publicly available a new corpus of 3,000 de-identified sentences, and discuss the language physicians use to document adherence information. We also explore models based on state-of-the-art transformers to automate both tasks.

Identifying Depressive Symptoms from Tweets: Figurative Language Enabled Multitask Learning Framework
Shweta Yadav | Jainish Chauhan | Joy Prakash Sain | Krishnaprasad Thirunarayan | Amit Sheth | Jeremiah Schumm

Existing studies on using social media for deriving mental health status of users focus on the depression detection task. However, for case management and referral to psychiatrists, health-care workers require practical and scalable depressive disorder screening and triage system. This study aims to design and evaluate a decision support system (DSS) to reliably determine the depressive triage level by capturing fine-grained depressive symptoms expressed in user tweets through the emulation of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) that is routinely used in clinical practice. The reliable detection of depressive symptoms from tweets is challenging because the 280-character limit on tweets incentivizes the use of creative artifacts in the utterances and figurative usage contributes to effective expression. We propose a novel BERT based robust multi-task learning framework to accurately identify the depressive symptoms using the auxiliary task of figurative usage detection. Specifically, our proposed novel task sharing mechanism,co-task aware attention, enables automatic selection of optimal information across the BERT lay-ers and tasks by soft-sharing of parameters. Our results show that modeling figurative usage can demonstrably improve the model’s robustness and reliability for distinguishing the depression symptoms.

French Biomedical Text Simplification: When Small and Precise Helps
Rémi Cardon | Natalia Grabar

We present experiments on biomedical text simplification in French. We use two kinds of corpora – parallel sentences extracted from existing health comparable corpora in French and WikiLarge corpus translated from English to French – and a lexicon that associates medical terms with paraphrases. Then, we train neural models on these parallel corpora using different ratios of general and specialized sentences. We evaluate the results with BLEU, SARI and Kandel scores. The results point out that little specialized data helps significantly the simplification.

Summarizing Medical Conversations via Identifying Important Utterances
Yan Song | Yuanhe Tian | Nan Wang | Fei Xia

Summarization is an important natural language processing (NLP) task in identifying key information from text. For conversations, the summarization systems need to extract salient contents from spontaneous utterances by multiple speakers. In a special task-oriented scenario, namely medical conversations between patients and doctors, the symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments could be highly important because the nature of such conversation is to find a medical solution to the problem proposed by the patients. Especially consider that current online medical platforms provide millions of public available conversations between real patients and doctors, where the patients propose their medical problems and the registered doctors offer diagnosis and treatment, a conversation in most cases could be too long and the key information is hard to be located. Therefore, summarizations to the patients’ problems and the doctors’ treatments in the conversations can be highly useful, in terms of helping other patients with similar problems have a precise reference for potential medical solutions. In this paper, we focus on medical conversation summarization, using a dataset of medical conversations and corresponding summaries which were crawled from a well-known online healthcare service provider in China. We propose a hierarchical encoder-tagger model (HET) to generate summaries by identifying important utterances (with respect to problem proposing and solving) in the conversations. For the particular dataset used in this study, we show that high-quality summaries can be generated by extracting two types of utterances, namely, problem statements and treatment recommendations. Experimental results demonstrate that HET outperforms strong baselines and models from previous studies, and adding conversation-related features can further improve system performance.

Probing Multimodal Embeddings for Linguistic Properties: the Visual-Semantic Case
Adam Dahlgren Lindström | Johanna Björklund | Suna Bensch | Frank Drewes

Semantic embeddings have advanced the state of the art for countless natural language processing tasks, and various extensions to multimodal domains, such as visual-semantic embeddings, have been proposed. While the power of visual-semantic embeddings comes from the distillation and enrichment of information through machine learning, their inner workings are poorly understood and there is a shortage of analysis tools. To address this problem, we generalize the notion ofprobing tasks to the visual-semantic case. To this end, we (i) discuss the formalization of probing tasks for embeddings of image-caption pairs, (ii) define three concrete probing tasks within our general framework, (iii) train classifiers to probe for those properties, and (iv) compare various state-of-the-art embeddings under the lens of the proposed probing tasks. Our experiments reveal an up to 16% increase in accuracy on visual-semantic embeddings compared to the corresponding unimodal embeddings, which suggest that the text and image dimensions represented in the former do complement each other.

Linguistic Profiling of a Neural Language Model
Alessio Miaschi | Dominique Brunato | Felice Dell’Orletta | Giulia Venturi

In this paper we investigate the linguistic knowledge learned by a Neural Language Model (NLM) before and after a fine-tuning process and how this knowledge affects its predictions during several classification problems. We use a wide set of probing tasks, each of which corresponds to a distinct sentence-level feature extracted from different levels of linguistic annotation. We show that BERT is able to encode a wide range of linguistic characteristics, but it tends to lose this information when trained on specific downstream tasks. We also find that BERT’s capacity to encode different kind of linguistic properties has a positive influence on its predictions: the more it stores readable linguistic information of a sentence, the higher will be its capacity of predicting the expected label assigned to that sentence.

IndoLEM and IndoBERT: A Benchmark Dataset and Pre-trained Language Model for Indonesian NLP
Fajri Koto | Afshin Rahimi | Jey Han Lau | Timothy Baldwin

Although the Indonesian language is spoken by almost 200 million people and the 10th most spoken language in the world, it is under-represented in NLP research. Previous work on Indonesian has been hampered by a lack of annotated datasets, a sparsity of language resources, and a lack of resource standardization. In this work, we release the IndoLEM dataset comprising seven tasks for the Indonesian language, spanning morpho-syntax, semantics, and discourse. We additionally release IndoBERT, a new pre-trained language model for Indonesian, and evaluate it over IndoLEM, in addition to benchmarking it against existing resources. Our experiments show that IndoBERT achieves state-of-the-art performance over most of the tasks in IndoLEM.

A Closer Look at Linguistic Knowledge in Masked Language Models: The Case of Relative Clauses in American English
Marius Mosbach | Stefania Degaetano-Ortlieb | Marie-Pauline Krielke | Badr M. Abdullah | Dietrich Klakow

Transformer-based language models achieve high performance on various tasks, but we still lack understanding of the kind of linguistic knowledge they learn and rely on. We evaluate three models (BERT, RoBERTa, and ALBERT), testing their grammatical and semantic knowledge by sentence-level probing, diagnostic cases, and masked prediction tasks. We focus on relative clauses (in American English) as a complex phenomenon needing contextual information and antecedent identification to be resolved. Based on a naturalistic dataset, probing shows that all three models indeed capture linguistic knowledge about grammaticality, achieving high performance.Evaluation on diagnostic cases and masked prediction tasks considering fine-grained linguistic knowledge, however, shows pronounced model-specific weaknesses especially on semantic knowledge, strongly impacting models’ performance. Our results highlight the importance of (a)model comparison in evaluation task and (b) building up claims of model performance and the linguistic knowledge they capture beyond purely probing-based evaluations.

Modeling language evolution and feature dynamics in a realistic geographic environment
Rhea Kapur | Phillip Rogers

Recent, innovative efforts to understand the uneven distribution of languages and linguistic feature values in time and space attest to both the challenge these issues pose and the value in solving them. In this paper, we introduce a model for simulating languages and their features over time in a realistic geographic environment. At its core is a model of language phylogeny and migration whose parameters are chosen to reproduce known language family sizes and geographic dispersions. This foundation in turn is used to explore the dynamics of linguistic features. Languages are assigned feature values that can change randomly or under the influence of nearby languages according to predetermined probabilities. We assess the effects of these settings on resulting geographic and genealogical patterns using homogeneity measures defined in the literature. The resulting model is both flexible and realistic, and it can be employed to answer a wide range of related questions.

Syntax-Aware Graph Attention Network for Aspect-Level Sentiment Classification
Lianzhe Huang | Xin Sun | Sujian Li | Linhao Zhang | Houfeng Wang

Aspect-level sentiment classification aims to distinguish the sentiment polarities over aspect terms in a sentence. Existing approaches mostly focus on modeling the relationship between the given aspect words and their contexts with attention, and ignore the use of more elaborate knowledge implicit in the context. In this paper, we exploit syntactic awareness to the model by the graph attention network on the dependency tree structure and external pre-training knowledge by BERT language model, which helps to model the interaction between the context and aspect words better. And the subwords of BERT are integrated into the dependency tree graphs, which can obtain more accurate representations of words by graph attention. Experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our model.

Attention Transfer Network for Aspect-level Sentiment Classification
Fei Zhao | Zhen Wu | Xinyu Dai

Aspect-level sentiment classification (ASC) aims to detect the sentiment polarity of a given opinion target in a sentence. In neural network-based methods for ASC, most works employ the attention mechanism to capture the corresponding sentiment words of the opinion target, then aggregate them as evidence to infer the sentiment of the target. However, aspect-level datasets are all relatively small-scale due to the complexity of annotation. Data scarcity causes the attention mechanism sometimes to fail to focus on the corresponding sentiment words of the target, which finally weakens the performance of neural models. To address the issue, we propose a novel Attention Transfer Network (ATN) in this paper, which can successfully exploit attention knowledge from resource-rich document-level sentiment classification datasets to improve the attention capability of the aspect-level sentiment classification task. In the ATN model, we design two different methods to transfer attention knowledge and conduct experiments on two ASC benchmark datasets. Extensive experimental results show that our methods consistently outperform state-of-the-art works. Further analysis also validates the effectiveness of ATN.

Label Correction Model for Aspect-based Sentiment Analysis
Qianlong Wang | Jiangtao Ren

Aspect-based sentiment analysis includes opinion aspect extraction and aspect sentiment classification. Researchers have attempted to discover the relationship between these two sub-tasks and have proposed the joint model for solving aspect-based sentiment analysis. However, they ignore a phenomenon: aspect boundary label and sentiment label of the same word can correct each other. To exploit this phenomenon, we propose a novel deep learning model named the label correction model. Specifically, given an input sentence, our model first predicts the aspect boundary label sequence and sentiment label sequence, then re-predicts the aspect boundary (sentiment) label sequence using the embeddings of the previously predicted sentiment (aspect boundary) label. The goal of the re-prediction operation (can be repeated multiple times) is to use the information of the sentiment (aspect boundary) label to correct the wrong aspect boundary (sentiment) label. Moreover, we explore two ways of using label embeddings: add and gate mechanism. We evaluate our model on three benchmark datasets. Experimental results verify that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance compared with several baselines.

Aspect-Category based Sentiment Analysis with Hierarchical Graph Convolutional Network
Hongjie Cai | Yaofeng Tu | Xiangsheng Zhou | Jianfei Yu | Rui Xia

Most of the aspect based sentiment analysis research aims at identifying the sentiment polarities toward some explicit aspect terms while ignores implicit aspects in text. To capture both explicit and implicit aspects, we focus on aspect-category based sentiment analysis, which involves joint aspect category detection and category-oriented sentiment classification. However, currently only a few simple studies have focused on this problem. The shortcomings in the way they defined the task make their approaches difficult to effectively learn the inner-relations between categories and the inter-relations between categories and sentiments. In this work, we re-formalize the task as a category-sentiment hierarchy prediction problem, which contains a hierarchy output structure to first identify multiple aspect categories in a piece of text, and then predict the sentiment for each of the identified categories. Specifically, we propose a Hierarchical Graph Convolutional Network (Hier-GCN), where a lower-level GCN is to model the inner-relations among multiple categories, and the higher-level GCN is to capture the inter-relations between aspect categories and sentiments. Extensive evaluations demonstrate that our hierarchy output structure is superior over existing ones, and the Hier-GCN model can consistently achieve the best results on four benchmarks.

Constituency Lattice Encoding for Aspect Term Extraction
Yunyi Yang | Kun Li | Xiaojun Quan | Weizhou Shen | Qinliang Su

One of the remaining challenges for aspect term extraction in sentiment analysis resides in the extraction of phrase-level aspect terms, which is non-trivial to determine the boundaries of such terms. In this paper, we aim to address this issue by incorporating the span annotations of constituents of a sentence to leverage the syntactic information in neural network models. To this end, we first construct a constituency lattice structure based on the constituents of a constituency tree. Then, we present two approaches to encoding the constituency lattice using BiLSTM-CRF and BERT as the base models, respectively. We experimented on two benchmark datasets to evaluate the two models, and the results confirm their superiority with respective 3.17 and 1.35 points gained in F1-Measure over the current state of the art. The improvements justify the effectiveness of the constituency lattice for aspect term extraction.

A Corpus for Argumentative Writing Support in German
Thiemo Wambsganss | Christina Niklaus | Matthias Söllner | Siegfried Handschuh | Jan Marco Leimeister

In this paper, we present a novel annotation approach to capture claims and premises of arguments and their relations in student-written persuasive peer reviews on business models in German language. We propose an annotation scheme based on annotation guidelines that allows to model claims and premises as well as support and attack relations for capturing the structure of argumentative discourse in student-written peer reviews. We conduct an annotation study with three annotators on 50 persuasive essays to evaluate our annotation scheme. The obtained inter-rater agreement of α = 0.57 for argument components and α = 0.49 for argumentative relations indicates that the proposed annotation scheme successfully guides annotators to moderate agreement. Finally, we present our freely available corpus of 1,000 persuasive student-written peer reviews on business models and our annotation guidelines to encourage future research on the design and development of argumentative writing support systems for students.

Do Word Embeddings Capture Spelling Variation?
Dong Nguyen | Jack Grieve

Analyses of word embeddings have primarily focused on semantic and syntactic properties. However, word embeddings have the potential to encode other properties as well. In this paper, we propose a new perspective on the analysis of word embeddings by focusing on spelling variation. In social media, spelling variation is abundant and often socially meaningful. Here, we analyze word embeddings trained on Twitter and Reddit data. We present three analyses using pairs of word forms covering seven types of spelling variation in English. Taken together, our results show that word embeddings encode spelling variation patterns of various types to some extent, even embeddings trained using the skipgram model which does not take spelling into account. Our results also suggest a link between the intentionality of the variation and the distance of the non-conventional spellings to their conventional spellings.

Don’t take “nswvtnvakgxpm” for an answer –The surprising vulnerability of automatic content scoring systems to adversarial input
Yuning Ding | Brian Riordan | Andrea Horbach | Aoife Cahill | Torsten Zesch

Automatic content scoring systems are widely used on short answer tasks to save human effort. However, the use of these systems can invite cheating strategies, such as students writing irrelevant answers in the hopes of gaining at least partial credit. We generate adversarial answers for benchmark content scoring datasets based on different methods of increasing sophistication and show that even simple methods lead to a surprising decrease in content scoring performance. As an extreme example, up to 60% of adversarial answers generated from random shuffling of words in real answers are accepted by a state-of-the-art scoring system. In addition to analyzing the vulnerabilities of content scoring systems, we examine countermeasures such as adversarial training and show that these measures improve system robustness against adversarial answers considerably but do not suffice to completely solve the problem.

Automated Prediction of Examinee Proficiency from Short-Answer Questions
Le An Ha | Victoria Yaneva | Polina Harik | Ravi Pandian | Amy Morales | Brian Clauser

This paper brings together approaches from the fields of NLP and psychometric measurement to address the problem of predicting examinee proficiency from responses to short-answer questions (SAQs). While previous approaches train on manually labeled data to predict the human-ratings assigned to SAQ responses, the approach presented here models examinee proficiency directly and does not require manually labeled data to train on. We use data from a large medical exam where experimental SAQ items are embedded alongside 106 scored multiple-choice questions (MCQs). First, the latent trait of examinee proficiency is measured using the scored MCQs and then a model is trained on the experimental SAQ responses as input, aiming to predict proficiency as its target variable. The predicted value is then used as a “score” for the SAQ response and evaluated in terms of its contribution to the precision of proficiency estimation.

Exploring Cross-sentence Contexts for Named Entity Recognition with BERT
Jouni Luoma | Sampo Pyysalo

Named entity recognition (NER) is frequently addressed as a sequence classification task with each input consisting of one sentence of text. It is nevertheless clear that useful information for NER is often found also elsewhere in text. Recent self-attention models like BERT can both capture long-distance relationships in input and represent inputs consisting of several sentences. This creates opportunities for adding cross-sentence information in natural language processing tasks. This paper presents a systematic study exploring the use of cross-sentence information for NER using BERT models in five languages. We find that adding context as additional sentences to BERT input systematically increases NER performance. Multiple sentences in input samples allows us to study the predictions of the sentences in different contexts. We propose a straightforward method, Contextual Majority Voting (CMV), to combine these different predictions and demonstrate this to further increase NER performance. Evaluation on established datasets, including the CoNLL’02 and CoNLL’03 NER benchmarks, demonstrates that our proposed approach can improve on the state-of-the-art NER results on English, Dutch, and Finnish, achieves the best reported BERT-based results on German, and is on par with other BERT-based approaches in Spanish. We release all methods implemented in this work under open licenses.

Cross-lingual Annotation Projection in Legal Texts
Andrea Galassi | Kasper Drazewski | Marco Lippi | Paolo Torroni

We study annotation projection in text classification problems where source documents are published in multiple languages and may not be an exact translation of one another. In particular, we focus on the detection of unfair clauses in privacy policies and terms of service. We present the first English-German parallel asymmetric corpus for the task at hand. We study and compare several language-agnostic sentence-level projection methods. Our results indicate that a combination of word embeddings and dynamic time warping performs best.

Deep Learning Framework for Measuring the Digital Strategy of Companies from Earnings Calls
Ahmed Ghanim Al-Ali | Robert Phaal | Donald Sull

Companies today are racing to leverage the latest digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing. However, many companies report that their strategies did not achieve the anticipated business results. This study is the first to apply state-of-the-art NLP models on unstructured data to understand the different clusters of digital strategy patterns that companies are Adopting. We achieve this by ana-lyzing earnings calls from Fortune’s Global 500 companies between 2015 and 2019. We use Transformer-based architecture for text classification which show a better understanding of the conversation context. We then investigate digital strategy patterns by applying clustering analysis. Our findings suggest that Fortune 500 companies use four distinct strategies which are product-led, customer experience-led, service-led, and efficiency-led . This work provides an empirical baseline for companies and researchers to enhance our understanding of the field.

A Dataset and Evaluation Framework for Complex Geographical Description Parsing
Egoitz Laparra | Steven Bethard

Much previous work on geoparsing has focused on identifying and resolving individual toponyms in text like Adrano, S.Maria di Licodia or Catania. However, geographical locations occur not only as individual toponyms, but also as compositions of reference geolocations joined and modified by connectives, e.g., “. . . between the towns of Adrano and S.Maria di Licodia, 32 kilometres northwest of Catania”. Ideally, a geoparser should be able to take such text, and the geographical shapes of the toponyms referenced within it, and parse these into a geographical shape, formed by a set of coordinates, that represents the location described. But creating a dataset for this complex geoparsing task is difficult and, if done manually, would require a huge amount of effort to annotate the geographical shapes of not only the geolocation described but also the reference toponyms. We present an approach that automates most of the process by combining Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. As a result, we have gathered a collection of 360,187 uncurated complex geolocation descriptions, from which we have manually curated 1,000 examples intended to be used as a test set. To accompany the data, we define a new geoparsing evaluation framework along with a scoring methodology and a set of baselines.

DocBank: A Benchmark Dataset for Document Layout Analysis
Minghao Li | Yiheng Xu | Lei Cui | Shaohan Huang | Furu Wei | Zhoujun Li | Ming Zhou

Document layout analysis usually relies on computer vision models to understand documents while ignoring textual information that is vital to capture. Meanwhile, high quality labeled datasets with both visual and textual information are still insufficient. In this paper, we present DocBank, a benchmark dataset that contains 500K document pages with fine-grained token-level annotations for document layout analysis. DocBank is constructed using a simple yet effective way with weak supervision from the LaTeX documents available on the With DocBank, models from different modalities can be compared fairly and multi-modal approaches will be further investigated and boost the performance of document layout analysis. We build several strong baselines and manually split train/dev/test sets for evaluation. Experiment results show that models trained on DocBank accurately recognize the layout information for a variety of documents. The DocBank dataset is publicly available at

Building Large-Scale English and Korean Datasets for Aspect-Level Sentiment Analysis in Automotive Domain
Dongmin Hyun | Junsu Cho | Hwanjo Yu

We release large-scale datasets of users’ comments in two languages, English and Korean, for aspect-level sentiment analysis in automotive domain. The datasets consist of 58,000+ commentaspect pairs, which are the largest compared to existing datasets. In addition, this work covers new language (i.e., Korean) along with English for aspect-level sentiment analysis. We build the datasets from automotive domain to enable users (e.g., marketers in automotive companies) to analyze the voice of customers on automobiles. We also provide baseline performances for future work by evaluating recent models on the released datasets.

A High Precision Pipeline for Financial Knowledge Graph Construction
Sarah Elhammadi | Laks V.S. Lakshmanan | Raymond Ng | Michael Simpson | Baoxing Huai | Zhefeng Wang | Lanjun Wang

Motivated by applications such as question answering, fact checking, and data integration, there is significant interest in constructing knowledge graphs by extracting information from unstructured information sources, particularly text documents. Knowledge graphs have emerged as a standard for structured knowledge representation, whereby entities and their inter-relations are represented and conveniently stored as (subject,predicate,object) triples in a graph that can be used to power various downstream applications. The proliferation of financial news sources reporting on companies, markets, currencies, and stocks presents an opportunity for extracting valuable knowledge about this crucial domain. In this paper, we focus on constructing a knowledge graph automatically by information extraction from a large corpus of financial news articles. For that purpose, we develop a high precision knowledge extraction pipeline tailored for the financial domain. This pipeline combines multiple information extraction techniques with a financial dictionary that we built, all working together to produce over 342,000 compact extractions from over 288,000 financial news articles, with a precision of 78% at the top-100 extractions.The extracted triples are stored in a knowledge graph making them readily available for use in downstream applications.

Financial Sentiment Analysis: An Investigation into Common Mistakes and Silver Bullets
Frank Xing | Lorenzo Malandri | Yue Zhang | Erik Cambria

The recent dominance of machine learning-based natural language processing methods has fostered the culture of overemphasizing model accuracies rather than studying the reasons behind their errors. Interpretability, however, is a critical requirement for many downstream AI and NLP applications, e.g., in finance, healthcare, and autonomous driving. This study, instead of proposing any “new model”, investigates the error patterns of some widely acknowledged sentiment analysis methods in the finance domain. We discover that (1) those methods belonging to the same clusters are prone to similar error patterns, and (2) there are six types of linguistic features that are pervasive in the common errors. These findings provide important clues and practical considerations for improving sentiment analysis models for financial applications.

Answering Legal Questions by Learning Neural Attentive Text Representation
Phi Manh Kien | Ha-Thanh Nguyen | Ngo Xuan Bach | Vu Tran | Minh Le Nguyen | Tu Minh Phuong

Text representation plays a vital role in retrieval-based question answering, especially in the legal domain where documents are usually long and complicated. The better the question and the legal documents are represented, the more accurate they are matched. In this paper, we focus on the task of answering legal questions at the article level. Given a legal question, the goal is to retrieve all the correct and valid legal articles, that can be used as the basic to answer the question. We present a retrieval-based model for the task by learning neural attentive text representation. Our text representation method first leverages convolutional neural networks to extract important information in a question and legal articles. Attention mechanisms are then used to represent the question and articles and select appropriate information to align them in a matching process. Experimental results on an annotated corpus consisting of 5,922 Vietnamese legal questions show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art retrieval-based methods for question answering by large margins in terms of both recall and NDCG.

Joint Transformer/RNN Architecture for Gesture Typing in Indic Languages
Emil Biju | Anirudh Sriram | Mitesh M. Khapra | Pratyush Kumar

Gesture typing is a method of typing words on a touch-based keyboard by creating a continuous trace passing through the relevant keys. This work is aimed at developing a keyboard that supports gesture typing in Indic languages. We begin by noting that when dealing with Indic languages, one needs to cater to two different sets of users: (i) users who prefer to type in the native Indic script (Devanagari, Bengali, etc.) and (ii) users who prefer to type in the English script but want the transliterated output in the native script. In both cases, we need a model that takes a trace as input and maps it to the intended word. To enable the development of these models, we create and release two datasets. First, we create a dataset containing keyboard traces for 193,658 words from 7 Indic languages. Second, we curate 104,412 English-Indic transliteration pairs from Wikidata across these languages. Using these datasets we build a model that performs path decoding, transliteration and transliteration correction. Unlike prior approaches, our proposed model does not make co-character independence assumptions during decoding. The overall accuracy of our model across the 7 languages varies from 70-95%.

Automatic Charge Identification from Facts: A Few Sentence-Level Charge Annotations is All You Need
Shounak Paul | Pawan Goyal | Saptarshi Ghosh

Automatic Charge Identification (ACI) is the task of identifying the relevant charges given the facts of a situation and the statutory laws that define these charges, and is a crucial aspect of the judicial process. Existing works focus on learning charge-side representations by modeling relationships between the charges, but not much effort has been made in improving fact-side representations. We observe that only a small fraction of sentences in the facts actually indicates the charges. We show that by using a very small subset (< 3%) of fact descriptions annotated with sentence-level charges, we can achieve an improvement across a range of different ACI models, as compared to modeling just the main document-level task on a much larger dataset. Additionally, we propose a novel model that utilizes sentence-level charge labels as an auxiliary task, coupled with the main task of document-level charge identification in a multi-task learning framework. The proposed model comprehensively outperforms a large number of recent baselines for ACI. The improvement in performance is particularly noticeable for the rare charges which are known to be especially challenging to identify.

Context-Aware Text Normalisation for Historical Dialects
Maria Sukhareva

Context-aware historical text normalisation is a severely under-researched area. To fill the gap we propose a context-aware normalisation approach that relies on the state-of-the-art methods in neural machine translation and transfer learning. We propose a multidialect normaliser with a context-aware reranking of the candidates. The reranker relies on a word-level n-gram language model that is applied to the five best normalisation candidates. The results are evaluated on the historical multidialect datasets of German, Spanish, Portuguese and Slovene. We show that incorporating dialectal information into the training leads to an accuracy improvement on all the datasets. The context-aware reranking gives further improvement over the baseline. For three out of six datasets, we reach a significantly higher accuracy than reported in the previous studies. The other three results are comparable with the current state-of-the-art. The code for the reranker is published as open-source.

RuSemShift: a dataset of historical lexical semantic change in Russian
Julia Rodina | Andrey Kutuzov

We present RuSemShift, a large-scale manually annotated test set for the task of semantic change modeling in Russian for two long-term time period pairs: from the pre-Soviet through the Soviet times and from the Soviet through the post-Soviet times. Target words were annotated by multiple crowd-source workers. The annotation process was organized following the DURel framework and was based on sentence contexts extracted from the Russian National Corpus. Additionally, we report the performance of several distributional approaches on RuSemShift, achieving promising results, which at the same time leave room for other researchers to improve.

Exploring Amharic Sentiment Analysis from Social Media Texts: Building Annotation Tools and Classification Models
Seid Muhie Yimam | Hizkiel Mitiku Alemayehu | Abinew Ayele | Chris Biemann

This paper presents the study of sentiment analysis for Amharic social media texts. As the number of social media users is ever-increasing, social media platforms would like to understand the latent meaning and sentiments of a text to enhance decision-making procedures. However, low-resource languages such as Amharic have received less attention due to several reasons such as lack of well-annotated datasets, unavailability of computing resources, and fewer or no expert researchers in the area. This research addresses three main research questions. We first explore the suitability of existing tools for the sentiment analysis task. Annotation tools are scarce to support large-scale annotation tasks in Amharic. Also, the existing crowdsourcing platforms do not support Amharic text annotation. Hence, we build a social-network-friendly annotation tool called ‘ASAB’ using the Telegram bot. We collect 9.4k tweets, where each tweet is annotated by three Telegram users. Moreover, we explore the suitability of machine learning approaches for Amharic sentiment analysis. The FLAIR deep learning text classifier, based on network embeddings that are computed from a distributional thesaurus, outperforms other supervised classifiers. We further investigate the challenges in building a sentiment analysis system for Amharic and we found that the widespread usage of sarcasm and figurative speech are the main issues in dealing with the problem. To advance the sentiment analysis research in Amharic and other related low-resource languages, we release the dataset, the annotation tool, source code, and models publicly under a permissive.

Effective Few-Shot Classification with Transfer Learning
Aakriti Gupta | Kapil Thadani | Neil O’Hare

Few-shot learning addresses the the problem of learning based on a small amount of training data. Although more well-studied in the domain of computer vision, recent work has adapted the Amazon Review Sentiment Classification (ARSC) text dataset for use in the few-shot setting. In this work, we use the ARSC dataset to study a simple application of transfer learning approaches to few-shot classification. We train a single binary classifier to learn all few-shot classes jointly by prefixing class identifiers to the input text. Given the text and class, the model then makes a binary prediction for that text/class pair. Our results show that this simple approach can outperform most published results on this dataset. Surprisingly, we also show that including domain information as part of the task definition only leads to a modest improvement in model accuracy, and zero-shot classification, without further fine-tuning on few-shot domains, performs equivalently to few-shot classification. These results suggest that the classes in the ARSC few-shot task, which are defined by the intersection of domain and rating, are actually very similar to each other, and that a more suitable dataset is needed for the study of few-shot text classification.

SWAFN: Sentimental Words Aware Fusion Network for Multimodal Sentiment Analysis
Minping Chen | Xia Li

Multimodal sentiment analysis aims to predict sentiment of language text with the help of other modalities, such as vision and acoustic features. Previous studies focused on learning the joint representation of multiple modalities, ignoring some useful knowledge contained in language modal. In this paper, we try to incorporate sentimental words knowledge into the fusion network to guide the learning of joint representation of multimodal features. Our method consists of two components: shallow fusion part and aggregation part. For the shallow fusion part, we use crossmodal coattention mechanism to obtain bidirectional context information of each two modals to get the fused shallow representations. For the aggregation part, we design a multitask of sentimental words classification to help and guide the deep fusion of the three modalities and obtain the final sentimental words aware fusion representation. We carry out several experiments on CMU-MOSI, CMU-MOSEI and YouTube datasets. The experimental results show that introducing sentimental words prediction as a multitask can really improve the fusion representation of multiple modalities.

Multimodal Topic-Enriched Auxiliary Learning for Depression Detection
Minghui An | Jingjing Wang | Shoushan Li | Guodong Zhou

From the perspective of health psychology, human beings with long-term and sustained negativity are highly possible to be diagnosed with depression. Inspired by this, we argue that the global topic information derived from user-generated contents (e.g., texts and images) is crucial to boost the performance of the depression detection task, though this information has been neglected by almost all previous studies on depression detection. To this end, we propose a new Multimodal Topic-enriched Auxiliary Learning (MTAL) approach, aiming at capturing the topic information inside different modalities (i.e., texts and images) for depression detection. Especially, in our approach, a modality-agnostic topic model is proposed to be capable of mining the topical clues from either the discrete textual signals or the continuous visual signals. On this basis, the topic modeling w.r.t. the two modalities are cast as two auxiliary tasks for improving the performance of the primary task (i.e., depression detection). Finally, the detailed evaluation demonstrates the great advantage of our MTAL approach to depression detection over the state-of-the-art baselines. This justifies the importance of the multimodal topic information to depression detection and the effectiveness of our approach in capturing such information.

Imagining Grounded Conceptual Representations from Perceptual Information in Situated Guessing Games
Alessandro Suglia | Antonio Vergari | Ioannis Konstas | Yonatan Bisk | Emanuele Bastianelli | Andrea Vanzo | Oliver Lemon

In visual guessing games, a Guesser has to identify a target object in a scene by asking questions to an Oracle. An effective strategy for the players is to learn conceptual representations of objects that are both discriminative and expressive enough to ask questions and guess correctly. However, as shown by Suglia et al. (2020), existing models fail to learn truly multi-modal representations, relying instead on gold category labels for objects in the scene both at training and inference time. This provides an unnatural performance advantage when categories at inference time match those at training time, and it causes models to fail in more realistic “zero-shot” scenarios where out-of-domain object categories are involved. To overcome this issue, we introduce a novel “imagination” module based on Regularized Auto-Encoders, that learns context-aware and category-aware latent embeddings without relying on category labels at inference time. Our imagination module outperforms state-of-the-art competitors by 8.26% gameplay accuracy in the CompGuessWhat?! zero-shot scenario (Suglia et al., 2020), and it improves the Oracle and Guesser accuracy by 2.08% and 12.86% in the GuessWhat?! benchmark, when no gold categories are available at inference time. The imagination module also boosts reasoning about object properties and attributes.

Situated and Interactive Multimodal Conversations
Seungwhan Moon | Satwik Kottur | Paul Crook | Ankita De | Shivani Poddar | Theodore Levin | David Whitney | Daniel Difranco | Ahmad Beirami | Eunjoon Cho | Rajen Subba | Alborz Geramifard

Next generation virtual assistants are envisioned to handle multimodal inputs (e.g., vision, memories of previous interactions, and the user’s utterances), and perform multimodal actions (, displaying a route while generating the system’s utterance). We introduce Situated Interactive MultiModal Conversations (SIMMC) as a new direction aimed at training agents that take multimodal actions grounded in a co-evolving multimodal input context in addition to the dialog history. We provide two SIMMC datasets totalling ~13K human-human dialogs (~169K utterances) collected using a multimodal Wizard-of-Oz (WoZ) setup, on two shopping domains: (a) furniture – grounded in a shared virtual environment; and (b) fashion – grounded in an evolving set of images. Datasets include multimodal context of the items appearing in each scene, and contextual NLU, NLG and coreference annotations using a novel and unified framework of SIMMC conversational acts for both user and assistant utterances. Finally, we present several tasks within SIMMC as objective evaluation protocols, such as structural API prediction, response generation, and dialog state tracking. We benchmark a collection of existing models on these SIMMC tasks as strong baselines, and demonstrate rich multimodal conversational interactions. Our data, annotations, and models will be made publicly available.

Meet Changes with Constancy: Learning Invariance in Multi-Source Translation
Jianfeng Liu | Ling Luo | Xiang Ao | Yan Song | Haoran Xu | Jian Ye

Multi-source neural machine translation aims to translate from parallel sources of information (e.g. languages, images, etc.) to a single target language, which has shown better performance than most one-to-one systems. Despite the remarkable success of existing models, they usually neglect the fact that multiple source inputs may have inconsistencies. Such differences might bring noise to the task and limit the performance of existing multi-source NMT approaches due to their indiscriminate usage of input sources for target word predictions. In this paper, we attempt to leverage the potential complementary information among distinct sources and alleviate the occasional conflicts of them. To accomplish that, we propose a source invariance network to learn the invariant information of parallel sources. Such network can be easily integrated with multi-encoder based multi-source NMT methods (e.g. multi-encoder RNN and transformer) to enhance the translation results. Extensive experiments on two multi-source translation tasks demonstrate that the proposed approach not only achieves clear gains in translation quality but also captures implicit invariance between different sources.

Enhancing Neural Models with Vulnerability via Adversarial Attack
Rong Zhang | Qifei Zhou | Bo An | Weiping Li | Tong Mo | Bo Wu

Natural Language Sentence Matching (NLSM) serves as the core of many natural language processing tasks. 1) Most previous work develops a single specific neural model for NLSM tasks. 2) There is no previous work considering adversarial attack to improve the performance of NLSM tasks. 3) Adversarial attack is usually used to generate adversarial samples that can fool neural models. In this paper, we first find a phenomenon that different categories of samples have different vulnerabilities. Vulnerability is the difficulty degree in changing the label of a sample. Considering the phenomenon, we propose a general two-stage training framework to enhance neural models with Vulnerability via Adversarial Attack (VAA). We design criteria to measure the vulnerability which is obtained by adversarial attack. VAA framework can be adapted to various neural models by incorporating the vulnerability. In addition, we prove a theorem and four corollaries to explain the factors influencing vulnerability effectiveness. Experimental results show that VAA significantly improves the performance of neural models on NLSM datasets. The results are also consistent with the theorem and corollaries. The code is released on

R-VGAE: Relational-variational Graph Autoencoder for Unsupervised Prerequisite Chain Learning
Irene Li | Alexander Fabbri | Swapnil Hingmire | Dragomir Radev

The task of concept prerequisite chain learning is to automatically determine the existence of prerequisite relationships among concept pairs. In this paper, we frame learning prerequisite relationships among concepts as an unsupervised task with no access to labeled concept pairs during training. We propose a model called the Relational-Variational Graph AutoEncoder (R-VGAE) to predict concept relations within a graph consisting of concept and resource nodes. Results show that our unsupervised approach outperforms graph-based semi-supervised methods and other baseline methods by up to 9.77% and 10.47% in terms of prerequisite relation prediction accuracy and F1 score. Our method is notably the first graph-based model that attempts to make use of deep learning representations for the task of unsupervised prerequisite learning. We also expand an existing corpus which totals 1,717 English Natural Language Processing (NLP)-related lecture slide files and manual concept pair annotations over 322 topics.

Fine-tuning BERT for Low-Resource Natural Language Understanding via Active Learning
Daniel Grießhaber | Johannes Maucher | Ngoc Thang Vu

Recently, leveraging pre-trained Transformer based language models in down stream, task specific models has advanced state of the art results in natural language understanding tasks. However, only a little research has explored the suitability of this approach in low resource settings with less than 1,000 training data points. In this work, we explore fine-tuning methods of BERT - a pre-trained Transformer based language model - by utilizing pool-based active learning to speed up training while keeping the cost of labeling new data constant. Our experimental results on the GLUE data set show an advantage in model performance by maximizing the approximate knowledge gain of the model when querying from the pool of unlabeled data. Finally, we demonstrate and analyze the benefits of freezing layers of the language model during fine-tuning to reduce the number of trainable parameters, making it more suitable for low-resource settings.

Exploring End-to-End Differentiable Natural Logic Modeling
Yufei Feng | Zi’ou Zheng | Quan Liu | Michael Greenspan | Xiaodan Zhu

We explore end-to-end trained differentiable models that integrate natural logic with neural networks, aiming to keep the backbone of natural language reasoning based on the natural logic formalism while introducing subsymbolic vector representations and neural components. The proposed model adapts module networks to model natural logic operations, which is enhanced with a memory component to model contextual information. Experiments show that the proposed framework can effectively model monotonicity-based reasoning, compared to the baseline neural network models without built-in inductive bias for monotonicity-based reasoning. Our proposed model shows to be robust when transferred from upward to downward inference. We perform further analyses on the performance of the proposed model on aggregation, showing the effectiveness of the proposed subcomponents on helping achieve better intermediate aggregation performance.

A Semantically Consistent and Syntactically Variational Encoder-Decoder Framework for Paraphrase Generation
Wenqing Chen | Jidong Tian | Liqiang Xiao | Hao He | Yaohui Jin

Paraphrase generation aims to generate semantically consistent sentences with different syntactic realizations. Most of the recent studies rely on the typical encoder-decoder framework where the generation process is deterministic. However, in practice, the ability to generate multiple syntactically different paraphrases is important. Recent work proposed to cooperate variational inference on a target-related latent variable to introduce the diversity. But the latent variable may be contaminated by the semantic information of other unrelated sentences, and in turn, change the conveyed meaning of generated paraphrases. In this paper, we propose a semantically consistent and syntactically variational encoder-decoder framework, which uses adversarial learning to ensure the syntactic latent variable be semantic-free. Moreover, we adopt another discriminator to improve the word-level and sentence-level semantic consistency. So the proposed framework can generate multiple semantically consistent and syntactically different paraphrases. The experiments show that our model outperforms the baseline models on the metrics based on both n-gram matching and semantic similarity, and our model can generate multiple different paraphrases by assembling different syntactic variables.

Tiny Word Embeddings Using Globally Informed Reconstruction
Sora Ohashi | Mao Isogawa | Tomoyuki Kajiwara | Yuki Arase

We reduce the model size of pre-trained word embeddings by a factor of 200 while preserving its quality. Previous studies in this direction created a smaller word embedding model by reconstructing pre-trained word representations from those of subwords, which allows to store only a smaller number of subword embeddings in the memory. However, previous studies that train the reconstruction models using only target words cannot reduce the model size extremely while preserving its quality. Inspired by the observation of words with similar meanings having similar embeddings, our reconstruction training learns the global relationships among words, which can be employed in various models for word embedding reconstruction. Experimental results on word similarity benchmarks show that the proposed method improves the performance of the all subword-based reconstruction models.

Improving Word Embeddings through Iterative Refinement of Word- and Character-level Models
Phong Ha | Shanshan Zhang | Nemanja Djuric | Slobodan Vucetic

Embedding of rare and out-of-vocabulary (OOV) words is an important open NLP problem. A popular solution is to train a character-level neural network to reproduce the embeddings from a standard word embedding model. The trained network is then used to assign vectors to any input string, including OOV and rare words. We enhance this approach and introduce an algorithm that iteratively refines and improves both word- and character-level models. We demonstrate that our method outperforms the existing algorithms on 5 word similarity data sets, and that it can be successfully applied to job title normalization, an important problem in the e-recruitment domain that suffers from the OOV problem.

Probing Multilingual BERT for Genetic and Typological Signals
Taraka Rama | Lisa Beinborn | Steffen Eger

We probe the layers in multilingual BERT (mBERT) for phylogenetic and geographic language signals across 100 languages and compute language distances based on the mBERT representations. We 1) employ the language distances to infer and evaluate language trees, finding that they are close to the reference family tree in terms of quartet tree distance, 2) perform distance matrix regression analysis, finding that the language distances can be best explained by phylogenetic and worst by structural factors and 3) present a novel measure for measuring diachronic meaning stability (based on cross-lingual representation variability) which correlates significantly with published ranked lists based on linguistic approaches. Our results contribute to the nascent field of typological interpretability of cross-lingual text representations.

Learning Efficient Task-Specific Meta-Embeddings with Word Prisms
Jingyi He | Kc Tsiolis | Kian Kenyon-Dean | Jackie Chi Kit Cheung

Word embeddings are trained to predict word cooccurrence statistics, which leads them to possess different lexical properties (syntactic, semantic, etc.) depending on the notion of context defined at training time. These properties manifest when querying the embedding space for the most similar vectors, and when used at the input layer of deep neural networks trained to solve downstream NLP problems. Meta-embeddings combine multiple sets of differently trained word embeddings, and have been shown to successfully improve intrinsic and extrinsic performance over equivalent models which use just one set of source embeddings. We introduce word prisms: a simple and efficient meta-embedding method that learns to combine source embeddings according to the task at hand. Word prisms learn orthogonal transformations to linearly combine the input source embeddings, which allows them to be very efficient at inference time. We evaluate word prisms in comparison to other meta-embedding methods on six extrinsic evaluations and observe that word prisms offer improvements in performance on all tasks.

Always Keep your Target in Mind: Studying Semantics and Improving Performance of Neural Lexical Substitution
Nikolay Arefyev | Boris Sheludko | Alexander Podolskiy | Alexander Panchenko

Lexical substitution, i.e. generation of plausible words that can replace a particular target word in a given context, is an extremely powerful technology that can be used as a backbone of various NLP applications, including word sense induction and disambiguation, lexical relation extraction, data augmentation, etc. In this paper, we present a large-scale comparative study of lexical substitution methods employing both rather old and most recent language and masked language models (LMs and MLMs), such as context2vec, ELMo, BERT, RoBERTa, XLNet. We show that already competitive results achieved by SOTA LMs/MLMs can be further substantially improved if information about the target word is injected properly. Several existing and new target word injection methods are compared for each LM/MLM using both intrinsic evaluation on lexical substitution datasets and extrinsic evaluation on word sense induction (WSI) datasets. On two WSI datasets we obtain new SOTA results. Besides, we analyze the types of semantic relations between target words and their substitutes generated by different models or given by annotators.

Word Embedding Binarization with Semantic Information Preservation
Samarth Navali | Praneet Sherki | Ramesh Inturi | Vanraj Vala

With growing applications of Machine Learning in daily lives Natural Language Processing (NLP) has emerged as a heavily researched area. Finding its applications in tasks ranging from simple Q/A chatbots to Fully fledged conversational AI, NLP models are vital. Word and Sentence embedding are one of the most common starting points of any NLP task. A word embedding represents a given word in a predefined vector-space while maintaining vector relations with similar or dis-similar entities. As such different pretrained embedding such as Word2Vec, GloVe, fasttext have been developed. These embedding generated on millions of words are however very large in terms of size. Having embedding with floating point precision also makes the downstream evaluation slow. In this paper we present a novel method to convert continuous embedding to its binary representation, thus reducing the overall size of the embedding while keeping the semantic and relational knowledge intact. This will facilitate an option of porting such big embedding onto devices where space is limited. We also present different approaches suitable for different downstream tasks based on the requirement of contextual and semantic information. Experiments have shown comparable result in downstream tasks with 7 to 15 times reduction in file size and about 5 % change in evaluation parameters.

How Relevant Are Selectional Preferences for Transformer-based Language Models?
Eleni Metheniti | Tim Van de Cruys | Nabil Hathout

Selectional preference is defined as the tendency of a predicate to favor particular arguments within a certain linguistic context, and likewise, reject others that result in conflicting or implausible meanings. The stellar success of contextual word embedding models such as BERT in NLP tasks has led many to question whether these models have learned linguistic information, but up till now, most research has focused on syntactic information. We investigate whether Bert contains information on the selectional preferences of words, by examining the probability it assigns to the dependent word given the presence of a head word in a sentence. We are using word pairs of head-dependent words in five different syntactic relations from the SP-10K corpus of selectional preference (Zhang et al., 2019b), in sentences from the ukWaC corpus, and we are calculating the correlation of the plausibility score (from SP-10K) and the model probabilities. Our results show that overall, there is no strong positive or negative correlation in any syntactic relation, but we do find that certain head words have a strong correlation and that masking all words but the head word yields the most positive correlations in most scenarios –which indicates that the semantics of the predicate is indeed an integral and influential factor for the selection of the argument.

Embedding Semantic Taxonomies
Alyssa Lees | Chris Welty | Shubin Zhao | Jacek Korycki | Sara Mc Carthy

A common step in developing an understanding of a vertical domain, e.g. shopping, dining, movies, medicine, etc., is curating a taxonomy of categories specific to the domain. These human created artifacts have been the subject of research in embeddings that attempt to encode aspects of the partial ordering property of taxonomies. We compare Box Embeddings, a natural containment representation of category taxonomies, to partial-order embeddings and a baseline Bayes Net, in the context of representing the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) taxonomy given a set of 300K PubMed articles with subject labels from MeSH. We deeply explore the experimental properties of training box embeddings, including preparation of the training data, sampling ratios and class balance, initialization strategies, and propose a fix to the original box objective. We then present first results in using these techniques for representing a bipartite learning problem (i.e. collaborative filtering) in the presence of taxonomic relations within each partition, inferring disease (anatomical) locations from their use as subject labels in journal articles. Our box model substantially outperforms all baselines for taxonomic reconstruction and bipartite relationship experiments. This performance improvement is observed both in overall accuracy and the weighted spread by true taxonomic depth.

A Retrofitting Model for Incorporating Semantic Relations into Word Embeddings
Sapan Shah | Sreedhar Reddy | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

We present a novel retrofitting model that can leverage relational knowledge available in a knowledge resource to improve word embeddings. The knowledge is captured in terms of relation inequality constraints that compare similarity of related and unrelated entities in the context of an anchor entity. These constraints are used as training data to learn a non-linear transformation function that maps original word vectors to a vector space respecting these constraints. The transformation function is learned in a similarity metric learning setting using Triplet network architecture. We applied our model to synonymy, antonymy and hypernymy relations in WordNet and observed large gains in performance over original distributional models as well as other retrofitting approaches on word similarity task and significant overall improvement on lexical entailment detection task.

Lexical Relation Mining in Neural Word Embeddings
Aishwarya Jadhav | Yifat Amir | Zachary Pardos

Work with neural word embeddings and lexical relations has largely focused on confirmatory experiments which use human-curated examples of semantic and syntactic relations to validate against. In this paper, we explore the degree to which lexical relations, such as those found in popular validation sets, can be derived and extended from a variety of neural embeddings using classical clustering methods. We show that the Word2Vec space of word-pairs (i.e., offset vectors) significantly outperforms other more contemporary methods, even in the presence of a large number of noisy offsets. Moreover, we show that via a simple nearest neighbor approach in the offset space, new examples of known relations can be discovered. Our results speak to the amenability of offset vectors from non-contextual neural embeddings to find semantically coherent clusters. This simple approach has implications for the exploration of emergent regularities and their examples, such as emerging trends on social media and their related posts.

A BERT-based Dual Embedding Model for Chinese Idiom Prediction
Minghuan Tan | Jing Jiang

Chinese idioms are special fixed phrases usually derived from ancient stories, whose meanings are oftentimes highly idiomatic and non-compositional. The Chinese idiom prediction task is to select the correct idiom from a set of candidate idioms given a context with a blank. We propose a BERT-based dual embedding model to encode the contextual words as well as to learn dual embeddings of the idioms. Specifically, we first match the embedding of each candidate idiom with the hidden representation corresponding to the blank in the context. We then match the embedding of each candidate idiom with the hidden representations of all the tokens in the context thorough context pooling. We further propose to use two separate idiom embeddings for the two kinds of matching. Experiments on a recently released Chinese idiom cloze test dataset show that our proposed method performs better than the existing state of the art. Ablation experiments also show that both context pooling and dual embedding contribute to the improvement of performance.

BERT-based Cohesion Analysis of Japanese Texts
Nobuhiro Ueda | Daisuke Kawahara | Sadao Kurohashi

The meaning of natural language text is supported by cohesion among various kinds of entities, including coreference relations, predicate-argument structures, and bridging anaphora relations. However, predicate-argument structures for nominal predicates and bridging anaphora relations have not been studied well, and their analyses have been still very difficult. Recent advances in neural networks, in particular, self training-based language models including BERT (Devlin et al., 2019), have significantly improved many natural language processing tasks, making it possible to dive into the study on analysis of cohesion in the whole text. In this study, we tackle an integrated analysis of cohesion in Japanese texts. Our results significantly outperformed existing studies in each task, especially about 10 to 20 point improvement both for zero anaphora and coreference resolution. Furthermore, we also showed that coreference resolution is different in nature from the other tasks and should be treated specially.

Schema Aware Semantic Reasoning for Interpreting Natural Language Queries in Enterprise Settings
Jaydeep Sen | Tanaya Babtiwale | Kanishk Saxena | Yash Butala | Sumit Bhatia | Karthik Sankaranarayanan

Natural Language Query interfaces allow the end-users to access the desired information without the need to know any specialized query language, data storage, or schema details. Even with the recent advances in NLP research space, the state-of-the-art QA systems fall short of understanding implicit intents of real-world Business Intelligence (BI) queries in enterprise systems, since Natural Language Understanding still remains an AI-hard problem. We posit that deploying ontology reasoning over domain semantics can help in achieving better natural language understanding for QA systems. In this paper, we specifically focus on building a Schema Aware Semantic Reasoning Framework that translates natural language interpretation as a sequence of solvable tasks by an ontology reasoner. We apply our framework on top of an ontology based, state-of-the-art natural language question-answering system ATHENA, and experiment with 4 benchmarks focused on BI queries. Our experimental numbers empirically show that the Schema Aware Semantic Reasoning indeed helps in achieving significantly better results for handling BI queries with an average accuracy improvement of ~30%

Multilingual Irony Detection with Dependency Syntax and Neural Models
Alessandra Teresa Cignarella | Valerio Basile | Manuela Sanguinetti | Cristina Bosco | Paolo Rosso | Farah Benamara

This paper presents an in-depth investigation of the effectiveness of dependency-based syntactic features on the irony detection task in a multilingual perspective (English, Spanish, French and Italian). It focuses on the contribution from syntactic knowledge, exploiting linguistic resources where syntax is annotated according to the Universal Dependencies scheme. Three distinct experimental settings are provided. In the first, a variety of syntactic dependency-based features combined with classical machine learning classifiers are explored. In the second scenario, two well-known types of word embeddings are trained on parsed data and tested against gold standard datasets. In the third setting, dependency-based syntactic features are combined into the Multilingual BERT architecture. The results suggest that fine-grained dependency-based syntactic information is informative for the detection of irony.

What Can We Learn from Noun Substitutions in Revision Histories?
Talita Anthonio | Michael Roth

In community-edited resources such as wikiHow, sentences are subject to revisions on a daily basis. Recent work has shown that resulting improvements over time can be modelled computationally, assuming that each revision contributes to the improvement. We take a closer look at a subset of such revisions, for which we attempt to improve a computational model and validate in how far the assumption that ‘revised means better’ actually holds. The subset of revisions considered here are noun substitutions, which often involve interesting semantic relations, including synonymy, antonymy and hypernymy. Despite the high semantic relatedness, we find that a supervised classifier can distinguish the revised version of a sentence from an original version with an accuracy close to 70%, when taking context into account. In a human annotation study, we observe that annotators identify the revised sentence as the ‘better version’ with similar performance. Our analysis reveals a fair agreement among annotators when a revision improves fluency. In contrast, noun substitutions that involve other lexical-semantic relationships are often perceived as being equally good or tend to cause disagreements. While these findings are also reflected in classification scores, a comparison of results shows that our model fails in cases where humans can resort to factual knowledge or intuitions about the required level of specificity.

Specializing Unsupervised Pretraining Models for Word-Level Semantic Similarity
Anne Lauscher | Ivan Vulić | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Anna Korhonen | Goran Glavaš

Unsupervised pretraining models have been shown to facilitate a wide range of downstream NLP applications. These models, however, retain some of the limitations of traditional static word embeddings. In particular, they encode only the distributional knowledge available in raw text corpora, incorporated through language modeling objectives. In this work, we complement such distributional knowledge with external lexical knowledge, that is, we integrate the discrete knowledge on word-level semantic similarity into pretraining. To this end, we generalize the standard BERT model to a multi-task learning setting where we couple BERT’s masked language modeling and next sentence prediction objectives with an auxiliary task of binary word relation classification. Our experiments suggest that our “Lexically Informed” BERT (LIBERT), specialized for the word-level semantic similarity, yields better performance than the lexically blind “vanilla” BERT on several language understanding tasks. Concretely, LIBERT outperforms BERT in 9 out of 10 tasks of the GLUE benchmark and is on a par with BERT in the remaining one. Moreover, we show consistent gains on 3 benchmarks for lexical simplification, a task where knowledge about word-level semantic similarity is paramount, as well as large gains on lexical reasoning probes.

Harnessing Cross-lingual Features to Improve Cognate Detection for Low-resource Languages
Diptesh Kanojia | Raj Dabre | Shubham Dewangan | Pushpak Bhattacharyya | Gholamreza Haffari | Malhar Kulkarni

Cognates are variants of the same lexical form across different languages; for example “fonema” in Spanish and “phoneme” in English are cognates, both of which mean “a unit of sound”. The task of automatic detection of cognates among any two languages can help downstream NLP tasks such as Cross-lingual Information Retrieval, Computational Phylogenetics, and Machine Translation. In this paper, we demonstrate the use of cross-lingual word embeddings for detecting cognates among fourteen Indian Languages. Our approach introduces the use of context from a knowledge graph to generate improved feature representations for cognate detection. We, then, evaluate the impact of our cognate detection mechanism on neural machine translation (NMT), as a downstream task. We evaluate our methods to detect cognates on a challenging dataset of twelve Indian languages, namely, Sanskrit, Hindi, Assamese, Oriya, Kannada, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, and Malayalam. Additionally, we create evaluation datasets for two more Indian languages, Konkani and Nepali. We observe an improvement of up to 18% points, in terms of F-score, for cognate detection. Furthermore, we observe that cognates extracted using our method help improve NMT quality by up to 2.76 BLEU. We also release our code, newly constructed datasets and cross-lingual models publicly.

Bridging the Gap in Multilingual Semantic Role Labeling: a Language-Agnostic Approach
Simone Conia | Roberto Navigli

Recent research indicates that taking advantage of complex syntactic features leads to favorable results in Semantic Role Labeling. Nonetheless, an analysis of the latest state-of-the-art multilingual systems reveals the difficulty of bridging the wide gap in performance between high-resource (e.g., English) and low-resource (e.g., German) settings. To overcome this issue, we propose a fully language-agnostic model that does away with morphological and syntactic features to achieve robustness across languages. Our approach outperforms the state of the art in all the languages of the CoNLL-2009 benchmark dataset, especially whenever a scarce amount of training data is available. Our objective is not to reject approaches that rely on syntax, rather to set a strong and consistent language-independent baseline for future innovations in Semantic Role Labeling. We release our model code and checkpoints at

On the Helpfulness of Document Context to Sentence Simplification
Renliang Sun | Zhe Lin | Xiaojun Wan

Most of the research on text simplification is limited to sentence level nowadays. In this paper, we are the first to investigate the helpfulness of document context on sentence simplification and apply it to the sequence-to-sequence model. We firstly construct a sentence simplification dataset in which the contexts for the original sentence are provided by Wikipedia corpus. The new dataset contains approximately 116K sentence pairs with context. We then propose a new model that makes full use of the context information. Our model uses neural networks to learn the different effects of the preceding sentences and the following sentences on the current sentence and applies them to the improved transformer model. Evaluated on the newly constructed dataset, our model achieves 36.52 on SARI value, which outperforms the best performing model in the baselines by 2.46 (7.22%), indicating that context indeed helps improve sentence simplification. In the ablation experiment, we show that using either the preceding sentences or the following sentences as context can significantly improve simplification.

AutoMeTS: The Autocomplete for Medical Text Simplification
Hoang Van | David Kauchak | Gondy Leroy

The goal of text simplification (TS) is to transform difficult text into a version that is easier to understand and more broadly accessible to a wide variety of readers. In some domains, such as healthcare, fully automated approaches cannot be used since information must be accurately preserved. Instead, semi-automated approaches can be used that assist a human writer in simplifying text faster and at a higher quality. In this paper, we examine the application of autocomplete to text simplification in the medical domain. We introduce a new parallel medical data set consisting of aligned English Wikipedia with Simple English Wikipedia sentences and examine the application of pretrained neural language models (PNLMs) on this dataset. We compare four PNLMs (BERT, RoBERTa, XLNet, and GPT-2), and show how the additional context of the sentence to be simplified can be incorporated to achieve better results (6.17% absolute improvement over the best individual model). We also introduce an ensemble model that combines the four PNLMs and outperforms the best individual model by 2.1%, resulting in an overall word prediction accuracy of 64.52%.

Multi-Word Lexical Simplification
Piotr Przybyła | Matthew Shardlow

In this work we propose the task of multi-word lexical simplification, in which a sentence in natural language is made easier to understand by replacing its fragment with a simpler alternative, both of which can consist of many words. In order to explore this new direction, we contribute a corpus (MWLS1), including 1462 sentences in English from various sources with 7059 simplifications provided by human annotators. We also propose an automatic solution (Plainifier) based on a purpose-trained neural language model and evaluate its performance, comparing to human and resource-based baselines.

Exploring the zero-shot limit of FewRel
Alberto Cetoli

This paper proposes a general purpose relation extractor that uses Wikidata descriptions to represent the relation’s surface form. The results are tested on the FewRel 1.0 dataset, which provides an excellent framework for training and evaluating the proposed zero-shot learning system in English. This relation extractor architecture exploits the implicit knowledge of a language model through a question-answering approach.

A Deep Generative Distance-Based Classifier for Out-of-Domain Detection with Mahalanobis Space
Hong Xu | Keqing He | Yuanmeng Yan | Sihong Liu | Zijun Liu | Weiran Xu

Detecting out-of-domain (OOD) input intents is critical in the task-oriented dialog system. Different from most existing methods that rely heavily on manually labeled OOD samples, we focus on the unsupervised OOD detection scenario where there are no labeled OOD samples except for labeled in-domain data. In this paper, we propose a simple but strong generative distance-based classifier to detect OOD samples. We estimate the class-conditional distribution on feature spaces of DNNs via Gaussian discriminant analysis (GDA) to avoid over-confidence problems. And we use two distance functions, Euclidean and Mahalanobis distances, to measure the confidence score of whether a test sample belongs to OOD. Experiments on four benchmark datasets show that our method can consistently outperform the baselines.

Contrastive Zero-Shot Learning for Cross-Domain Slot Filling with Adversarial Attack
Keqing He | Jinchao Zhang | Yuanmeng Yan | Weiran Xu | Cheng Niu | Jie Zhou

Zero-shot slot filling has widely arisen to cope with data scarcity in target domains. However, previous approaches often ignore constraints between slot value representation and related slot description representation in the latent space and lack enough model robustness. In this paper, we propose a Contrastive Zero-Shot Learning with Adversarial Attack (CZSL-Adv) method for the cross-domain slot filling. The contrastive loss aims to map slot value contextual representations to the corresponding slot description representations. And we introduce an adversarial attack training strategy to improve model robustness. Experimental results show that our model significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines under both zero-shot and few-shot settings.

DoLFIn: Distributions over Latent Features for Interpretability
Phong Le | Willem Zuidema

Interpreting the inner workings of neural models is a key step in ensuring the robustness and trustworthiness of the models, but work on neural network interpretability typically faces a trade-off: either the models are too constrained to be very useful, or the solutions found by the models are too complex to interpret. We propose a novel strategy for achieving interpretability that – in our experiments – avoids this trade-off. Our approach builds on the success of using probability as the central quantity, such as for instance within the attention mechanism. In our architecture, DoLFIn (Distributions over Latent Features for Interpretability), we do no determine beforehand what each feature represents, and features go altogether into an unordered set. Each feature has an associated probability ranging from 0 to 1, weighing its importance for further processing. We show that, unlike attention and saliency map approaches, this set-up makes it straight-forward to compute the probability with which an input component supports the decision the neural model makes. To demonstrate the usefulness of the approach, we apply DoLFIn to text classification, and show that DoLFIn not only provides interpretable solutions, but even slightly outperforms the classical CNN and BiLSTM text classifiers on the SST2 and AG-news datasets.

Contextual Argument Component Classification for Class Discussions
Luca Lugini | Diane Litman

Argument mining systems often consider contextual information, i.e. information outside of an argumentative discourse unit, when trained to accomplish tasks such as argument component identification, classification, and relation extraction. However, prior work has not carefully analyzed the utility of different contextual properties in context-aware models. In this work, we show how two different types of contextual information, local discourse context and speaker context, can be incorporated into a computational model for classifying argument components in multi-party classroom discussions. We find that both context types can improve performance, although the improvements are dependent on context size and position.

On the Practical Ability of Recurrent Neural Networks to Recognize Hierarchical Languages
Satwik Bhattamishra | Kabir Ahuja | Navin Goyal

While recurrent models have been effective in NLP tasks, their performance on context-free languages (CFLs) has been found to be quite weak. Given that CFLs are believed to capture important phenomena such as hierarchical structure in natural languages, this discrepancy in performance calls for an explanation. We study the performance of recurrent models on Dyck-n languages, a particularly important and well-studied class of CFLs. We find that while recurrent models generalize nearly perfectly if the lengths of the training and test strings are from the same range, they perform poorly if the test strings are longer. At the same time, we observe that RNNs are expressive enough to recognize Dyck words of arbitrary lengths in finite precision if their depths are bounded. Hence, we evaluate our models on samples generated from Dyck languages with bounded depth and find that they are indeed able to generalize to much higher lengths. Since natural language datasets have nested dependencies of bounded depth, this may help explain why they perform well in modeling hierarchical dependencies in natural language data despite prior works indicating poor generalization performance on Dyck languages. We perform probing studies to support our results and provide comparisons with Transformers.

Pre-trained Language Model Based Active Learning for Sentence Matching
Guirong Bai | Shizhu He | Kang Liu | Jun Zhao | Zaiqing Nie

Active learning is able to significantly reduce the annotation cost for data-driven techniques. However, previous active learning approaches for natural language processing mainly depend on the entropy-based uncertainty criterion, and ignore the characteristics of natural language. In this paper, we propose a pre-trained language model based active learning approach for sentence matching. Differing from previous active learning, it can provide linguistic criteria from the pre-trained language model to measure instances and help select more effective instances for annotation. Experiments demonstrate our approach can achieve greater accuracy with fewer labeled training instances.

Event-Guided Denoising for Multilingual Relation Learning
Amith Ananthram | Emily Allaway | Kathleen McKeown

General purpose relation extraction has recently seen considerable gains in part due to a massively data-intensive distant supervision technique from Soares et al. (2019) that produces state-of-the-art results across many benchmarks. In this work, we present a methodology for collecting high quality training data for relation extraction from unlabeled text that achieves a near-recreation of their zero-shot and few-shot results at a fraction of the training cost. Our approach exploits the predictable distributional structure of date-marked news articles to build a denoised corpus – the extraction process filters out low quality examples. We show that a smaller multilingual encoder trained on this corpus performs comparably to the current state-of-the-art (when both receive little to no fine-tuning) on few-shot and standard relation benchmarks in English and Spanish despite using many fewer examples (50k vs. 300mil+).

Using a Penalty-based Loss Re-estimation Method to Improve Implicit Discourse Relation Classification
Xiao Li | Yu Hong | Huibin Ruan | Zhen Huang

We tackle implicit discourse relation classification, a task of automatically determining semantic relationships between arguments. The attention-worthy words in arguments are crucial clues for classifying the discourse relations. Attention mechanisms have been proven effective in highlighting the attention-worthy words during encoding. However, our survey shows that some inessential words are unintentionally misjudged as the attention-worthy words and, therefore, assigned heavier attention weights than should be. We propose a penalty-based loss re-estimation method to regulate the attention learning process, integrating penalty coefficients into the computation of loss by means of overstability of attention weight distributions. We conduct experiments on the Penn Discourse TreeBank (PDTB) corpus. The test results show that our loss re-estimation method leads to substantial improvements for a variety of attention mechanisms, and it obtains highly competitive performance compared to the state-of-the-art methods.

A Review of Dataset and Labeling Methods for Causality Extraction
Jinghang Xu | Wanli Zuo | Shining Liang | Xianglin Zuo

Causality represents the most important kind of correlation between events. Extracting causali-ty from text has become a promising hot topic in NLP. However, there is no mature research systems and datasets for public evaluation. Moreover, there is a lack of unified causal sequence label methods, which constitute the key factors that hinder the progress of causality extraction research. We survey the limitations and shortcomings of existing causality research field com-prehensively from the aspects of basic concepts, extraction methods, experimental data, and la-bel methods, so as to provide reference for future research on causality extraction. We summa-rize the existing causality datasets, explore their practicability and extensibility from multiple perspectives and create a new causal dataset ESC. Aiming at the problem of causal sequence labeling, we analyse the existing methods with a summarization of its regulation and propose a new causal label method of core word. Multiple candidate causal label sequences are put for-ward according to label controversy to explore the optimal label method through experiments, and suggestions are provided for selecting label method.

Knowledge Graph Embedding with Atrous Convolution and Residual Learning
Feiliang Ren | Juchen Li | Huihui Zhang | Shilei Liu | Bochao Li | Ruicheng Ming | Yujia Bai

Knowledge graph embedding is an important task and it will benefit lots of downstream applications. Currently, deep neural networks based methods achieve state-of-the-art performance. However, most of these existing methods are very complex and need much time for training and inference. To address this issue, we propose a simple but effective atrous convolution based knowledge graph embedding method. Compared with existing state-of-the-art methods, our method has following main characteristics. First, it effectively increases feature interactions by using atrous convolutions. Second, to address the original information forgotten issue and vanishing/exploding gradient issue, it uses the residual learning method. Third, it has simpler structure but much higher parameter efficiency. We evaluate our method on six benchmark datasets with different evaluation metrics. Extensive experiments show that our model is very effective. On these diverse datasets, it achieves better results than the compared state-of-the-art methods on most of evaluation metrics. The source codes of our model could be found at

KnowDis: Knowledge Enhanced Data Augmentation for Event Causality Detection via Distant Supervision
Xinyu Zuo | Yubo Chen | Kang Liu | Jun Zhao

Modern models of event causality detection (ECD) are mainly based on supervised learning from small hand-labeled corpora. However, hand-labeled training data is expensive to produce, low coverage of causal expressions, and limited in size, which makes supervised methods hard to detect causal relations between events. To solve this data lacking problem, we investigate a data augmentation framework for ECD, dubbed as Knowledge Enhanced Distant Data Augmentation (KnowDis). Experimental results on two benchmark datasets EventStoryLine corpus and Causal-TimeBank show that 1) KnowDis can augment available training data assisted with the lexical and causal commonsense knowledge for ECD via distant supervision, and 2) our method outperforms previous methods by a large margin assisted with automatically labeled training data.

Graph Enhanced Dual Attention Network for Document-Level Relation Extraction
Bo Li | Wei Ye | Zhonghao Sheng | Rui Xie | Xiangyu Xi | Shikun Zhang

Document-level relation extraction requires inter-sentence reasoning capabilities to capture local and global contextual information for multiple relational facts. To improve inter-sentence reasoning, we propose to characterize the complex interaction between sentences and potential relation instances via a Graph Enhanced Dual Attention network (GEDA). In GEDA, sentence representation generated by the sentence-to-relation (S2R) attention is refined and synthesized by a Heterogeneous Graph Convolutional Network before being fed into the relation-to-sentence (R2S) attention . We further design a simple yet effective regularizer based on the natural duality of the S2R and R2S attention, whose weights are also supervised by the supporting evidence of relation instances during training. An extensive set of experiments on an existing large-scale dataset show that our model achieve competitive performance, especially for the inter-sentence relation extraction, while the neural predictions can also be interpretable and easily observed.

Joint Entity and Relation Extraction for Legal Documents with Legal Feature Enhancement
Yanguang Chen | Yuanyuan Sun | Zhihao Yang | Hongfei Lin

In recent years, the plentiful information contained in Chinese legal documents has attracted a great deal of attention because of the large-scale release of the judgment documents on China Judgments Online. It is in great need of enabling machines to understand the semantic information stored in the documents which are transcribed in the form of natural language. The technique of information extraction provides a way of mining the valuable information implied in the unstructured judgment documents. We propose a Legal Triplet Extraction System for drug-related criminal judgment documents. The system extracts the entities and the semantic relations jointly and benefits from the proposed legal lexicon feature and multi-task learning framework. Furthermore, we manually annotate a dataset for Named Entity Recognition and Relation Extraction in Chinese legal domain, which contributes to training supervised triplet extraction models and evaluating the model performance. Our experimental results show that the legal feature introduction and multi-task learning framework are feasible and effective for the Legal Triplet Extraction System. The F1 score of triplet extraction finally reaches 0.836 on the legal dataset.

TPLinker: Single-stage Joint Extraction of Entities and Relations Through Token Pair Linking
Yucheng Wang | Bowen Yu | Yueyang Zhang | Tingwen Liu | Hongsong Zhu | Limin Sun

Extracting entities and relations from unstructured text has attracted increasing attention in recent years but remains challenging, due to the intrinsic difficulty in identifying overlapping relations with shared entities. Prior works show that joint learning can result in a noticeable performance gain. However, they usually involve sequential interrelated steps and suffer from the problem of exposure bias. At training time, they predict with the ground truth conditions while at inference it has to make extraction from scratch. This discrepancy leads to error accumulation. To mitigate the issue, we propose in this paper a one-stage joint extraction model, namely, TPLinker, which is capable of discovering overlapping relations sharing one or both entities while being immune from the exposure bias. TPLinker formulates joint extraction as a token pair linking problem and introduces a novel handshaking tagging scheme that aligns the boundary tokens of entity pairs under each relation type. Experiment results show that TPLinker performs significantly better on overlapping and multiple relation extraction, and achieves state-of-the-art performance on two public datasets.

TeRo: A Time-aware Knowledge Graph Embedding via Temporal Rotation
Chengjin Xu | Mojtaba Nayyeri | Fouad Alkhoury | Hamed Shariat Yazdi | Jens Lehmann

In the last few years, there has been a surge of interest in learning representations of entities and relations in knowledge graph (KG). However, the recent availability of temporal knowledge graphs (TKGs) that contain time information for each fact created the need for reasoning over time in such TKGs. In this regard, we present a new approach of TKG embedding, TeRo, which defines the temporal evolution of entity embedding as a rotation from the initial time to the current time in the complex vector space. Specially, for facts involving time intervals, each relation is represented as a pair of dual complex embeddings to handle the beginning and the end of the relation, respectively. We show our proposed model overcomes the limitations of the existing KG embedding models and TKG embedding models and has the ability of learning and inferring various relation patterns over time. Experimental results on three different TKGs show that TeRo significantly outperforms existing state-of-the-art models for link prediction. In addition, we analyze the effect of time granularity on link prediction over TKGs, which as far as we know has not been investigated in previous literature.

Meta-Information Guided Meta-Learning for Few-Shot Relation Classification
Bowen Dong | Yuan Yao | Ruobing Xie | Tianyu Gao | Xu Han | Zhiyuan Liu | Fen Lin | Leyu Lin | Maosong Sun

Few-shot classification requires classifiers to adapt to new classes with only a few training instances. State-of-the-art meta-learning approaches such as MAML learn how to initialize and fast adapt parameters from limited instances, which have shown promising results in few-shot classification. However, existing meta-learning models solely rely on implicit instance-based statistics, and thus suffer from instance unreliability and weak interpretability. To solve this problem, we propose a novel meta-information guided meta-learning (MIML) framework, where semantic concepts of classes provide strong guidance for meta-learning in both initialization and adaptation. In effect, our model can establish connections between instance-based information and semantic-based information, which enables more effective initialization and faster adaptation. Comprehensive experimental results on few-shot relation classification demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework. Notably, MIML achieves comparable or superior performance to humans with only one shot on FewRel evaluation.

Unsupervised Deep Language and Dialect Identification for Short Texts
Koustava Goswami | Rajdeep Sarkar | Bharathi Raja Chakravarthi | Theodorus Fransen | John P. McCrae

Automatic Language Identification (LI) or Dialect Identification (DI) of short texts of closely related languages or dialects, is one of the primary steps in many natural language processing pipelines. Language identification is considered a solved task in many cases; however, in the case of very closely related languages, or in an unsupervised scenario (where the languages are not known in advance), performance is still poor. In this paper, we propose the Unsupervised Deep Language and Dialect Identification (UDLDI) method, which can simultaneously learn sentence embeddings and cluster assignments from short texts. The UDLDI model understands the sentence constructions of languages by applying attention to character relations which helps to optimize the clustering of languages. We have performed our experiments on three short-text datasets for different language families, each consisting of closely related languages or dialects, with very minimal training sets. Our experimental evaluations on these datasets have shown significant improvement over state-of-the-art unsupervised methods and our model has outperformed state-of-the-art LI and DI systems in supervised settings.

A Two-phase Prototypical Network Model for Incremental Few-shot Relation Classification
Haopeng Ren | Yi Cai | Xiaofeng Chen | Guohua Wang | Qing Li

Relation Classification (RC) plays an important role in natural language processing (NLP). Current conventional supervised and distantly supervised RC models always make a closed-world assumption which ignores the emergence of novel relations in open environment. To incrementally recognize the novel relations, current two solutions (i.e, re-training and lifelong learning) are designed but suffer from the lack of large-scale labeled data for novel relations. Meanwhile, prototypical network enjoys better performance on both fields of deep supervised learning and few-shot learning. However, it still suffers from the incompatible feature embedding problem when the novel relations come in. Motivated by them, we propose a two-phase prototypical network with prototype attention alignment and triplet loss to dynamically recognize the novel relations with a few support instances meanwhile without catastrophic forgetting. Extensive experiments are conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed model.

Document-level Relation Extraction with Dual-tier Heterogeneous Graph
Zhenyu Zhang | Bowen Yu | Xiaobo Shu | Tingwen Liu | Hengzhu Tang | Wang Yubin | Li Guo

Document-level relation extraction (RE) poses new challenges over its sentence-level counterpart since it requires an adequate comprehension of the whole document and the multi-hop reasoning ability across multiple sentences to reach the final result. In this paper, we propose a novel graph-based model with Dual-tier Heterogeneous Graph (DHG) for document-level RE. In particular, DHG is composed of a structure modeling layer followed by a relation reasoning layer. The major advantage is that it is capable of not only capturing both the sequential and structural information of documents but also mixing them together to benefit for multi-hop reasoning and final decision-making. Furthermore, we employ Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) based message propagation strategy to accumulate information on DHG. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance on two widely used datasets, and further analyses suggest that all the modules in our model are indispensable for document-level RE.

Biased TextRank: Unsupervised Graph-Based Content Extraction
Ashkan Kazemi | Verónica Pérez-Rosas | Rada Mihalcea

We introduce Biased TextRank, a graph-based content extraction method inspired by the popular TextRank algorithm that ranks text spans according to their importance for language processing tasks and according to their relevance to an input “focus.” Biased TextRank enables focused content extraction for text by modifying the random restarts in the execution of TextRank. The random restart probabilities are assigned based on the relevance of the graph nodes to the focus of the task. We present two applications of Biased TextRank: focused summarization and explanation extraction, and show that our algorithm leads to improved performance on two different datasets by significant ROUGE-N score margins. Much like its predecessor, Biased TextRank is unsupervised, easy to implement and orders of magnitude faster and lighter than current state-of-the-art Natural Language Processing methods for similar tasks.

Improving Long-Tail Relation Extraction with Collaborating Relation-Augmented Attention
Yang Li | Tao Shen | Guodong Long | Jing Jiang | Tianyi Zhou | Chengqi Zhang

Wrong labeling problem and long-tail relations are two main challenges caused by distant supervision in relation extraction. Recent works alleviate the wrong labeling by selective attention via multi-instance learning, but cannot well handle long-tail relations even if hierarchies of the relations are introduced to share knowledge. In this work, we propose a novel neural network, Collaborating Relation-augmented Attention (CoRA), to handle both the wrong labeling and long-tail relations. Particularly, we first propose relation-augmented attention network as base model. It operates on sentence bag with a sentence-to-relation attention to minimize the effect of wrong labeling. Then, facilitated by the proposed base model, we introduce collaborating relation features shared among relations in the hierarchies to promote the relation-augmenting process and balance the training data for long-tail relations. Besides the main training objective to predict the relation of a sentence bag, an auxiliary objective is utilized to guide the relation-augmenting process for a more accurate bag-level representation. In the experiments on the popular benchmark dataset NYT, the proposed CoRA improves the prior state-of-the-art performance by a large margin in terms of Precision@N, AUC and Hits@K. Further analyses verify its superior capability in handling long-tail relations in contrast to the competitors.

ToHRE: A Top-Down Classification Strategy with Hierarchical Bag Representation for Distantly Supervised Relation Extraction
Erxin Yu | Wenjuan Han | Yuan Tian | Yi Chang

Distantly Supervised Relation Extraction (DSRE) has proven to be effective to find relational facts from texts, but it still suffers from two main problems: the wrong labeling problem and the long-tail problem. Most of the existing approaches address these two problems through flat classification, which lacks hierarchical information of relations. To leverage the informative relation hierarchies, we formulate DSRE as a hierarchical classification task and propose a novel hierarchical classification framework, which extracts the relation in a top-down manner. Specifically, in our proposed framework, 1) we use a hierarchically-refined representation method to achieve hierarchy-specific representation; 2) a top-down classification strategy is introduced instead of training a set of local classifiers. The experiments on NYT dataset demonstrate that our approach significantly outperforms other state-of-the-art approaches, especially for the long-tail problem.

Unsupervised Fact Checking by Counter-Weighted Positive and Negative Evidential Paths in A Knowledge Graph
Jiseong Kim | Key-sun Choi

Misinformation spreads across media, community, and knowledge graphs in the Web by not only human agents but also information extraction algorithms that extract factual statements from unstructured textual data to populate the existing knowledge graphs. Traditional fact checking by experts or crowds is increasingly difficult to keep pace with the volume of newly created misinformation in the Web. Therefore, it is important and necessary to enhance the computational ability to determine whether a given factual statement is truthful or not. We view this problem as a truth scoring task in a knowledge graph. We present a novel rule-based approach that finds positive and negative evidential paths in a knowledge graph for a given factual statement and calculates a truth score for the given statement by unsupervised ensemble of the found positive and negative evidential paths. For example, we can determine the factual statement “United States is the birth place of Barack Obama” as truthful if there is the positive evidential path (Barack Obama, birthPlace, Hawaii) ∧ (Hawaii, country, United States) in a knowledge graph. For another example, we can determine the factual statement “Canada is the nationality of Barack Obama” as untruthful if there is the negative evidential path (Barack Obama, nationality, United States) ∧ (United States, ≠, Canada) in a knowledge graph. For evaluating on a real-world situation, we constructed an evaluation dataset by labeling truth or untruth label on factual statements that were extracted from Wikipedia texts by using the state-of-the-art BERT-based information extraction system. Our evaluation results show that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art unsupervised approaches significantly by up to 0.12 AUC-ROC and even outperforms the supervised approach by up to 0.05 AUC-ROC not only in our dataset but also in the two different standard datasets.

Improving Relation Extraction with Relational Paraphrase Sentences
Junjie Yu | Tong Zhu | Wenliang Chen | Wei Zhang | Min Zhang

Supervised models for Relation Extraction (RE) typically require human-annotated training data. Due to the limited size, the human-annotated data is usually incapable of covering diverse relation expressions, which could limit the performance of RE. To increase the coverage of relation expressions, we may enlarge the labeled data by hiring annotators or applying Distant Supervision (DS). However, the human-annotated data is costly and non-scalable while the distantly supervised data contains many noises. In this paper, we propose an alternative approach to improve RE systems via enriching diverse expressions by relational paraphrase sentences. Based on an existing labeled data, we first automatically build a task-specific paraphrase data. Then, we propose a novel model to learn the information of diverse relation expressions. In our model, we try to capture this information on the paraphrases via a joint learning framework. Finally, we conduct experiments on a widely used dataset and the experimental results show that our approach is effective to improve the performance on relation extraction, even compared with a strong baseline.

Autoencoding Improves Pre-trained Word Embeddings
Masahiro Kaneko | Danushka Bollegala

Prior works investigating the geometry of pre-trained word embeddings have shown that word embeddings to be distributed in a narrow cone and by centering and projecting using principal component vectors one can increase the accuracy of a given set of pre-trained word embeddings. However, theoretically, this post-processing step is equivalent to applying a linear autoencoder to minimize the squared L2 reconstruction error. This result contradicts prior work (Mu and Viswanath, 2018) that proposed to remove the top principal components from pre-trained embeddings. We experimentally verify our theoretical claims and show that retaining the top principal components is indeed useful for improving pre-trained word embeddings, without requiring access to additional linguistic resources or labeled data.

PoD: Positional Dependency-Based Word Embedding for Aspect Term Extraction
Yichun Yin | Chenguang Wang | Ming Zhang

Dependency context-based word embedding jointly learns the representations of word and dependency context, and has been proved effective in aspect term extraction. In this paper, we design the positional dependency-based word embedding (PoD) which considers both dependency context and positional context for aspect term extraction. Specifically, the positional context is modeled via relative position encoding. Besides, we enhance the dependency context by integrating more lexical information (e.g., POS tags) along dependency paths. Experiments on SemEval 2014/2015/2016 datasets show that our approach outperforms other embedding methods in aspect term extraction.

Unequal Representations: Analyzing Intersectional Biases in Word Embeddings Using Representational Similarity Analysis
Michael Lepori

We present a new approach for detecting human-like social biases in word embeddings using representational similarity analysis. Specifically, we probe contextualized and non-contextualized embeddings for evidence of intersectional biases against Black women. We show that these embeddings represent Black women as simultaneously less feminine than White women, and less Black than Black men. This finding aligns with intersectionality theory, which argues that multiple identity categories (such as race or sex) layer on top of each other in order to create unique modes of discrimination that are not shared by any individual category.

Vec2Sent: Probing Sentence Embeddings with Natural Language Generation
Martin Kerscher | Steffen Eger

We introspect black-box sentence embeddings by conditionally generating from them with the objective to retrieve the underlying discrete sentence. We perceive of this as a new unsupervised probing task and show that it correlates well with downstream task performance. We also illustrate how the language generated from different encoders differs. We apply our approach to generate sentence analogies from sentence embeddings.

Multi-Task Learning for Knowledge Graph Completion with Pre-trained Language Models
Bosung Kim | Taesuk Hong | Youngjoong Ko | Jungyun Seo

As research on utilizing human knowledge in natural language processing has attracted considerable attention in recent years, knowledge graph (KG) completion has come into the spotlight. Recently, a new knowledge graph completion method using a pre-trained language model, such as KG-BERT, is presented and showed high performance. However, its scores in ranking metrics such as Hits@k are still behind state-of-the-art models. We claim that there are two main reasons: 1) failure in sufficiently learning relational information in knowledge graphs, and 2) difficulty in picking out the correct answer from lexically similar candidates. In this paper, we propose an effective multi-task learning method to overcome the limitations of previous works. By combining relation prediction and relevance ranking tasks with our target link prediction, the proposed model can learn more relational properties in KGs and properly perform even when lexical similarity occurs. Experimental results show that we not only largely improve the ranking performances compared to KG-BERT but also achieve the state-of-the-art performances in Mean Rank and Hits@10 on the WN18RR dataset.

comp-syn: Perceptually Grounded Word Embeddings with Color
Bhargav Srinivasa Desikan | Tasker Hull | Ethan Nadler | Douglas Guilbeault | Aabir Abubakar Kar | Mark Chu | Donald Ruggiero Lo Sardo

Popular approaches to natural language processing create word embeddings based on textual co-occurrence patterns, but often ignore embodied, sensory aspects of language. Here, we introduce the Python package comp-syn, which provides grounded word embeddings based on the perceptually uniform color distributions of Google Image search results. We demonstrate that comp-syn significantly enriches models of distributional semantics. In particular, we show that(1) comp-syn predicts human judgments of word concreteness with greater accuracy and in a more interpretable fashion than word2vec using low-dimensional word–color embeddings ,and (2) comp-syn performs comparably to word2vec on a metaphorical vs. literal word-pair classification task. comp-syn is open-source on PyPi and is compatible with mainstream machine-learning Python packages. Our package release includes word–color embeddings forover 40,000 English words, each associated with crowd-sourced word concreteness judgments.

Try to Substitute: An Unsupervised Chinese Word Sense Disambiguation Method Based on HowNet
Bairu Hou | Fanchao Qi | Yuan Zang | Xurui Zhang | Zhiyuan Liu | Maosong Sun

Word sense disambiguation (WSD) is a fundamental natural language processing task. Unsupervised knowledge-based WSD only relies on a lexical knowledge base as the sense inventory and has wider practical use than supervised WSD that requires a mass of sense-annotated data. HowNet is the most widely used lexical knowledge base in Chinese WSD. Because of its uniqueness, however, most of existing unsupervised WSD methods cannot work for HowNet-based WSD, and the tailor-made methods have not obtained satisfying results. In this paper, we propose a new unsupervised method for HowNet-based Chinese WSD, which exploits the masked language model task of pre-trained language models. In experiments, considering existing evaluation dataset is small and out-of-date, we build a new and larger HowNet-based WSD dataset. Experimental results demonstrate that our model achieves significantly better performance than all the baseline methods. All the code and data of this paper are available at

Combining Event Semantics and Degree Semantics for Natural Language Inference
Izumi Haruta | Koji Mineshima | Daisuke Bekki

In formal semantics, there are two well-developed semantic frameworks: event semantics, which treats verbs and adverbial modifiers using the notion of event, and degree semantics, which analyzes adjectives and comparatives using the notion of degree. However, it is not obvious whether these frameworks can be combined to handle cases in which the phenomena in question are interacting with each other. Here, we study this issue by focusing on natural language inference (NLI). We implement a logic-based NLI system that combines event semantics and degree semantics and their interaction with lexical knowledge. We evaluate the system on various NLI datasets containing linguistically challenging problems. The results show that the system achieves high accuracies on these datasets in comparison with previous logic-based systems and deep-learning-based systems. This suggests that the two semantic frameworks can be combined consistently to handle various combinations of linguistic phenomena without compromising the advantage of either framework.

Complaint Identification in Social Media with Transformer Networks
Mali Jin | Nikolaos Aletras

Complaining is a speech act extensively used by humans to communicate a negative inconsistency between reality and expectations. Previous work on automatically identifying complaints in social media has focused on using feature-based and task-specific neural network models. Adapting state-of-the-art pre-trained neural language models and their combinations with other linguistic information from topics or sentiment for complaint prediction has yet to be explored. In this paper, we evaluate a battery of neural models underpinned by transformer networks which we subsequently combine with linguistic information. Experiments on a publicly available data set of complaints demonstrate that our models outperform previous state-of-the-art methods by a large margin achieving a macro F1 up to 87.

Syntactically Aware Cross-Domain Aspect and Opinion Terms Extraction
Oren Pereg | Daniel Korat | Moshe Wasserblat

A fundamental task of fine-grained sentiment analysis is aspect and opinion terms extraction. Supervised-learning approaches have shown good results for this task; however, they fail to scale across domains where labeled data is lacking. Non pre-trained unsupervised domain adaptation methods that incorporate external linguistic knowledge have proven effective in transferring aspect and opinion knowledge from a labeled source domain to un-labeled target domains; however, pre-trained transformer-based models like BERT and RoBERTa already exhibit substantial syntactic knowledge. In this paper, we propose a method for incorporating external linguistic information into a self-attention mechanism coupled with the BERT model. This enables leveraging the intrinsic knowledge existing within BERT together with externally introduced syntactic information, to bridge the gap across domains. We successfully demonstrate enhanced results on three benchmark datasets.

A Deep Generative Approach to Native Language Identification
Ehsan Lotfi | Ilia Markov | Walter Daelemans

Native language identification (NLI) – identifying the native language (L1) of a person based on his/her writing in the second language (L2) – is useful for a variety of purposes, including marketing, security, and educational applications. From a traditional machine learning perspective,NLI is usually framed as a multi-class classification task, where numerous designed features are combined in order to achieve the state-of-the-art results. We introduce a deep generative language modelling (LM) approach to NLI, which consists in fine-tuning a GPT-2 model separately on texts written by the authors with the same L1, and assigning a label to an unseen text based on the minimum LM loss with respect to one of these fine-tuned GPT-2 models. Our method outperforms traditional machine learning approaches and currently achieves the best results on the benchmark NLI datasets.

Modeling Event Salience in Narratives via Barthes’ Cardinal Functions
Takaki Otake | Sho Yokoi | Naoya Inoue | Ryo Takahashi | Tatsuki Kuribayashi | Kentaro Inui

Events in a narrative differ in salience: some are more important to the story than others. Estimating event salience is useful for tasks such as story generation, and as a tool for text analysis in narratology and folkloristics. To compute event salience without any annotations, we adopt Barthes’ definition of event salience and propose several unsupervised methods that require only a pre-trained language model. Evaluating the proposed methods on folktales with event salience annotation, we show that the proposed methods outperform baseline methods and find fine-tuning a language model on narrative texts is a key factor in improving the proposed methods.

Medical Knowledge-enriched Textual Entailment Framework
Shweta Yadav | Vishal Pallagani | Amit Sheth

One of the cardinal tasks in achieving robust medical question answering systems is textual entailment. The existing approaches make use of an ensemble of pre-trained language models or data augmentation, often to clock higher numbers on the validation metrics. However, two major shortcomings impede higher success in identifying entailment: (1) understanding the focus/intent of the question and (2) ability to utilize the real-world background knowledge to capture the con-text beyond the sentence. In this paper, we present a novel Medical Knowledge-Enriched Textual Entailment framework that allows the model to acquire a semantic and global representation of the input medical text with the help of a relevant domain-specific knowledge graph. We evaluate our framework on the benchmark MEDIQA-RQE dataset and manifest that the use of knowledge-enriched dual-encoding mechanism help in achieving an absolute improvement of 8.27% over SOTA language models.

Predicting Personal Opinion on Future Events with Fingerprints
Fan Yang | Eduard Dragut | Arjun Mukherjee

Predicting users’ opinions in their response to social events has important real-world applications, many of which political and social impacts. Existing approaches derive a population’s opinion on a going event from large scores of user generated content. In certain scenarios, we may not be able to acquire such content and thus cannot infer an unbiased opinion on those emerging events. To address this problem, we propose to explore opinion on unseen articles based on one’s fingerprinting: the prior reading and commenting history. This work presents a focused study on modeling and leveraging fingerprinting techniques to predict a user’s future opinion. We introduce a recurrent neural network based model that integrates fingerprinting. We collect a large dataset that consists of event-comment pairs from six news websites. We evaluate the proposed model on this dataset. The results show substantial performance gains demonstrating the effectiveness of our approach.

Detecting de minimis Code-Switching in Historical German Books
Shijia Liu | David Smith

Code-switching has long interested linguists, with computational work in particular focusing on speech and social media data (Sitaram et al., 2019). This paper contrasts these informal instances of code-switching to its appearance in more formal registers, by examining the mixture of languages in the Deutsches Textarchiv (DTA), a corpus of 1406 primarily German books from the 17th to 19th centuries. We automatically annotate and manually inspect spans of six embedded languages (Latin, French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Greek) in the corpus. We quantitatively analyze the differences between code-switching patterns in these books and those in more typically studied speech and social media corpora. Furthermore, we address the practical task of predicting code-switching from features of the matrix language alone in the DTA corpus. Such classifiers can help reduce errors when optical character recognition or speech transcription is applied to a large corpus with rare embedded languages.

Lin: Unsupervised Extraction of Tasks from Textual Communication
Parth Diwanji | Hui Guo | Munindar Singh | Anup Kalia

Commitments and requests are a hallmark of collaborative communication, especially in team settings. Identifying specific tasks being committed to or request from emails and chat messages can enable important downstream tasks, such as producing todo lists, reminders, and calendar entries. State-of-the-art approaches for task identification rely on large annotated datasets, which are not always available, especially for domain-specific tasks. Accordingly, we propose Lin, an unsupervised approach of identifying tasks that leverages dependency parsing and VerbNet. Our evaluations show that Lin yields comparable or more accurate results than supervised models on domains with large training sets, and maintains its excellent performance on unseen domains.

Connecting the Dots Between Fact Verification and Fake News Detection
Qifei Li | Wangchunshu Zhou

Fact verification models have enjoyed a fast advancement in the last two years with the development of pre-trained language models like BERT and the release of large scale datasets such as FEVER. However, the challenging problem of fake news detection has not benefited from the improvement of fact verification models, which is closely related to fake news detection. In this paper, we propose a simple yet effective approach to connect the dots between fact verification and fake news detection. Our approach first employs a text summarization model pre-trained on news corpora to summarize the long news article into a short claim. Then we use a fact verification model pre-trained on the FEVER dataset to detect whether the input news article is real or fake. Our approach makes use of the recent success of fact verification models and enables zero-shot fake news detection, alleviating the need of large scale training data to train fake news detection models. Experimental results on FakenewsNet, a benchmark dataset for fake news detection, demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed approach.

Personalized Multimodal Feedback Generation in Education
Haochen Liu | Zitao Liu | Zhongqin Wu | Jiliang Tang

The automatic feedback of school assignments is an important application of AI in education. In this work, we focus on the task of personalized multimodal feedback generation, which aims to generate personalized feedback for teachers to evaluate students’ assignments involving multimodal inputs such as images, audios, and texts. This task involves the representation and fusion of multimodal information and natural language generation, which presents the challenges from three aspects: (1) how to encode and integrate multimodal inputs; (2) how to generate feedback specific to each modality; and (3) how to fulfill personalized feedback generation. In this paper, we propose a novel Personalized Multimodal Feedback Generation Network (PMFGN) armed with a modality gate mechanism and a personalized bias mechanism to address these challenges. Extensive experiments on real-world K-12 education data show that our model significantly outperforms baselines by generating more accurate and diverse feedback. In addition, detailed ablation experiments are conducted to deepen our understanding of the proposed framework.

Reasoning Step-by-Step: Temporal Sentence Localization in Videos via Deep Rectification-Modulation Network
Daizong Liu | Xiaoye Qu | Jianfeng Dong | Pan Zhou

Temporal sentence localization in videos aims to ground the best matched segment in an untrimmed video according to a given sentence query. Previous works in this field mainly rely on attentional frameworks to align the temporal boundaries by a soft selection. Although they focus on the visual content relevant to the query, these single-step attention are insufficient to model complex video contents and restrict the higher-level reasoning demand for this task. In this paper, we propose a novel deep rectification-modulation network (RMN), transforming this task into a multi-step reasoning process by repeating rectification and modulation. In each rectification-modulation layer, unlike existing methods directly conducting the cross-modal interaction, we first devise a rectification module to correct implicit attention misalignment which focuses on the wrong position during the cross-interaction process. Then, a modulation module is developed to capture the frame-to-frame relation with the help of sentence information for better correlating and composing the video contents over time. With multiple such layers cascaded in depth, our RMN progressively refines video and query interactions, thus enabling a further precise localization. Experimental evaluations on three public datasets show that the proposed method achieves state-of-the-art performance. Extensive ablation studies are carried out for the comprehensive analysis of the proposed method.

RIVA: A Pre-trained Tweet Multimodal Model Based on Text-image Relation for Multimodal NER
Lin Sun | Jiquan Wang | Yindu Su | Fangsheng Weng | Yuxuan Sun | Zengwei Zheng | Yuanyi Chen

Multimodal named entity recognition (MNER) for tweets has received increasing attention recently. Most of the multimodal methods used attention mechanisms to capture the text-related visual information. However, unrelated or weakly related text-image pairs account for a large proportion in tweets. Visual clues unrelated to the text would incur uncertain or even negative effects for multimodal model learning. In this paper, we propose a novel pre-trained multimodal model based on Relationship Inference and Visual Attention (RIVA) for tweets. The RIVA model controls the attention-based visual clues with a gate regarding the role of image to the semantics of text. We use a teacher-student semi-supervised paradigm to leverage a large unlabeled multimodal tweet corpus with a labeled data set for text-image relation classification. In the multimodal NER task, the experimental results show the significance of text-related visual features for the visual-linguistic model and our approach achieves SOTA performance on the MNER datasets.

Towards Knowledge-Augmented Visual Question Answering
Maryam Ziaeefard | Freddy Lecue

Visual Question Answering (VQA) remains algorithmically challenging while it is effortless for humans. Humans combine visual observations with general and commonsense knowledge to answer questions about a given image. In this paper, we address the problem of incorporating general knowledge into VQA models while leveraging the visual information. We propose a model that captures the interactions between objects in a visual scene and entities in an external knowledge source. Our model is a graph-based approach that combines scene graphs with concept graphs, which learns a question-adaptive graph representation of related knowledge instances. We use Graph Attention Networks to set higher importance to key knowledge instances that are mostly relevant to each question. We exploit ConceptNet as the source of general knowledge and evaluate the performance of our model on the challenging OK-VQA dataset.

Visual-Textual Alignment for Graph Inference in Visual Dialog
Tianling Jiang | Yi Ji | Chunping Liu | Hailin Shao

As a conversational intelligence task, visual dialog entails answering a series of questions grounded in an image, using the dialog history as context. To generate correct answers, the comprehension of the semantic dependencies among implicit visual and textual contents is critical. Prior works usually ignored the underlying relation and failed to infer it reasonably. In this paper, we propose a Visual-Textual Alignment for Graph Inference (VTAGI) network. Compared with other approaches, it makes up the lack of structural inference in visual dialog. The whole system consists of two modules, Visual and Textual Alignment (VTA) and Visual Graph Attended by Text (VGAT). Specially, the VTA module aims at representing an image with a set of integrated visual regions and corresponding textual concepts, reflecting certain semantics. The VGAT module views the visual features with semantic information as observed nodes and each node learns the relationship with others in visual graph. We also qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the model on VisDial v1.0 dataset, showing our VTAGI outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.

Ad Lingua: Text Classification Improves Symbolism Prediction in Image Advertisements
Andrey Savchenko | Anton Alekseev | Sejeong Kwon | Elena Tutubalina | Evgeny Myasnikov | Sergey Nikolenko

Understanding image advertisements is a challenging task, often requiring non-literal interpretation. We argue that standard image-based predictions are insufficient for symbolism prediction. Following the intuition that texts and images are complementary in advertising, we introduce a multimodal ensemble of a state of the art image-based classifier, a classifier based on an object detection architecture, and a fine-tuned language model applied to texts extracted from ads by OCR. The resulting system establishes a new state of the art in symbolism prediction.

Humans Meet Models on Object Naming: A New Dataset and Analysis
Carina Silberer | Sina Zarrieß | Matthijs Westera | Gemma Boleda

We release ManyNames v2 (MN v2), a verified version of an object naming dataset that contains dozens of valid names per object for 25K images. We analyze issues in the data collection method originally employed, standard in Language & Vision (L&V), and find that the main source of noise in the data comes from simulating a naming context solely from an image with a target object marked with a bounding box, which causes subjects to sometimes disagree regarding which object is the target. We also find that both the degree of this uncertainty in the original data and the amount of true naming variation in MN v2 differs substantially across object domains. We use MN v2 to analyze a popular L&V model and demonstrate its effectiveness on the task of object naming. However, our fine-grained analysis reveals that what appears to be human-like model behavior is not stable across domains, e.g., the model confuses people and clothing objects much more frequently than humans do. We also find that standard evaluations underestimate the actual effectiveness of the naming model: on the single-label names of the original dataset (Visual Genome), it obtains −27% accuracy points than on MN v2, that includes all valid object names.

Encoding Lexico-Semantic Knowledge using Ensembles of Feature Maps from Deep Convolutional Neural Networks
Steven Derby | Paul Miller | Barry Devereux

Semantic models derived from visual information have helped to overcome some of the limitations of solely text-based distributional semantic models. Researchers have demonstrated that text and image-based representations encode complementary semantic information, which when combined provide a more complete representation of word meaning, in particular when compared with data on human conceptual knowledge. In this work, we reveal that these vision-based representations, whilst quite effective, do not make use of all the semantic information available in the neural network that could be used to inform vector-based models of semantic representation. Instead, we build image-based meta-embeddings from computer vision models, which can incorporate information from all layers of the network, and show that they encode a richer set of semantic attributes and yield a more complete representation of human conceptual knowledge.

Language-Driven Region Pointer Advancement for Controllable Image Captioning
Annika Lindh | Robert Ross | John Kelleher

Controllable Image Captioning is a recent sub-field in the multi-modal task of Image Captioning wherein constraints are placed on which regions in an image should be described in the generated natural language caption. This puts a stronger focus on producing more detailed descriptions, and opens the door for more end-user control over results. A vital component of the Controllable Image Captioning architecture is the mechanism that decides the timing of attending to each region through the advancement of a region pointer. In this paper, we propose a novel method for predicting the timing of region pointer advancement by treating the advancement step as a natural part of the language structure via a NEXT-token, motivated by a strong correlation to the sentence structure in the training data. We find that our timing agrees with the ground-truth timing in the Flickr30k Entities test data with a precision of 86.55% and a recall of 97.92%. Our model implementing this technique improves the state-of-the-art on standard captioning metrics while additionally demonstrating a considerably larger effective vocabulary size.

Offensive Language Detection on Video Live Streaming Chat
Zhiwei Gao | Shuntaro Yada | Shoko Wakamiya | Eiji Aramaki

This paper presents a prototype of a chat room that detects offensive expressions in a video live streaming chat in real time. Focusing on Twitch, one of the most popular live streaming platforms, we created a dataset for the task of detecting offensive expressions. We collected 2,000 chat posts across four popular game titles with genre diversity (e.g., competitive, violent, peaceful). To make use of the similarity in offensive expressions among different social media platforms, we adopted state-of-the-art models trained on offensive expressions from Twitter for our Twitch data (i.e., transfer learning). We investigated two similarity measurements to predict the transferability, textual similarity, and game-genre similarity. Our results show that the transfer of features from social media to live streaming is effective. However, the two measurements show less correlation in the transferability prediction.

Image Caption Generation for News Articles
Zhishen Yang | Naoaki Okazaki

In this paper, we address the task of news-image captioning, which generates a description of an image given the image and its article body as input. This task is more challenging than the conventional image captioning, because it requires a joint understanding of image and text. We present a Transformer model that integrates text and image modalities and attends to textual features from visual features in generating a caption. Experiments based on automatic evaluation metrics and human evaluation show that an article text provides primary information to reproduce news-image captions written by journalists. The results also demonstrate that the proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art model. In addition, we also confirm that visual features contribute to improving the quality of news-image captions.

CoNAN: A Complementary Neighboring-based Attention Network for Referring Expression Generation
Jungjun Kim | Hanbin Ko | Jialin Wu

Daily scenes are complex in the real world due to occlusion, undesired lighting conditions, etc. Although humans handle those complicated environments well, they evoke challenges for machine learning systems to identify and describe the target without ambiguity. Most previous research focuses on mining discriminating features within the same category for the target object. One the other hand, as the scene becomes more complicated, human frequently uses the neighbor objects as complementary information to describe the target one. Motivated by that, we propose a novel Complementary Neighboring-based Attention Network (CoNAN) that explicitly utilizes the visual differences between the target object and its highly-related neighbors. These highly-related neighbors are determined by an attentional ranking module, as complementary features, highlighting the discriminating aspects for the target object. The speaker module then takes the visual difference features as an additional input to generate the expression. Our qualitative and quantitative results on the dataset RefCOCO, RefCOCO+, and RefCOCOg demonstrate that our generated expressions outperform other state-of-the-art models by a clear margin.

Mark-Evaluate: Assessing Language Generation using Population Estimation Methods
Gonçalo Mordido | Christoph Meinel

We propose a family of metrics to assess language generation derived from population estimation methods widely used in ecology. More specifically, we use mark-recapture and maximum-likelihood methods that have been applied over the past several decades to estimate the size of closed populations in the wild. We propose three novel metrics: MEPetersen and MECAPTURE, which retrieve a single-valued assessment, and MESchnabel which returns a double-valued metric to assess the evaluation set in terms of quality and diversity, separately. In synthetic experiments, our family of methods is sensitive to drops in quality and diversity. Moreover, our methods show a higher correlation to human evaluation than existing metrics on several challenging tasks, namely unconditional language generation, machine translation, and text summarization.

TableGPT: Few-shot Table-to-Text Generation with Table Structure Reconstruction and Content Matching
Heng Gong | Yawei Sun | Xiaocheng Feng | Bing Qin | Wei Bi | Xiaojiang Liu | Ting Liu

Although neural table-to-text models have achieved remarkable progress with the help of large-scale datasets, they suffer insufficient learning problem with limited training data. Recently, pre-trained language models show potential in few-shot learning with linguistic knowledge learnt from pretraining on large-scale corpus. However, benefiting table-to-text generation in few-shot setting with the powerful pretrained language model faces three challenges, including (1) the gap between the task’s structured input and the natural language input for pretraining language model. (2) The lack of modeling for table structure and (3) improving text fidelity with less incorrect expressions that are contradicting to the table. To address aforementioned problems, we propose TableGPT for table-to-text generation. At first, we utilize table transformation module with template to rewrite structured table in natural language as input for GPT-2. In addition, we exploit multi-task learning with two auxiliary tasks that preserve table’s structural information by reconstructing the structure from GPT-2’s representation and improving the text’s fidelity with content matching task aligning the table and information in the generated text. By experimenting on Humans, Songs and Books, three few-shot table-to-text datasets in different domains, our model outperforms existing systems on most few-shot settings.

The ApposCorpus: a new multilingual, multi-domain dataset for factual appositive generation
Yova Kementchedjhieva | Di Lu | Joel Tetreault

News articles, image captions, product reviews and many other texts mention people and organizations whose name recognition could vary for different audiences. In such cases, background information about the named entities could be provided in the form of an appositive noun phrase, either written by a human or generated automatically. We expand on the previous work in appositive generation with a new, more realistic, end-to-end definition of the task, instantiated by a dataset that spans four languages (English, Spanish, German and Polish), two entity types (person and organization) and two domains (Wikipedia and News). We carry out an extensive analysis of the data and the task, pointing to the various modeling challenges it poses. The results we obtain with standard language generation methods show that the task is indeed non-trivial, and leaves plenty of room for improvement.

Generalized Shortest-Paths Encoders for AMR-to-Text Generation
Lisa Jin | Daniel Gildea

For text generation from semantic graphs, past neural models encoded input structure via gated convolutions along graph edges. Although these operations provide local context, the distance messages can travel is bounded by the number of encoder propagation steps. We adopt recent efforts of applying Transformer self-attention to graphs to allow global feature propagation. Instead of feeding shortest paths to the vertex self-attention module, we train a model to learn them using generalized shortest-paths algorithms. This approach widens the receptive field of a graph encoder by exposing it to all possible graph paths. We explore how this path diversity affects performance across levels of AMR connectivity, demonstrating gains on AMRs of higher reentrancy counts and diameters. Analysis of generated sentences also supports high semantic coherence of our models for reentrant AMRs. Our best model achieves a 1.4 BLEU and 1.8 chrF++ margin over a baseline that encodes only pairwise-unique shortest paths.

An Enhanced Knowledge Injection Model for Commonsense Generation
Zhihao Fan | Yeyun Gong | Zhongyu Wei | Siyuan Wang | Yameng Huang | Jian Jiao | Xuanjing Huang | Nan Duan | Ruofei Zhang

Commonsense generation aims at generating plausible everyday scenario description based on a set of provided concepts. Digging the relationship of concepts from scratch is non-trivial, therefore, we retrieve prototypes from external knowledge to assist the understanding of the scenario for better description generation. We integrate two additional modules into the pretrained encoder-decoder model for prototype modeling to enhance the knowledge injection procedure. We conduct experiment on CommonGen benchmark, experimental results show that our method significantly improves the performance on all the metrics.

Multi-grained Chinese Word Segmentation with Weakly Labeled Data
Chen Gong | Zhenghua Li | Bowei Zou | Min Zhang

In contrast with the traditional single-grained word segmentation (SWS), where a sentence corresponds to a single word sequence, multi-grained Chinese word segmentation (MWS) aims to segment a sentence into multiple word sequences to preserve all words of different granularities. Due to the lack of manually annotated MWS data, previous work train and tune MWS models only on automatically generated pseudo MWS data. In this work, we further take advantage of the rich word boundary information in existing SWS data and naturally annotated data from dictionary example (DictEx) sentences, to advance the state-of-the-art MWS model based on the idea of weak supervision. Particularly, we propose to accommodate two types of weakly labeled data for MWS, i.e., SWS data and DictEx data by employing a simple yet competitive graph-based parser with local loss. Besides, we manually annotate a high-quality MWS dataset according to our newly compiled annotation guideline, consisting of over 9,000 sentences from two types of texts, i.e., canonical newswire (NEWS) and non-canonical web (BAIKE) data for better evaluation. Detailed evaluation shows that our proposed model with weakly labeled data significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art MWS model by 1.12 and 5.97 on NEWS and BAIKE data in F1.

KeyGames: A Game Theoretic Approach to Automatic Keyphrase Extraction
Arnav Saxena | Mudit Mangal | Goonjan Jain

In this paper, we introduce two advancements in the automatic keyphrase extraction (AKE) space - KeyGames and pke+. KeyGames is an unsupervised AKE framework that employs the concept of evolutionary game theory and consistent labelling problem to ensure consistent classification of candidates into keyphrase and non-keyphrase. Pke+ is a python based pipeline built on top of the existing pke library to standardize various AKE steps, namely candidate extraction and evaluation, to ensure truly systematic and comparable performance analysis of AKE models. In the experiments section, we compare the performance of KeyGames across three publicly available datasets (Inspec 2001, SemEval 2010, DUC 2001) against the results quoted by the existing state-of-the-art models as well as their performance when reproduced using pke+. The results show that KeyGames outperforms most of the state-of-the-art systems while generalizing better on input documents with different domains and length. Further, pke+’s pre-processing brings out improvement in several other system’s quoted performance as well.

Parsers Know Best: German PP Attachment Revisited
Bich-Ngoc Do | Ines Rehbein

In the paper, we revisit the PP attachment problem which has been identified as one of the major sources for parser errors and discuss shortcomings of recent work. In particular, we show that using gold information for the extraction of attachment candidates as well as a missing comparison of the system’s output to the output of a full syntactic parser leads to an overly optimistic assessment of the results. We address these issues by presenting a realistic evaluation of the potential of different PP attachment systems, using fully predicted information as system input. We compare our results against the output of a strong neural parser and show that the full parsing approach is superior to modeling PP attachment disambiguation as a separate task.

Towards Fast and Accurate Neural Chinese Word Segmentation with Multi-Criteria Learning
Weipeng Huang | Xingyi Cheng | Kunlong Chen | Taifeng Wang | Wei Chu

The ambiguous annotation criteria lead to divergence of Chinese Word Segmentation (CWS) datasets in various granularities. Multi-criteria Chinese word segmentation aims to capture various annotation criteria among datasets and leverage their common underlying knowledge. In this paper, we propose a domain adaptive segmenter to exploit diverse criteria of various datasets. Our model is based on Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), which is responsible for introducing open-domain knowledge. Private and shared projection layers are proposed to capture domain-specific knowledge and common knowledge, respectively. We also optimize computational efficiency via distillation, quantization, and compiler optimization. Experiments show that our segmenter outperforms the previous state of the art (SOTA) models on 10 CWS datasets with superior efficiency.

Joint Chinese Word Segmentation and Part-of-speech Tagging via Multi-channel Attention of Character N-grams
Yuanhe Tian | Yan Song | Fei Xia

Chinese word segmentation (CWS) and part-of-speech (POS) tagging are two fundamental tasks for Chinese language processing. Previous studies have demonstrated that jointly performing them can be an effective one-step solution to both tasks and this joint task can benefit from a good modeling of contextual features such as n-grams. However, their work on modeling such contextual features is limited to concatenating the features or their embeddings directly with the input embeddings without distinguishing whether the contextual features are important for the joint task in the specific context. Therefore, their models for the joint task could be misled by unimportant contextual information. In this paper, we propose a character-based neural model for the joint task enhanced by multi-channel attention of n-grams. In the attention module, n-gram features are categorized into different groups according to several criteria, and n-grams in each group are weighted and distinguished according to their importance for the joint task in the specific context. To categorize n-grams, we try two criteria in this study, i.e., n-gram frequency and length, so that n-grams having different capabilities of carrying contextual information are discriminatively learned by our proposed attention module. Experimental results on five benchmark datasets for CWS and POS tagging demonstrate that our approach outperforms strong baseline models and achieves state-of-the-art performance on all five datasets.

Taking the Correction Difficulty into Account in Grammatical Error Correction Evaluation
Takumi Gotou | Ryo Nagata | Masato Mita | Kazuaki Hanawa

This paper presents performance measures for grammatical error correction which take into account the difficulty of error correction. To the best of our knowledge, no conventional measure has such functionality despite the fact that some errors are easy to correct and others are not. The main purpose of this work is to provide a way of determining the difficulty of error correction and to motivate researchers in the domain to attack such difficult errors. The performance measures are based on the simple idea that the more systems successfully correct an error, the easier it is considered to be. This paper presents a set of algorithms to implement this idea. It evaluates the performance measures quantitatively and qualitatively on a wide variety of corpora and systems, revealing that they agree with our intuition of correction difficulty. A scorer and difficulty weight data based on the algorithms have been made available on the web.

Automatic Distractor Generation for Multiple Choice Questions in Standard Tests
Zhaopeng Qiu | Xian Wu | Wei Fan

To assess knowledge proficiency of a learner, multiple choice question is an efficient and widespread form in standard tests. However, the composition of the multiple choice question, especially the construction of distractors is quite challenging. The distractors are required to both incorrect and plausible enough to confuse the learners who did not master the knowledge. Currently, the distractors are generated by domain experts which are both expensive and time-consuming. This urges the emergence of automatic distractor generation, which can benefit various standard tests in a wide range of domains. In this paper, we propose a question and answer guided distractor generation (EDGE) framework to automate distractor generation. EDGE consists of three major modules: (1) the Reforming Question Module and the Reforming Passage Module apply gate layers to guarantee the inherent incorrectness of the generated distractors; (2) the Distractor Generator Module applies attention mechanism to control the level of plausibility. Experimental results on a large-scale public dataset demonstrate that our model significantly outperforms existing models and achieves a new state-of-the-art.

Towards A Friendly Online Community: An Unsupervised Style Transfer Framework for Profanity Redaction
Minh Tran | Yipeng Zhang | Mohammad Soleymani

Offensive and abusive language is a pressing problem on social media platforms. In this work, we propose a method for transforming offensive comments, statements containing profanity or offensive language, into non-offensive ones. We design a Retrieve, Generate and Edit unsupervised style transfer pipeline to redact the offensive comments in a word-restricted manner while maintaining a high level of fluency and preserving the content of the original text. We extensively evaluate our method’s performance and compare it to previous style transfer models using both automatic metrics and human evaluations. Experimental results show that our method outperforms other models on human evaluations and is the only approach that consistently performs well on all automatic evaluation metrics.

How Positive Are You: Text Style Transfer using Adaptive Style Embedding
Heejin Kim | Kyung-Ah Sohn

The prevalent approach for unsupervised text style transfer is disentanglement between content and style. However, it is difficult to completely separate style information from the content. Other approaches allow the latent text representation to contain style and the target style to affect the generated output more than the latent representation does. In both approaches, however, it is impossible to adjust the strength of the style in the generated output. Moreover, those previous approaches typically perform both the sentence reconstruction and style control tasks in a single model, which complicates the overall architecture. In this paper, we address these issues by separating the model into a sentence reconstruction module and a style module. We use the Transformer-based autoencoder model for sentence reconstruction and the adaptive style embedding is learned directly in the style module. Because of this separation, each module can better focus on its own task. Moreover, we can vary the style strength of the generated sentence by changing the style of the embedding expression. Therefore, our approach not only controls the strength of the style, but also simplifies the model architecture. Experimental results show that our approach achieves better style transfer performance and content preservation than previous approaches.

Neural text normalization leveraging similarities of strings and sounds
Riku Kawamura | Tatsuya Aoki | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Hiroya Takamura | Manabu Okumura

We propose neural models that can normalize text by considering the similarities of word strings and sounds. We experimentally compared a model that considers the similarities of both word strings and sounds, a model that considers only the similarity of word strings or of sounds, and a model without the similarities as a baseline. Results showed that leveraging the word string similarity succeeded in dealing with misspellings and abbreviations, and taking into account the sound similarity succeeded in dealing with phonetic substitutions and emphasized characters. So that the proposed models achieved higher F1 scores than the baseline.

Generating Diverse Corrections with Local Beam Search for Grammatical Error Correction
Kengo Hotate | Masahiro Kaneko | Mamoru Komachi

In this study, we propose a beam search method to obtain diverse outputs in a local sequence transduction task where most of the tokens in the source and target sentences overlap, such as in grammatical error correction (GEC). In GEC, it is advisable to rewrite only the local sequences that must be rewritten while leaving the correct sequences unchanged. However, existing methods of acquiring various outputs focus on revising all tokens of a sentence. Therefore, existing methods may either generate ungrammatical sentences because they force the entire sentence to be changed or produce non-diversified sentences by weakening the constraints to avoid generating ungrammatical sentences. Considering these issues, we propose a method that does not rewrite all the tokens in a text, but only rewrites those parts that need to be diversely corrected. Our beam search method adjusts the search token in the beam according to the probability that the prediction is copied from the source sentence. The experimental results show that our proposed method generates more diverse corrections than existing methods without losing accuracy in the GEC task.

A Neural Local Coherence Analysis Model for Clarity Text Scoring
Panitan Muangkammuen | Sheng Xu | Fumiyo Fukumoto | Kanda Runapongsa Saikaew | Jiyi Li

Local coherence relation between two phrases/sentences such as cause-effect and contrast gives a strong influence of whether a text is well-structured or not. This paper follows the assumption and presents a method for scoring text clarity by utilizing local coherence between adjacent sentences. We hypothesize that the contextual features of coherence relations learned by utilizing different data from the target training data are also possible to discriminate well-structured of the target text and thus help to score the text clarity. We propose a text clarity scoring method that utilizes local coherence analysis with an out-domain setting, i.e. the training data for the source and target tasks are different from each other. The method with language model pre-training BERT firstly trains the local coherence model as an auxiliary manner and then re-trains it together with clarity text scoring model. The experimental results by using the PeerRead benchmark dataset show the improvement compared with a single model, scoring text clarity model. Our source codes are available online.

Grammatical error detection in transcriptions of spoken English
Andrew Caines | Christian Bentz | Kate Knill | Marek Rei | Paula Buttery

We describe the collection of transcription corrections and grammatical error annotations for the CrowdED Corpus of spoken English monologues on business topics. The corpus recordings were crowdsourced from native speakers of English and learners of English with German as their first language. The new transcriptions and annotations are obtained from different crowdworkers: we analyse the 1108 new crowdworker submissions and propose that they can be used for automatic transcription post-editing and grammatical error correction for speech. To further explore the data we train grammatical error detection models with various configurations including pre-trained and contextual word representations as input, additional features and auxiliary objectives, and extra training data from written error-annotated corpora. We find that a model concatenating pre-trained and contextual word representations as input performs best, and that additional information does not lead to further performance gains.

Automatic Assistance for Academic Word Usage
Dariush Saberi | John Lee | Jonathan James Webster

This paper describes a writing assistance system that helps students improve their academic writing. Given an input text, the system suggests lexical substitutions that aim to incorporate more academic vocabulary. The substitution candidates are drawn from an academic word list and ranked by a masked language model. Experimental results show that lexical formality analysis can improve the quality of the suggestions, in comparison to a baseline that relies on the masked language model only.

Style versus Content: A distinction without a (learnable) difference?
Somayeh Jafaritazehjani | Gwénolé Lecorvé | Damien Lolive | John Kelleher

Textual style transfer involves modifying the style of a text while preserving its content. This assumes that it is possible to separate style from content. This paper investigates whether this separation is possible. We use sentiment transfer as our case study for style transfer analysis. Our experimental methodology frames style transfer as a multi-objective problem, balancing style shift with content preservation and fluency. Due to the lack of parallel data for style transfer we employ a variety of adversarial encoder-decoder networks in our experiments. Also, we use of a probing methodology to analyse how these models encode style-related features in their latent spaces. The results of our experiments which are further confirmed by a human evaluation reveal the inherent trade-off between the multiple style transfer objectives which indicates that style cannot be usefully separated from content within these style-transfer systems.

Contextualized Embeddings for Enriching Linguistic Analyses on Politeness
Ahmad Aljanaideh | Eric Fosler-Lussier | Marie-Catherine de Marneffe

Linguistic analyses in natural language processing (NLP) have often been performed around the static notion of words where the context (surrounding words) is not considered. For example, previous analyses on politeness have focused on comparing the use of static words such as personal pronouns across (im)polite requests without taking the context of those words into account. Current word embeddings in NLP do capture context and thus can be leveraged to enrich linguistic analyses. In this work, we introduce a model which leverages the pre-trained BERT model to cluster contextualized representations of a word based on (1) the context in which the word appears and (2) the labels of items the word occurs in. Using politeness as case study, this model is able to automatically discover interpretable, fine-grained context patterns of words, some of which align with existing theories on politeness. Our model further discovers novel finer-grained patterns associated with (im)polite language. For example, the word please can occur in impolite contexts that are predictable from BERT clustering. The approach proposed here is validated by showing that features based on fine-grained patterns inferred from the clustering improve over politeness-word baselines.

Heterogeneous Recycle Generation for Chinese Grammatical Error Correction
Charles Hinson | Hen-Hsen Huang | Hsin-Hsi Chen

Most recent works in the field of grammatical error correction (GEC) rely on neural machine translation-based models. Although these models boast impressive performance, they require a massive amount of data to properly train. Furthermore, NMT-based systems treat GEC purely as a translation task and overlook the editing aspect of it. In this work we propose a heterogeneous approach to Chinese GEC, composed of a NMT-based model, a sequence editing model, and a spell checker. Our methodology not only achieves a new state-of-the-art performance for Chinese GEC, but also does so without relying on data augmentation or GEC-specific architecture changes. We further experiment with all possible configurations of our system with respect to model composition order and number of rounds of correction. A detailed analysis of each model and their contributions to the correction process is performed by adapting the ERRANT scorer to be able to score Chinese sentences.

Improving Grammatical Error Correction with Data Augmentation by Editing Latent Representation
Zhaohong Wan | Xiaojun Wan | Wenguang Wang

The incorporation of data augmentation method in grammatical error correction task has attracted much attention. However, existing data augmentation methods mainly apply noise to tokens, which leads to the lack of diversity of generated errors. In view of this, we propose a new data augmentation method that can apply noise to the latent representation of a sentence.By editing the latent representations of grammatical sentences, we can generate synthetic samples with various error types. Combining with some pre-defined rules, our method can greatly improve the performance and robustness of existing grammatical error correction models. We evaluate our method on public benchmarks of GEC task and it achieves the state-of-the-art performance on CoNLL-2014 and FCE benchmarks.

Cycle-Consistent Adversarial Autoencoders for Unsupervised Text Style Transfer
Yufang Huang | Wentao Zhu | Deyi Xiong | Yiye Zhang | Changjian Hu | Feiyu Xu

Unsupervised text style transfer is full of challenges due to the lack of parallel data and difficulties in content preservation. In this paper, we propose a novel neural approach to unsupervised text style transfer which we refer to as Cycle-consistent Adversarial autoEncoders (CAE) trained from non-parallel data. CAE consists of three essential components: (1) LSTM autoencoders that encode a text in one style into its latent representation and decode an encoded representation into its original text or a transferred representation into a style-transferred text, (2) adversarial style transfer networks that use an adversarially trained generator to transform a latent representation in one style into a representation in another style, and (3) a cycle-consistent constraint that enhances the capacity of the adversarial style transfer networks in content preservation. The entire CAE with these three components can be trained end-to-end. Extensive experiments and in-depth analyses on two widely-used public datasets consistently validate the effectiveness of proposed CAE in both style transfer and content preservation against several strong baselines in terms of four automatic evaluation metrics and human evaluation.

Ask to Learn: A Study on Curiosity-driven Question Generation
Thomas Scialom | Jacopo Staiano

We propose a novel text generation task, namely Curiosity-driven Question Generation. We start from the observation that the Question Generation task has traditionally been considered as the dual problem of Question Answering, hence tackling the problem of generating a question given the text that contains its answer. Such questions can be used to evaluate machine reading comprehension. However, in real life, and especially in conversational settings, humans tend to ask questions with the goal of enriching their knowledge and/or clarifying aspects of previously gathered information. We refer to these inquisitive questions as Curiosity-driven: these questions are generated with the goal of obtaining new information (the answer) which is not present in the input text. In this work, we experiment on this new task using a conversational Question Answering (QA) dataset; further, since the majority of QA dataset are not built in a conversational manner, we describe a methodology to derive data for this novel task from non-conversational QA data. We investigate several automated metrics to measure the different properties of Curious Questions, and experiment different approaches on the Curiosity-driven Question Generation task, including model pre-training and reinforcement learning. Finally, we report a qualitative evaluation of the generated outputs.

Formality Style Transfer with Shared Latent Space
Yunli Wang | Yu Wu | Lili Mou | Zhoujun Li | WenHan Chao

Conventional approaches for formality style transfer borrow models from neural machine translation, which typically requires massive parallel data for training. However, the dataset for formality style transfer is considerably smaller than translation corpora. Moreover, we observe that informal and formal sentences closely resemble each other, which is different from the translation task where two languages have different vocabularies and grammars. In this paper, we present a new approach, Sequence-to-Sequence with Shared Latent Space (S2S-SLS), for formality style transfer, where we propose two auxiliary losses and adopt joint training of bi-directional transfer and auto-encoding. Experimental results show that S2S-SLS (with either RNN or Transformer architectures) consistently outperforms baselines in various settings, especially when we have limited data.

Keep it Consistent: Topic-Aware Storytelling from an Image Stream via Iterative Multi-agent Communication
Ruize Wang | Zhongyu Wei | Ying Cheng | Piji Li | Haijun Shan | Ji Zhang | Qi Zhang | Xuanjing Huang

Visual storytelling aims to generate a narrative paragraph from a sequence of images automatically. Existing approaches construct text description independently for each image and roughly concatenate them as a story, which leads to the problem of generating semantically incoherent content. In this paper, we propose a new way for visual storytelling by introducing a topic description task to detect the global semantic context of an image stream. A story is then constructed with the guidance of the topic description. In order to combine the two generation tasks, we propose a multi-agent communication framework that regards the topic description generator and the story generator as two agents and learn them simultaneously via iterative updating mechanism. We validate our approach on VIST dataset, where quantitative results, ablations, and human evaluation demonstrate our method’s good ability in generating stories with higher quality compared to state-of-the-art methods.

Referring to what you know and do not know: Making Referring Expression Generation Models Generalize To Unseen Entities
Rossana Cunha | Thiago Castro Ferreira | Adriana Pagano | Fabio Alves

Data-to-text Natural Language Generation (NLG) is the computational process of generating natural language in the form of text or voice from non-linguistic data. A core micro-planning task within NLG is referring expression generation (REG), which aims to automatically generate noun phrases to refer to entities mentioned as discourse unfolds. A limitation of novel REG models is not being able to generate referring expressions to entities not encountered during the training process. To solve this problem, we propose two extensions to NeuralREG, a state-of-the-art encoder-decoder REG model. The first is a copy mechanism, whereas the second consists of representing the gender and type of the referent as inputs to the model. Drawing on the results of automatic and human evaluation as well as an ablation study using the WebNLG corpus, we contend that our proposal contributes to the generation of more meaningful referring expressions to unseen entities than the original system and related work. Code and all produced data are publicly available.

Topic-driven Ensemble for Online Advertising Generation
Egor Nevezhin | Nikolay Butakov | Maria Khodorchenko | Maxim Petrov | Denis Nasonov

Online advertising is one of the most widespread ways to reach and increase a target audience for those selling products. Usually having a form of a banner, advertising engages users into visiting a corresponding webpage. Professional generation of banners requires creative and writing skills and a basic understanding of target products. The great variety of goods presented in the online market enforce professionals to spend more and more time creating new advertisements different from existing ones. In this paper, we propose a neural network-based approach for the automatic generation of online advertising using texts from given webpages as sources. The important part of the approach is training on open data available online, which allows avoiding costly procedures of manual labeling. Collected open data consist of multiple subdomains with high data heterogeneity. The subdomains belong to different topics and vary in used vocabularies, phrases, styles that lead to reduced quality in adverts generation. We try to solve the problem of identifying existed subdomains and proposing a new ensemble approach based on exploiting multiple instances of a seq2seq model. Our experimental study on a dataset in the Russian language shows that our approach can significantly improve the quality of adverts generation.

Retrieval-Augmented Controllable Review Generation
Jihyeok Kim | Seungtaek Choi | Reinald Kim Amplayo | Seung-won Hwang

In this paper, we study review generation given a set of attribute identifiers which are user ID, product ID and rating. This is a difficult subtask of natural language generation since models are limited to the given identifiers, without any specific descriptive information regarding the inputs, when generating the text. The capacity of these models is thus confined and dependent to how well the models can capture vector representations of attributes. We thus propose to additionally leverage references, which are selected from a large pool of texts labeled with one of the attributes, as textual information that enriches inductive biases of given attributes. With these references, we can now pose the problem as an instance of text-to-text generation, which makes the task easier since texts that are syntactically, semantically similar with the output text are provided as input. Using this framework, we address issues such as selecting references from a large candidate set without textual context and improving the model complexity for generation. Our experiments show that our models improve over previous approaches on both automatic and human evaluation metrics.

Automatic Detection of Machine Generated Text: A Critical Survey
Ganesh Jawahar | Muhammad Abdul-Mageed | Laks Lakshmanan, V.S.

Text generative models (TGMs) excel in producing text that matches the style of human language reasonably well. Such TGMs can be misused by adversaries, e.g., by automatically generating fake news and fake product reviews that can look authentic and fool humans. Detectors that can distinguish text generated by TGM from human written text play a vital role in mitigating such misuse of TGMs. Recently, there has been a flurry of works from both natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) communities to build accurate detectors for English. Despite the importance of this problem, there is currently no work that surveys this fast-growing literature and introduces newcomers to important research challenges. In this work, we fill this void by providing a critical survey and review of this literature to facilitate a comprehensive understanding of this problem. We conduct an in-depth error analysis of the state-of-the-art detector and discuss research directions to guide future work in this exciting area.

A Learning-Exploring Method to Generate Diverse Paraphrases with Multi-Objective Deep Reinforcement Learning
Mingtong Liu | Erguang Yang | Deyi Xiong | Yujie Zhang | Yao Meng | Changjian Hu | Jinan Xu | Yufeng Chen

Paraphrase generation (PG) is of great importance to many downstream tasks in natural language processing. Diversity is an essential nature to PG for enhancing generalization capability and robustness of downstream applications. Recently, neural sequence-to-sequence (Seq2Seq) models have shown promising results in PG. However, traditional model training for PG focuses on optimizing model prediction against single reference and employs cross-entropy loss, which objective is unable to encourage model to generate diverse paraphrases. In this work, we present a novel approach with multi-objective learning to PG. We propose a learning-exploring method to generate sentences as learning objectives from the learned data distribution, and employ reinforcement learning to combine these new learning objectives for model training. We first design a sample-based algorithm to explore diverse sentences. Then we introduce several reward functions to evaluate the sampled sentences as learning signals in terms of expressive diversity and semantic fidelity, aiming to generate diverse and high-quality paraphrases. To effectively optimize model performance satisfying different evaluating aspects, we use a GradNorm-based algorithm that automatically balances these training objectives. Experiments and analyses on Quora and Twitter datasets demonstrate that our proposed method not only gains a significant increase in diversity but also improves generation quality over several state-of-the-art baselines.

Curious Case of Language Generation Evaluation Metrics: A Cautionary Tale
Ozan Caglayan | Pranava Madhyastha | Lucia Specia

Automatic evaluation of language generation systems is a well-studied problem in Natural Language Processing. While novel metrics are proposed every year, a few popular metrics remain as the de facto metrics to evaluate tasks such as image captioning and machine translation, despite their known limitations. This is partly due to ease of use, and partly because researchers expect to see them and know how to interpret them. In this paper, we urge the community for more careful consideration of how they automatically evaluate their models by demonstrating important failure cases on multiple datasets, language pairs and tasks. Our experiments show that metrics (i) usually prefer system outputs to human-authored texts, (ii) can be insensitive to correct translations of rare words, (iii) can yield surprisingly high scores when given a single sentence as system output for the entire test set.

Facts2Story: Controlling Text Generation by Key Facts
Eyal Orbach | Yoav Goldberg

Recent advancements in self-attention neural network architectures have raised the bar for open-ended text generation. Yet, while current methods are capable of producing a coherent text which is several hundred words long, attaining control over the content that is being generated—as well as evaluating it—are still open questions. We propose a controlled generation task which is based on expanding a sequence of facts, expressed in natural language, into a longer narrative. We introduce human-based evaluation metrics for this task, as well as a method for deriving a large training dataset. We evaluate three methods on this task, based on fine-tuning pre-trained models. We show that while auto-regressive, unidirectional Language Models such as GPT2 produce better fluency, they struggle to adhere to the requested facts. We propose a plan-and-cloze model (using fine-tuned XLNet) which produces competitive fluency while adhering to the requested content.

Story Generation with Rich Details
Fangzhou Zhai | Vera Demberg | Alexander Koller

Automatically generated stories need to be not only coherent, but also interesting. Apart from realizing a story line, the text also needs to include rich details to engage the readers. We propose a model that features two different generation components: an outliner, which proceeds the main story line to realize global coherence; a detailer, which supplies relevant details to the story in a locally coherent manner. Human evaluations show our model substantially improves the informativeness of generated text while retaining its coherence, outperforming various baselines.

Learning with Contrastive Examples for Data-to-Text Generation
Yui Uehara | Tatsuya Ishigaki | Kasumi Aoki | Hiroshi Noji | Keiichi Goshima | Ichiro Kobayashi | Hiroya Takamura | Yusuke Miyao

Existing models for data-to-text tasks generate fluent but sometimes incorrect sentences e.g., “Nikkei gains” is generated when “Nikkei drops” is expected. We investigate models trained on contrastive examples i.e., incorrect sentences or terms, in addition to correct ones to reduce such errors. We first create rules to produce contrastive examples from correct ones by replacing frequent crucial terms such as “gain” or “drop”. We then use learning methods with several losses that exploit contrastive examples. Experiments on the market comment generation task show that 1) exploiting contrastive examples improves the capability of generating sentences with better lexical choice, without degrading the fluency, 2) the choice of the loss function is an important factor because the performances on different metrics depend on the types of loss functions, and 3) the use of the examples produced by some specific rules further improves performance. Human evaluation also supports the effectiveness of using contrastive examples.

MedWriter: Knowledge-Aware Medical Text Generation
Youcheng Pan | Qingcai Chen | Weihua Peng | Xiaolong Wang | Baotian Hu | Xin Liu | Junying Chen | Wenxiu Zhou

To exploit the domain knowledge to guarantee the correctness of generated text has been a hot topic in recent years, especially for high professional domains such as medical. However, most of recent works only consider the information of unstructured text rather than structured information of the knowledge graph. In this paper, we focus on the medical topic-to-text generation task and adapt a knowledge-aware text generation model to the medical domain, named MedWriter, which not only introduces the specific knowledge from the external MKG but also is capable of learning graph-level representation. We conduct experiments on a medical literature dataset collected from medical journals, each of which has a set of topic words, an abstract of medical literature and a corresponding knowledge graph from CMeKG. Experimental results demonstrate incorporating knowledge graph into generation model can improve the quality of the generated text and has robust superiority over the competitor methods.

Dynamic Topic Tracker for KB-to-Text Generation
Zihao Fu | Lidong Bing | Wai Lam | Shoaib Jameel

Recently, many KB-to-text generation tasks have been proposed to bridge the gap between knowledge bases and natural language by directly converting a group of knowledge base triples into human-readable sentences. However, most of the existing models suffer from the off-topic problem, namely, the models are prone to generate some unrelated clauses that are somehow involved with certain input terms regardless of the given input data. This problem seriously degrades the quality of the generation results. In this paper, we propose a novel dynamic topic tracker for solving this problem. Different from existing models, our proposed model learns a global hidden representation for topics and recognizes the corresponding topic during each generation step. The recognized topic is used as additional information to guide the generation process and thus alleviates the off-topic problem. The experimental results show that our proposed model can enhance the performance of sentence generation and the off-topic problem is significantly mitigated.

Improving Variational Autoencoder for Text Modelling with Timestep-Wise Regularisation
Ruizhe Li | Xiao Li | Guanyi Chen | Chenghua Lin

The Variational Autoencoder (VAE) is a popular and powerful model applied to text modelling to generate diverse sentences. However, an issue known as posterior collapse (or KL loss vanishing) happens when the VAE is used in text modelling, where the approximate posterior collapses to the prior, and the model will totally ignore the latent variables and be degraded to a plain language model during text generation. Such an issue is particularly prevalent when RNN-based VAE models are employed for text modelling. In this paper, we propose a simple, generic architecture called Timestep-Wise Regularisation VAE (TWR-VAE), which can effectively avoid posterior collapse and can be applied to any RNN-based VAE models. The effectiveness and versatility of our model are demonstrated in different tasks, including language modelling and dialogue response generation.

GenWiki: A Dataset of 1.3 Million Content-Sharing Text and Graphs for Unsupervised Graph-to-Text Generation
Zhijing Jin | Qipeng Guo | Xipeng Qiu | Zheng Zhang

Data collection for the knowledge graph-to-text generation is expensive. As a result, research on unsupervised models has emerged as an active field recently. However, most unsupervised models have to use non-parallel versions of existing small supervised datasets, which largely constrain their potential. In this paper, we propose a large-scale, general-domain dataset, GenWiki. Our unsupervised dataset has 1.3M text and graph examples, respectively. With a human-annotated test set, we provide this new benchmark dataset for future research on unsupervised text generation from knowledge graphs.

Have Your Text and Use It Too! End-to-End Neural Data-to-Text Generation with Semantic Fidelity
Hamza Harkous | Isabel Groves | Amir Saffari

End-to-end neural data-to-text (D2T) generation has recently emerged as an alternative to pipeline-based architectures. However, it has faced challenges generalizing to new domains and generating semantically consistent text. In this work, we present DataTuner, a neural, end-to-end data-to-text generation system that makes minimal assumptions about the data representation and target domain. We take a two-stage generation-reranking approach, combining a fine-tuned language model with a semantic fidelity classifier. Each component is learnt end-toe-nd without needing dataset-specific heuristics, entity delexicalization, or post-processing. We show that DataTuner achieves state of the art results on automated metrics across four major D2T datasets (LDC2017T10, WebNLG, ViGGO, and Cleaned E2E), with fluency assessed by human annotators as nearing or exceeding the human-written reference texts. Our generated text has better semantic fidelity than the state of the art on these datasets. We further demonstrate that our model-based semantic fidelity scorer is a better assessment tool compared to traditional heuristic-based measures of semantic accuracy.

Graph-Based Knowledge Integration for Question Answering over Dialogue
Jian Liu | Dianbo Sui | Kang Liu | Jun Zhao

Question answering over dialogue, a specialized machine reading comprehension task, aims to comprehend a dialogue and to answer specific questions. Despite many advances, existing approaches for this task did not consider dialogue structure and background knowledge (e.g., relationships between speakers). In this paper, we introduce a new approach for the task, featured by its novelty in structuring dialogue and integrating background knowledge for reasoning. Specifically, different from previous “structure-less” approaches, our method organizes a dialogue as a “relational graph”, using edges to represent relationships between entities. To encode this relational graph, we devise a relational graph convolutional network (R-GCN), which can traverse the graph’s topological structure and effectively encode multi-relational knowledge for reasoning. The extensive experiments have justified the effectiveness of our approach over competitive baselines. Moreover, a deeper analysis shows that our model is better at tackling complex questions requiring relational reasoning and defending adversarial attacks with distracting sentences.

A hierarchical approach to vision-based language generation: from simple sentences to complex natural language
Simion-Vlad Bogolin | Ioana Croitoru | Marius Leordeanu

Automatically describing videos in natural language is an ambitious problem, which could bridge our understanding of vision and language. We propose a hierarchical approach, by first generating video descriptions as sequences of simple sentences, followed at the next level by a more complex and fluent description in natural language. While the simple sentences describe simple actions in the form of (subject, verb, object), the second-level paragraph descriptions, indirectly using information from the first-level description, presents the visual content in a more compact, coherent and semantically rich manner. To this end, we introduce the first video dataset in the literature that is annotated with captions at two levels of linguistic complexity. We perform extensive tests that demonstrate that our hierarchical linguistic representation, from simple to complex language, allows us to train a two-stage network that is able to generate significantly more complex paragraphs than current one-stage approaches.

Sentiment Forecasting in Dialog
Zhongqing Wang | Xiujun Zhu | Yue Zhang | Shoushan Li | Guodong Zhou

Sentiment forecasting in dialog aims to predict the polarity of next utterance to come, and can help speakers revise their utterances in sentimental utterances generation. However, the polarity of next utterance is normally hard to predict, due to the lack of content of next utterance (yet to come). In this study, we propose a Neural Sentiment Forecasting (NSF) model to address inherent challenges. In particular, we employ a neural simulation model to simulate the next utterance based on the context (previous utterances encountered). Moreover, we employ a sequence influence model to learn both pair-wise and seq-wise influence. Empirical studies illustrate the importance of proposed sentiment forecasting task, and justify the effectiveness of our NSF model over several strong baselines.

I Know What You Asked: Graph Path Learning using AMR for Commonsense Reasoning
Jungwoo Lim | Dongsuk Oh | Yoonna Jang | Kisu Yang | Heuiseok Lim

CommonsenseQA is a task in which a correct answer is predicted through commonsense reasoning with pre-defined knowledge. Most previous works have aimed to improve the performance with distributed representation without considering the process of predicting the answer from the semantic representation of the question. To shed light upon the semantic interpretation of the question, we propose an AMR-ConceptNet-Pruned (ACP) graph. The ACP graph is pruned from a full integrated graph encompassing Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) graph generated from input questions and an external commonsense knowledge graph, ConceptNet (CN). Then the ACP graph is exploited to interpret the reasoning path as well as to predict the correct answer on the CommonsenseQA task. This paper presents the manner in which the commonsense reasoning process can be interpreted with the relations and concepts provided by the ACP graph. Moreover, ACP-based models are shown to outperform the baselines.

Bracketing Encodings for 2-Planar Dependency Parsing
Michalina Strzyz | David Vilares | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez

We present a bracketing-based encoding that can be used to represent any 2-planar dependency tree over a sentence of length n as a sequence of n labels, hence providing almost total coverage of crossing arcs in sequence labeling parsing. First, we show that existing bracketing encodings for parsing as labeling can only handle a very mild extension of projective trees. Second, we overcome this limitation by taking into account the well-known property of 2-planarity, which is present in the vast majority of dependency syntactic structures in treebanks, i.e., the arcs of a dependency tree can be split into two planes such that arcs in a given plane do not cross. We take advantage of this property to design a method that balances the brackets and that encodes the arcs belonging to each of those planes, allowing for almost unrestricted non-projectivity (∼99.9% coverage) in sequence labeling parsing. The experiments show that our linearizations improve over the accuracy of the original bracketing encoding in highly non-projective treebanks (on average by 0.4 LAS), while achieving a similar speed. Also, they are especially suitable when PoS tags are not used as input parameters to the models.

Semi-Supervised Dependency Parsing with Arc-Factored Variational Autoencoding
Ge Wang | Kewei Tu

Mannual annotation for dependency parsing is both labourious and time costly, resulting in the difficulty to learn practical dependency parsers for many languages due to the lack of labelled training corpora. To compensate for the scarcity of labelled data, semi-supervised dependency parsing methods are developed to utilize unlabelled data in the training procedure of dependency parsers. In previous work, the autoencoder framework is a prevalent approach for the utilization of unlabelled data. In this framework, training sentences are reconstructed from a decoder conditioned on dependency trees predicted by an encoder. The tree structure requirement brings challenges for both the encoder and the decoder. Sophisticated techniques are employed to tackle these challenges at the expense of model complexity and approximations in encoding and decoding. In this paper, we propose a model based on the variational autoencoder framework. By relaxing the tree constraint in both the encoder and the decoder during training, we make the learning of our model fully arc-factored and thus circumvent the challenges brought by the tree constraint. We evaluate our model on datasets across several languages and the results demonstrate the advantage of our model over previous approaches in both parsing accuracy and speed.

Multitask Easy-First Dependency Parsing: Exploiting Complementarities of Different Dependency Representations
Yash Kankanampati | Joseph Le Roux | Nadi Tomeh | Dima Taji | Nizar Habash

In this paper we present a parsing model for projective dependency trees which takes advantage of the existence of complementary dependency annotations which is the case in Arabic, with the availability of CATiB and UD treebanks. Our system performs syntactic parsing according to both annotation types jointly as a sequence of arc-creating operations, and partially created trees for one annotation are also available to the other as features for the score function. This method gives error reduction of 9.9% on CATiB and 6.1% on UD compared to a strong baseline, and ablation tests show that the main contribution of this reduction is given by sharing tree representation between tasks, and not simply sharing BiLSTM layers as is often performed in NLP multitask systems.

Context Dependent Semantic Parsing: A Survey
Zhuang Li | Lizhen Qu | Gholamreza Haffari

Semantic parsing is the task of translating natural language utterances into machine-readable meaning representations. Currently, most semantic parsing methods are not able to utilize the contextual information (e.g. dialogue and comments history), which has a great potential to boost the semantic parsing systems. To address this issue, context dependent semantic parsing has recently drawn a lot of attention. In this survey, we investigate progress on the methods for the context dependent semantic parsing, together with the current datasets and tasks. We then point out open problems and challenges for future research in this area.

A Survey of Unsupervised Dependency Parsing
Wenjuan Han | Yong Jiang | Hwee Tou Ng | Kewei Tu

Syntactic dependency parsing is an important task in natural language processing. Unsupervised dependency parsing aims to learn a dependency parser from sentences that have no annotation of their correct parse trees. Despite its difficulty, unsupervised parsing is an interesting research direction because of its capability of utilizing almost unlimited unannotated text data. It also serves as the basis for other research in low-resource parsing. In this paper, we survey existing approaches to unsupervised dependency parsing, identify two major classes of approaches, and discuss recent trends. We hope that our survey can provide insights for researchers and facilitate future research on this topic.

Exploring Question-Specific Rewards for Generating Deep Questions
Yuxi Xie | Liangming Pan | Dongzhe Wang | Min-Yen Kan | Yansong Feng

Recent question generation (QG) approaches often utilize the sequence-to-sequence framework (Seq2Seq) to optimize the log likelihood of ground-truth questions using teacher forcing. However, this training objective is inconsistent with actual question quality, which is often reflected by certain global properties such as whether the question can be answered by the document. As such, we directly optimize for QG-specific objectives via reinforcement learning to improve question quality. We design three different rewards that target to improve the fluency, relevance, and answerability of generated questions. We conduct both automatic and human evaluations in addition to thorough analysis to explore the effect of each QG-specific reward. We find that optimizing on question-specific rewards generally leads to better performance in automatic evaluation metrics. However, only the rewards that correlate well with human judgement (e.g., relevance) lead to real improvement in question quality. Optimizing for the others, especially answerability, introduces incorrect bias to the model, resulting in poorer question quality. The code is publicly available at

CHIME: Cross-passage Hierarchical Memory Network for Generative Review Question Answering
Junru Lu | Gabriele Pergola | Lin Gui | Binyang Li | Yulan He

We introduce CHIME, a cross-passage hierarchical memory network for question answering (QA) via text generation. It extends XLNet introducing an auxiliary memory module consisting of two components: the context memory collecting cross-passage evidences, and the answer memory working as a buffer continually refining the generated answers. Empirically, we show the efficacy of the proposed architecture in the multi-passage generative QA, outperforming the state-of-the-art baselines with better syntactically well-formed answers and increased precision in addressing the questions of the AmazonQA review dataset. An additional qualitative analysis revealed the interpretability introduced by the memory module.

Improving Conversational Question Answering Systems after Deployment using Feedback-Weighted Learning
Jon Ander Campos | Kyunghyun Cho | Arantxa Otegi | Aitor Soroa | Eneko Agirre | Gorka Azkune

The interaction of conversational systems with users poses an exciting opportunity for improving them after deployment, but little evidence has been provided of its feasibility. In most applications, users are not able to provide the correct answer to the system, but they are able to provide binary (correct, incorrect) feedback. In this paper we propose feedback-weighted learning based on importance sampling to improve upon an initial supervised system using binary user feedback. We perform simulated experiments on document classification (for development) and Conversational Question Answering datasets like QuAC and DoQA, where binary user feedback is derived from gold annotations. The results show that our method is able to improve over the initial supervised system, getting close to a fully-supervised system that has access to the same labeled examples in in-domain experiments (QuAC), and even matching in out-of-domain experiments (DoQA). Our work opens the prospect to exploit interactions with real users and improve conversational systems after deployment.

Modelling Long-distance Node Relations for KBQA with Global Dynamic Graph
Xu Wang | Shuai Zhao | Jiale Han | Bo Cheng | Hao Yang | Jianchang Ao | Zhenzi Li

The structural information of Knowledge Bases (KBs) has proven effective to Question Answering (QA). Previous studies rely on deep graph neural networks (GNNs) to capture rich structural information, which may not model node relations in particularly long distance due to oversmoothing issue. To address this challenge, we propose a novel framework GlobalGraph, which models long-distance node relations from two views: 1) Node type similarity: GlobalGraph assigns each node a global type label and models long-distance node relations through the global type label similarity; 2) Correlation between nodes and questions: we learn similarity scores between nodes and the question, and model long-distance node relations through the sum score of two nodes. We conduct extensive experiments on two widely used multi-hop KBQA datasets to prove the effectiveness of our method.

Improving Commonsense Question Answering by Graph-based Iterative Retrieval over Multiple Knowledge Sources
Qianglong Chen | Feng Ji | Haiqing Chen | Yin Zhang

In order to facilitate natural language understanding, the key is to engage commonsense or background knowledge. However, how to engage commonsense effectively in question answering systems is still under exploration in both research academia and industry. In this paper, we propose a novel question-answering method by integrating multiple knowledge sources, i.e. ConceptNet, Wikipedia, and the Cambridge Dictionary, to boost the performance. More concretely, we first introduce a novel graph-based iterative knowledge retrieval module, which iteratively retrieves concepts and entities related to the given question and its choices from multiple knowledge sources. Afterward, we use a pre-trained language model to encode the question, retrieved knowledge and choices, and propose an answer choice-aware attention mechanism to fuse all hidden representations of the previous modules. Finally, the linear classifier for specific tasks is used to predict the answer. Experimental results on the CommonsenseQA dataset show that our method significantly outperforms other competitive methods and achieves the new state-of-the-art. In addition, further ablation studies demonstrate the effectiveness of our graph-based iterative knowledge retrieval module and the answer choice-aware attention module in retrieving and synthesizing background knowledge from multiple knowledge sources.

A Vietnamese Dataset for Evaluating Machine Reading Comprehension
Kiet Nguyen | Vu Nguyen | Anh Nguyen | Ngan Nguyen

Over 97 million inhabitants speak Vietnamese as the native language in the world. However, there are few research studies on machine reading comprehension (MRC) in Vietnamese, the task of understanding a document or text, and answering questions related to it. Due to the lack of benchmark datasets for Vietnamese, we present the Vietnamese Question Answering Dataset (UIT-ViQuAD), a new dataset for the low-resource language as Vietnamese to evaluate MRC models. This dataset comprises over 23,000 human-generated question-answer pairs based on 5,109 passages of 174 Vietnamese articles from Wikipedia. In particular, we propose a new process of dataset creation for Vietnamese MRC. Our in-depth analyses illustrate that our dataset requires abilities beyond simple reasoning like word matching and demands complicate reasoning such as single-sentence and multiple-sentence inferences. Besides, we conduct experiments on state-of-the-art MRC methods in English and Chinese as the first experimental models on UIT-ViQuAD, which will be compared to further models. We also estimate human performances on the dataset and compare it to the experimental results of several powerful machine models. As a result, the substantial differences between humans and the best model performances on the dataset indicate that improvements can be explored on UIT-ViQuAD through future research. Our dataset is freely available to encourage the research community to overcome challenges in Vietnamese MRC.

Improving Spoken Language Understanding by Wisdom of Crowds
Koichiro Yoshino | Kana Ikeuchi | Katsuhito Sudoh | Satoshi Nakamura

Spoken language understanding (SLU), which converts user requests in natural language to machine-interpretable expressions, is becoming an essential task. The lack of training data is an important problem, especially for new system tasks, because existing SLU systems are based on statistical approaches. In this paper, we proposed to use two sources of the “wisdom of crowds,” crowdsourcing and knowledge community website, for improving the SLU system. We firstly collected paraphrasing variations for new system tasks through crowdsourcing as seed data, and then augmented them using similar questions from a knowledge community website. We investigated the effects of the proposed data augmentation method in SLU task, even with small seed data. In particular, the proposed architecture augmented more than 120,000 samples to improve SLU accuracies.

Bi-directional CognitiveThinking Network for Machine Reading Comprehension
Wei Peng | Yue Hu | Luxi Xing | Yuqiang Xie | Jing Yu | Yajing Sun | Xiangpeng Wei

We propose a novel Bi-directional Cognitive Knowledge Framework (BCKF) for reading comprehension from the perspective of complementary learning systems theory. It aims to simulate two ways of thinking in the brain to answer questions, including reverse thinking and inertial thinking. To validate the effectiveness of our framework, we design a corresponding Bi-directional Cognitive Thinking Network (BCTN) to encode the passage and generate a question (answer) given an answer (question) and decouple the bi-directional knowledge. The model has the ability to reverse reasoning questions which can assist inertial thinking to generate more accurate answers. Competitive improvement is observed in DuReader dataset, confirming our hypothesis that bi-directional knowledge helps the QA task. The novel framework shows an interesting perspective on machine reading comprehension and cognitive science.

Learn with Noisy Data via Unsupervised Loss Correction for Weakly Supervised Reading Comprehension
Xuemiao Zhang | Kun Zhou | Sirui Wang | Fuzheng Zhang | Zhongyuan Wang | Junfei Liu

Weakly supervised machine reading comprehension (MRC) task is practical and promising for its easily available and massive training data, but inevitablely introduces noise. Existing related methods usually incorporate extra submodels to help filter noise before the noisy data is input to main models. However, these multistage methods often make training difficult, and the qualities of submodels are hard to be controlled. In this paper, we first explore and analyze the essential characteristics of noise from the perspective of loss distribution, and find that in the early stage of training, noisy samples usually lead to significantly larger loss values than clean ones. Based on the observation, we propose a hierarchical loss correction strategy to avoid fitting noise and enhance clean supervision signals, including using an unsupervisedly fitted Gaussian mixture model to calculate the weight factors for all losses to correct the loss distribution, and employ a hard bootstrapping loss to modify loss function. Experimental results on different weakly supervised MRC datasets show that the proposed methods can help improve models significantly.

Incorporating Syntax and Frame Semantics in Neural Network for Machine Reading Comprehension
Shaoru Guo | Yong Guan | Ru Li | Xiaoli Li | Hongye Tan

Machine reading comprehension (MRC) is one of the most critical yet challenging tasks in natural language understanding(NLU), where both syntax and semantics information of text are essential components for text understanding. It is surprising that jointly considering syntax and semantics in neural networks was never formally reported in literature. This paper makes the first attempt by proposing a novel Syntax and Frame Semantics model for Machine Reading Comprehension (SS-MRC), which takes full advantage of syntax and frame semantics to get richer text representation. Our extensive experimental results demonstrate that SS-MRC performs better than ten state-of-the-art technologies on machine reading comprehension task.

Molweni: A Challenge Multiparty Dialogues-based Machine Reading Comprehension Dataset with Discourse Structure
Jiaqi Li | Ming Liu | Min-Yen Kan | Zihao Zheng | Zekun Wang | Wenqiang Lei | Ting Liu | Bing Qin

Research into the area of multiparty dialog has grown considerably over recent years. We present the Molweni dataset, a machine reading comprehension (MRC) dataset with discourse structure built over multiparty dialog. Molweni’s source samples from the Ubuntu Chat Corpus, including 10,000 dialogs comprising 88,303 utterances. We annotate 30,066 questions on this corpus, including both answerable and unanswerable questions. Molweni also uniquely contributes discourse dependency annotations in a modified Segmented Discourse Representation Theory (SDRT; Asher et al., 2016) style for all of its multiparty dialogs, contributing large-scale (78,245 annotated discourse relations) data to bear on the task of multiparty dialog discourse parsing. Our experiments show that Molweni is a challenging dataset for current MRC models: BERT-wwm, a current, strong SQuAD 2.0 performer, achieves only 67.7% F1 on Molweni’s questions, a 20+% significant drop as compared against its SQuAD 2.0 performance.

Joint Event Extraction with Hierarchical Policy Network
Peixin Huang | Xiang Zhao | Ryuichi Takanobu | Zhen Tan | Weidong Xiao

Most existing work on event extraction (EE) either follows a pipelined manner or uses a joint structure but is pipelined in essence. As a result, these efforts fail to utilize information interactions among event triggers, event arguments, and argument roles, which causes information redundancy. In view of this, we propose to exploit the role information of the arguments in an event and devise a Hierarchical Policy Network (HPNet) to perform joint EE. The whole EE process is fulfilled through a two-level hierarchical structure consisting of two policy networks for event detection and argument detection. The deep information interactions among the subtasks are realized, and it is more natural to deal with multiple events issue. Extensive experiments on ACE2005 and TAC2015 demonstrate the superiority of HPNet, leading to state-of-the-art performance and is more powerful for sentences with multiple events.

Automated Graph Generation at Sentence Level for Reading Comprehension Based on Conceptual Graphs
Wan-Hsuan Lin | Chun-Shien Lu

This paper proposes a novel miscellaneous-context-based method to convert a sentence into a knowledge embedding in the form of a directed graph. We adopt the idea of conceptual graphs to frame for the miscellaneous textual information into conceptual compactness. We first empirically observe that this graph representation method can (1) accommodate the slot-filling challenges in typical question answering and (2) access to the sentence-level graph structure in order to explicitly capture the neighbouring connections of reference concept nodes. Secondly, we propose a task-agnostic semantics-measured module, which cooperates with the graph representation method, in order to (3) project an edge of a sentence-level graph to the space of semantic relevance with respect to the corresponding concept nodes. As a result of experiments on the QA-type relation extraction, the combination of the graph representation and the semantics-measured module achieves the high accuracy of answer prediction and offers human-comprehensible graphical interpretation for every well-formed sample. To our knowledge, our approach is the first towards the interpretable process of learning vocabulary representations with the experimental evidence.

ForceReader: a BERT-based Interactive Machine Reading Comprehension Model with Attention Separation
Zheng Chen | Kangjian Wu

The release of BERT revolutionized the development of NLP. Various BERT-based reading comprehension models have been proposed, thus updating the performance ranking of reading comprehension tasks. However, the above BERT-based models inherently employ BERT’s combined input method, representing the input question and paragraph as a single packed sequence, without further modification for reading comprehension. This paper makes an in-depth analysis of this input method, proposes a problem of this approach. We call it attention deconcentration. Accordingly, this paper proposes ForceReader, a BERT-based interactive machine reading comprehension model. First, ForceReader proposes a novel solution called the Attention Separation Representation to respond to attention deconcentration. Moreover, starting from the logical nature of reading comprehension tasks, ForceReader adopts Multi-mode Reading and Interactive Reasoning strategy. For the calculation of attention, ForceReader employs Conditional Background Attention to solve the lack of the overall context semantic after the separation of attention. As an integral model, ForceReader shows a significant improvement in reading comprehension tasks compared to BERT. Moreover, this paper makes detailed visual analyses of the attention and propose strategies accordingly. This may be another argument to the explanations of the attention.

NUT-RC: Noisy User-generated Text-oriented Reading Comprehension
Rongtao Huang | Bowei Zou | Yu Hong | Wei Zhang | AiTi Aw | Guodong Zhou

Reading comprehension (RC) on social media such as Twitter is a critical and challenging task due to its noisy, informal, but informative nature. Most existing RC models are developed on formal datasets such as news articles and Wikipedia documents, which severely limit their performances when directly applied to the noisy and informal texts in social media. Moreover, these models only focus on a certain type of RC, extractive or generative, but ignore the integration of them. To well address these challenges, we come up with a noisy user-generated text-oriented RC model. In particular, we first introduce a set of text normalizers to transform the noisy and informal texts to the formal ones. Then, we integrate the extractive and the generative RC model by a multi-task learning mechanism and an answer selection module. Experimental results on TweetQA demonstrate that our NUT-RC model significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art social media-oriented RC models.

To What Degree Can Language Borders Be Blurred In BERT-based Multilingual Spoken Language Understanding?
Quynh Do | Judith Gaspers | Tobias Roeding | Melanie Bradford

This paper addresses the question as to what degree a BERT-based multilingual Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) model can transfer knowledge across languages. Through experiments we will show that, although it works substantially well even on distant language groups, there is still a gap to the ideal multilingual performance. In addition, we propose a novel BERT-based adversarial model architecture to learn language-shared and language-specific representations for multilingual SLU. Our experimental results prove that the proposed model is capable of narrowing the gap to the ideal multilingual performance.

Cross-lingual Machine Reading Comprehension with Language Branch Knowledge Distillation
Junhao Liu | Linjun Shou | Jian Pei | Ming Gong | Min Yang | Daxin Jiang

Cross-lingual Machine Reading Comprehension (CLMRC) remains a challenging problem due to the lack of large-scale annotated datasets in low-source languages, such as Arabic, Hindi, and Vietnamese. Many previous approaches use translation data by translating from a rich-source language, such as English, to low-source languages as auxiliary supervision. However, how to effectively leverage translation data and reduce the impact of noise introduced by translation remains onerous. In this paper, we tackle this challenge and enhance the cross-lingual transferring performance by a novel augmentation approach named Language Branch Machine Reading Comprehension (LBMRC). A language branch is a group of passages in one single language paired with questions in all target languages. We train multiple machine reading comprehension (MRC) models proficient in individual language based on LBMRC. Then, we devise a multilingual distillation approach to amalgamate knowledge from multiple language branch models to a single model for all target languages. Combining the LBMRC and multilingual distillation can be more robust to the data noises, therefore, improving the model’s cross-lingual ability. Meanwhile, the produced single multilingual model can apply to all target languages, which saves the cost of training, inference, and maintenance for multiple models. Extensive experiments on two CLMRC benchmarks clearly show the effectiveness of our proposed method.

Neural Networks approaches focused on French Spoken Language Understanding: application to the MEDIA Evaluation Task
Sahar Ghannay | Christophe Servan | Sophie Rosset

In this paper, we present a study on a French Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) task: the MEDIA task. Many works and studies have been proposed for many tasks, but most of them are focused on English language and tasks. The exploration of a richer language like French within the framework of a SLU task implies to recent approaches to handle this difficulty. Since the MEDIA task seems to be one of the most difficult, according several previous studies, we propose to explore Neural Networks approaches focusing of three aspects: firstly, the Neural Network inputs and more specifically the word embeddings; secondly, we compared French version of BERT against the best setup through different ways; Finally, the comparison against State-of-the-Art approaches. Results show that the word embeddings trained on a small corpus need to be updated during SLU model training. Furthermore, the French BERT fine-tuned approaches outperform the classical Neural Network Architectures and achieves state of the art results. However, the contextual embeddings extracted from one of the French BERT approaches achieve comparable results in comparison to word embedding, when integrated into the proposed neural architecture.

Syntactic Graph Convolutional Network for Spoken Language Understanding
Keqing He | Shuyu Lei | Yushu Yang | Huixing Jiang | Zhongyuan Wang

Slot filling and intent detection are two major tasks for spoken language understanding. In most existing work, these two tasks are built as joint models with multi-task learning with no consideration of prior linguistic knowledge. In this paper, we propose a novel joint model that applies a graph convolutional network over dependency trees to integrate the syntactic structure for learning slot filling and intent detection jointly. Experimental results show that our proposed model achieves state-of-the-art performance on two public benchmark datasets and outperforms existing work. At last, we apply the BERT model to further improve the performance on both slot filling and intent detection.

Conversational Machine Comprehension: a Literature Review
Somil Gupta | Bhanu Pratap Singh Rawat | Hong Yu

Conversational Machine Comprehension (CMC), a research track in conversational AI, expects the machine to understand an open-domain natural language text and thereafter engage in a multi-turn conversation to answer questions related to the text. While most of the research in Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC) revolves around single-turn question answering (QA), multi-turn CMC has recently gained prominence, thanks to the advancement in natural language understanding via neural language models such as BERT and the introduction of large-scale conversational datasets such as CoQA and QuAC. The rise in interest has, however, led to a flurry of concurrent publications, each with a different yet structurally similar modeling approach and an inconsistent view of the surrounding literature. With the volume of model submissions to conversational datasets increasing every year, there exists a need to consolidate the scattered knowledge in this domain to streamline future research. This literature review attempts at providing a holistic overview of CMC with an emphasis on the common trends across recently published models, specifically in their approach to tackling conversational history. The review synthesizes a generic framework for CMC models while highlighting the differences in recent approaches and intends to serve as a compendium of CMC for future researchers.

Robust Machine Reading Comprehension by Learning Soft labels
Zhenyu Zhao | Shuangzhi Wu | Muyun Yang | Kehai Chen | Tiejun Zhao

Neural models have achieved great success on the task of machine reading comprehension (MRC), which are typically trained on hard labels. We argue that hard labels limit the model capability on generalization due to the label sparseness problem. In this paper, we propose a robust training method for MRC models to address this problem. Our method consists of three strategies, 1) label smoothing, 2) word overlapping, 3) distribution prediction. All of them help to train models on soft labels. We validate our approach on the representative architecture - ALBERT. Experimental results show that our method can greatly boost the baseline with 1% improvement in average, and achieve state-of-the-art performance on NewsQA and QUOREF.

Reinforced Multi-task Approach for Multi-hop Question Generation
Deepak Gupta | Hardik Chauhan | Ravi Tej Akella | Asif Ekbal | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Question generation (QG) attempts to solve the inverse of question answering (QA) problem by generating a natural language question given a document and an answer. While sequence to sequence neural models surpass rule-based systems for QG, they are limited in their capacity to focus on more than one supporting fact. For QG, we often require multiple supporting facts to generate high-quality questions. Inspired by recent works on multi-hop reasoning in QA, we take up Multi-hop question generation, which aims at generating relevant questions based on supporting facts in the context. We employ multitask learning with the auxiliary task of answer-aware supporting fact prediction to guide the question generator. In addition, we also proposed a question-aware reward function in a Reinforcement Learning (RL) framework to maximize the utilization of the supporting facts. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach through experiments on the multi-hop question answering dataset, HotPotQA. Empirical evaluation shows our model to outperform the single-hop neural question generation models on both automatic evaluation metrics such as BLEU, METEOR, and ROUGE and human evaluation metrics for quality and coverage of the generated questions.

Knowledge-enriched, Type-constrained and Grammar-guided Question Generation over Knowledge Bases
Sheng Bi | Xiya Cheng | Yuan-Fang Li | Yongzhen Wang | Guilin Qi

Question generation over knowledge bases (KBQG) aims at generating natural-language questions about a subgraph, i.e. a set of triples. Two main challenges still face the current crop of encoder-decoder-based methods, especially on small subgraphs: (1) low diversity and poor fluency due to the limited information contained in the subgraphs, and (2) semantic drift due to the decoder’s oblivion of the semantics of the answer entity. We propose an innovative knowledge-enriched, type-constrained and grammar-guided KBQG model, named KTG, to addresses the above challenges. In our model, the encoder is equipped with auxiliary information from the KB, and the decoder is constrained with word types during QG. Specifically, entity domain and description, as well as relation hierarchy information are considered to construct question contexts, while a conditional copy mechanism is incorporated to modulate question semantics according to current word types. Besides, a novel reward function featuring grammatical similarity is designed to improve both generative richness and syntactic correctness via reinforcement learning. Extensive experiments show that our proposed model outperforms existing methods by a significant margin on two widely-used benchmark datasets SimpleQuestion and PathQuestion.

Adapting a Language Model for Controlled Affective Text Generation
Tushar Goswamy | Ishika Singh | Ahsan Barkati | Ashutosh Modi

Human use language not just to convey information but also to express their inner feelings and mental states. In this work, we adapt the state-of-the-art language generation models to generate affective (emotional) text. We posit a model capable of generating affect-driven and topic focused sentences without losing grammatical correctness as the affect intensity increases. We propose to incorporate emotion as prior for the probabilistic state-of-the-art text generation model such as GPT-2. The model gives a user the flexibility to control the category and intensity of emotion as well as the topic of the generated text. Previous attempts at modelling fine-grained emotions fall out on grammatical correctness at extreme intensities, but our model is resilient to this and delivers robust results at all intensities. We conduct automated evaluations and human studies to test the performance of our model, and provide a detailed comparison of the results with other models. In all evaluations, our model outperforms existing affective text generation models.

Generating Instructions at Different Levels of Abstraction
Arne Köhn | Julia Wichlacz | Álvaro Torralba | Daniel Höller | Jörg Hoffmann | Alexander Koller

When generating technical instructions, it is often convenient to describe complex objects in the world at different levels of abstraction. A novice user might need an object explained piece by piece, while for an expert, talking about the complex object (e.g. a wall or railing) directly may be more succinct and efficient. We show how to generate building instructions at different levels of abstraction in Minecraft. We introduce the use of hierarchical planning to this end, a method from AI planning which can capture the structure of complex objects neatly. A crowdsourcing evaluation shows that the choice of abstraction level matters to users, and that an abstraction strategy which balances low-level and high-level object descriptions compares favorably to ones which don’t.

“Judge me by my size (noun), do you?” YodaLib: A Demographic-Aware Humor Generation Framework
Aparna Garimella | Carmen Banea | Nabil Hossain | Rada Mihalcea

The subjective nature of humor makes computerized humor generation a challenging task. We propose an automatic humor generation framework for filling the blanks in Mad Libs® stories, while accounting for the demographic backgrounds of the desired audience. We collect a dataset consisting of such stories, which are filled in and judged by carefully selected workers on Amazon Mechanical Turk. We build upon the BERT platform to predict location-biased word fillings in incomplete sentences, and we fine-tune BERT to classify location-specific humor in a sentence. We leverage these components to produce YodaLib, a fully-automated Mad Libs style humor generation framework, which selects and ranks appropriate candidate words and sentences in order to generate a coherent and funny story tailored to certain demographics. Our experimental results indicate that YodaLib outperforms a previous semi-automated approach proposed for this task, while also surpassing human annotators in both qualitative and quantitative analyses.

Does Chinese BERT Encode Word Structure?
Yile Wang | Leyang Cui | Yue Zhang

Contextualized representations give significantly improved results for a wide range of NLP tasks. Much work has been dedicated to analyzing the features captured by representative models such as BERT. Existing work finds that syntactic, semantic and word sense knowledge are encoded in BERT. However, little work has investigated word features for character languages such as Chinese. We investigate Chinese BERT using both attention weight distribution statistics and probing tasks, finding that (1) word information is captured by BERT; (2) word-level features are mostly in the middle representation layers; (3) downstream tasks make different use of word features in BERT, with POS tagging and chunking relying the most on word features, and natural language inference relying the least on such features.

Noise Isn’t Always Negative: Countering Exposure Bias in Sequence-to-Sequence Inflection Models
Garrett Nicolai | Miikka Silfverberg

Morphological inflection, like many sequence-to-sequence tasks, sees great performance from recurrent neural architectures when data is plentiful, but performance falls off sharply in lower-data settings. We investigate one aspect of neural seq2seq models that we hypothesize contributes to overfitting - teacher forcing. By creating different training and test conditions, exposure bias increases the likelihood that a system too closely models its training data. Experiments show that teacher-forced models struggle to recover when they enter unknown territory. However, a simple modification to the training algorithm to more closely mimic test conditions creates models that are better able to generalize to unseen environments.

Morphologically Aware Word-Level Translation
Paula Czarnowska | Sebastian Ruder | Ryan Cotterell | Ann Copestake

We propose a novel morphologically aware probability model for bilingual lexicon induction, which jointly models lexeme translation and inflectional morphology in a structured way. Our model exploits the basic linguistic intuition that the lexeme is the key lexical unit of meaning, while inflectional morphology provides additional syntactic information. This approach leads to substantial performance improvements—19% average improvement in accuracy across 6 language pairs over the state of the art in the supervised setting and 16% in the weakly supervised setting. As another contribution, we highlight issues associated with modern BLI that stem from ignoring inflectional morphology, and propose three suggestions for improving the task.

Analogy Models for Neural Word Inflection
Ling Liu | Mans Hulden

Analogy is assumed to be the cognitive mechanism speakers resort to in order to inflect an unknown form of a lexeme based on knowledge of other words in a language. In this process, an analogy is formed between word forms within an inflectional paradigm but also across paradigms. As neural network models for inflection are typically trained only on lemma-target form pairs, we propose three new ways to provide neural models with additional source forms to strengthen analogy-formation, and compare our methods to other approaches in the literature. We show that the proposed methods of providing a Transformer sequence-to-sequence model with additional analogy sources in the input are consistently effective, and improve upon recent state-of-the-art results on 46 languages, particularly in low-resource settings. We also propose a method to combine the analogy-motivated approach with data hallucination or augmentation. We find that the two approaches are complementary to each other and combining the two approaches is especially helpful when the training data is extremely limited.

Computational Modeling of Affixoid Behavior in Chinese Morphology
Yu-Hsiang Tseng | Shu-Kai Hsieh | Pei-Yi Chen | Sara Court

The morphological status of affixes in Chinese has long been a matter of debate. How one might apply the conventional criteria of free/bound and content/function features to distinguish word-forming affixes from bound roots in Chinese is still far from clear. Issues involving polysemy and diachronic dynamics further blur the boundaries. In this paper, we propose three quantitative features in a computational model of affixoid behavior in Mandarin Chinese. The results show that, except for in a very few cases, there are no clear criteria that can be used to identify an affix’s status in an isolating language like Chinese. A diachronic check using contextualized embeddings with the WordNet Sense Inventory also demonstrates the possible role of the polysemy of lexical roots across diachronic settings.

One Comment from One Perspective: An Effective Strategy for Enhancing Automatic Music Comment
Tengfei Huo | Zhiqiang Liu | Jinchao Zhang | Jie Zhou

The automatic generation of music comments is of great significance for increasing the popularity of music and the music platform’s activity. In human music comments, there exists high distinction and diverse perspectives for the same song. In other words, for a song, different comments stem from different musical perspectives. However, to date, this characteristic has not been considered well in research on automatic comment generation. The existing methods tend to generate common and meaningless comments. In this paper, we propose an effective multi-perspective strategy to enhance the diversity of the generated comments. The experiment results on two music comment datasets show that our proposed model can effectively generate a series of diverse music comments based on different perspectives, which outperforms state-of-the-art baselines by a substantial margin.

A Tale of Two Linkings: Dynamically Gating between Schema Linking and Structural Linking for Text-to-SQL Parsing
Sanxing Chen | Aidan San | Xiaodong Liu | Yangfeng Ji

In Text-to-SQL semantic parsing, selecting the correct entities (tables and columns) for the generated SQL query is both crucial and challenging; the parser is required to connect the natural language (NL) question and the SQL query to the structured knowledge in the database. We formulate two linking processes to address this challenge: schema linking which links explicit NL mentions to the database and structural linking which links the entities in the output SQL with their structural relationships in the database schema. Intuitively, the effectiveness of these two linking processes changes based on the entity being generated, thus we propose to dynamically choose between them using a gating mechanism. Integrating the proposed method with two graph neural network-based semantic parsers together with BERT representations demonstrates substantial gains in parsing accuracy on the challenging Spider dataset. Analyses show that our proposed method helps to enhance the structure of the model output when generating complicated SQL queries and offers more explainable predictions.

Autoregressive Affective Language Forecasting: A Self-Supervised Task
Matthew Matero | H. Andrew Schwartz

Human natural language is mentioned at a specific point in time while human emotions change over time. While much work has established a strong link between language use and emotional states, few have attempted to model emotional language in time. Here, we introduce the task of affective language forecasting – predicting future change in language based on past changes of language, a task with real-world applications such as treating mental health or forecasting trends in consumer confidence. We establish some of the fundamental autoregressive characteristics of the task (necessary history size, static versus dynamic length, varying time-step resolutions) and then build on popular sequence models for words to instead model sequences of language-based emotion in time. Over a novel Twitter dataset of 1,900 users and weekly + daily scores for 6 emotions and 2 additional linguistic attributes, we find a novel dual-sequence GRU model with decayed hidden states achieves best results (r = .66) significantly out-predicting, e.g., a moving averaging based on the past time-steps (r = .49). We make our anonymized dataset as well as task setup and evaluation code available for others to build on.

Solving Math Word Problems with Multi-Encoders and Multi-Decoders
Yibin Shen | Cheqing Jin

Math word problems solving remains a challenging task where potential semantic and mathematical logic need to be mined from natural language. Although previous researches employ the Seq2Seq technique to transform text descriptions into equation expressions, most of them achieve inferior performance due to insufficient consideration in the design of encoder and decoder. Specifically, these models only consider input/output objects as sequences, ignoring the important structural information contained in text descriptions and equation expressions. To overcome those defects, a model with multi-encoders and multi-decoders is proposed in this paper, which combines sequence-based encoder and graph-based encoder to enhance the representation of text descriptions, and generates different equation expressions via sequence-based decoder and tree-based decoder. Experimental results on the dataset Math23K show that our model outperforms existing state-of-the-art methods.

End to End Chinese Lexical Fusion Recognition with Sememe Knowledge
Yijiang Liu | Meishan Zhang | Donghong Ji

In this paper, we present Chinese lexical fusion recognition, a new task which could be regarded as one kind of coreference recognition. First, we introduce the task in detail, showing the relationship with coreference recognition and differences from the existing tasks. Second, we propose an end-to-end model for the task, handling mentions as well as coreference relationship jointly. The model exploits the state-of-the-art contextualized BERT representations as an encoder, and is further enhanced with the sememe knowledge from HowNet by graph attention networks. We manually annotate a benchmark dataset for the task and then conduct experiments on it. Results demonstrate that our final model is effective and competitive for the task. Detailed analysis is offered for comprehensively understanding the new task and our proposed model.

Comparison by Conversion: Reverse-Engineering UCCA from Syntax and Lexical Semantics
Daniel Hershcovich | Nathan Schneider | Dotan Dvir | Jakob Prange | Miryam de Lhoneux | Omri Abend

Building robust natural language understanding systems will require a clear characterization of whether and how various linguistic meaning representations complement each other. To perform a systematic comparative analysis, we evaluate the mapping between meaning representations from different frameworks using two complementary methods: (i) a rule-based converter, and (ii) a supervised delexicalized parser that parses to one framework using only information from the other as features. We apply these methods to convert the STREUSLE corpus (with syntactic and lexical semantic annotations) to UCCA (a graph-structured full-sentence meaning representation). Both methods yield surprisingly accurate target representations, close to fully supervised UCCA parser quality—indicating that UCCA annotations are partially redundant with STREUSLE annotations. Despite this substantial convergence between frameworks, we find several important areas of divergence.

Logic-guided Semantic Representation Learning for Zero-Shot Relation Classification
Juan Li | Ruoxu Wang | Ningyu Zhang | Wen Zhang | Fan Yang | Huajun Chen

Relation classification aims to extract semantic relations between entity pairs from the sentences. However, most existing methods can only identify seen relation classes that occurred during training. To recognize unseen relations at test time, we explore the problem of zero-shot relation classification. Previous work regards the problem as reading comprehension or textual entailment, which have to rely on artificial descriptive information to improve the understandability of relation types. Thus, rich semantic knowledge of the relation labels is ignored. In this paper, we propose a novel logic-guided semantic representation learning model for zero-shot relation classification. Our approach builds connections between seen and unseen relations via implicit and explicit semantic representations with knowledge graph embeddings and logic rules. Extensive experimental results demonstrate that our method can generalize to unseen relation types and achieve promising improvements.

Semantic Role Labeling with Heterogeneous Syntactic Knowledge
Qingrong Xia | Rui Wang | Zhenghua Li | Yue Zhang | Min Zhang

Recently, due to the interplay between syntax and semantics, incorporating syntactic knowledge into neural semantic role labeling (SRL) has achieved much attention. Most of the previous syntax-aware SRL works focus on explicitly modeling homogeneous syntactic knowledge over tree outputs. In this work, we propose to encode heterogeneous syntactic knowledge for SRL from both explicit and implicit representations. First, we introduce graph convolutional networks to explicitly encode multiple heterogeneous dependency parse trees. Second, we extract the implicit syntactic representations from syntactic parser trained with heterogeneous treebanks. Finally, we inject the two types of heterogeneous syntax-aware representations into the base SRL model as extra inputs. We conduct experiments on two widely-used benchmark datasets, i.e., Chinese Proposition Bank 1.0 and English CoNLL-2005 dataset. Experimental results show that incorporating heterogeneous syntactic knowledge brings significant improvements over strong baselines. We further conduct detailed analysis to gain insights on the usefulness of heterogeneous (vs. homogeneous) syntactic knowledge and the effectiveness of our proposed approaches for modeling such knowledge.

Normalizing Compositional Structures Across Graphbanks
Lucia Donatelli | Jonas Groschwitz | Matthias Lindemann | Alexander Koller | Pia Weißenhorn

The emergence of a variety of graph-based meaning representations (MRs) has sparked an important conversation about how to adequately represent semantic structure. MRs exhibit structural differences that reflect different theoretical and design considerations, presenting challenges to uniform linguistic analysis and cross-framework semantic parsing. Here, we ask the question of which design differences between MRs are meaningful and semantically-rooted, and which are superficial. We present a methodology for normalizing discrepancies between MRs at the compositional level (Lindemann et al., 2019), finding that we can normalize the majority of divergent phenomena using linguistically-grounded rules. Our work significantly increases the match in compositional structure between MRs and improves multi-task learning (MTL) in a low-resource setting, serving as a proof of concept for future broad-scale cross-MR normalization.

Leveraging WordNet Paths for Neural Hypernym Prediction
Yejin Cho | Juan Diego Rodriguez | Yifan Gao | Katrin Erk

We formulate the problem of hypernym prediction as a sequence generation task, where the sequences are taxonomy paths in WordNet. Our experiments with encoder-decoder models show that training to generate taxonomy paths can improve the performance of direct hypernym prediction. As a simple but powerful model, the hypo2path model achieves state-of-the-art performance, outperforming the best benchmark by 4.11 points in hit-at-one (H@1).

When Beards Start Shaving Men: A Subject-object Resolution Test Suite for Morpho-syntactic and Semantic Model Introspection
Patricia Fischer | Daniël de Kok | Erhard Hinrichs

In this paper, we introduce the SORTS Subject-Object Resolution Test Suite of German minimal sentence pairs for model introspection. The full test suite consists of 18,502 transitive clauses with manual annotations of 8 word order patterns, 5 morphological and syntactic and 11 semantic property classes. The test suite has been constructed such that sentences are minimal pairs with respect to a property class. Each property has been selected with a particular focus on its effect on subject-object resolution, the second-most error-prone task within syntactic parsing of German after prepositional phrase attachment (Fischer et al., 2019). The size and detail of annotations make the test suite a valuable resource for natural language processing applications with syntactic and semantic tasks. We use dependency parsing to demonstrate how the test suite allows insights into the process of subject-object resolution. Based on the test suite annotations, word order and case syncretism can be identified as most important factors that affect subject-object resolution.

Modality Enriched Neural Network for Metaphor Detection
Mingyu Wan | Baixi Xing

Metaphor as a cognitive mechanism in human’s conceptual system manifests itself an effective way for language communication. Although being intuitively sensible for human, metaphor detection is still a challenging task due to the subtle ontological differences between metaphorical and non-metaphorical expressions. This work proposes a modality enriched deep learning model for tackling this unsolved issue. It provides a new perspective for understanding metaphor as a modality shift, as in ‘sweet voice’. It also attempts to enhance metaphor detection by combining deep learning with effective linguistic insight. Extending the work at Wan et al. (2020), we concatenate word sensorimotor scores (Lynott et al., 2019) with word vectors as the input of attention-based Bi-LSTM using a benchmark dataset–the VUA corpus. The experimental results show great F1 improvement (above 0.5%) of the proposed model over other methods in record, demonstrating the usefulness of leveraging modality norms for metaphor detection.

Coordination Boundary Identification without Labeled Data for Compound Terms Disambiguation
Yuya Sawada | Takashi Wada | Takayoshi Shibahara | Hiroki Teranishi | Shuhei Kondo | Hiroyuki Shindo | Taro Watanabe | Yuji Matsumoto

We propose a simple method for nominal coordination boundary identification. As the main strength of our method, it can identify the coordination boundaries without training on labeled data, and can be applied even if coordination structure annotations are not available. Our system employs pre-trained word embeddings to measure the similarities of words and detects the span of coordination, assuming that conjuncts share syntactic and semantic similarities. We demonstrate that our method yields good results in identifying coordinated noun phrases in the GENIA corpus and is comparable to a recent supervised method for the case when the coordinator conjoins simple noun phrases.

Learning Semantic Correspondences from Noisy Data-text Pairs by Local-to-Global Alignments
Feng Nie | Jinpeng Wang | Chin-Yew Lin

Learning semantic correspondences between structured input data (e.g., slot-value pairs) and associated texts is a core problem for many downstream NLP applications, e.g., data-to-text generation. Large-scale datasets recently proposed for generation contain loosely corresponding data text pairs, where part of spans in text cannot be aligned to its incomplete paired input. To learn semantic correspondences from such datasets, we propose a two-stage local-to-global alignment (L2GA) framework. First, a local model based on multi-instance learning is applied to build alignments for texts spans that can be directly grounded to its paired structured input. Then, a novel global model built upon a memory-guided conditional random field (CRF) layer aims to infer missing alignments for text spans which not supported by paired incomplete inputs, where the memory is designed to leverage alignment clues provided by the local model to strengthen the global model. In this way, the local model and global model can work jointly to learn semantic correspondences in the same framework. Experimental results show that our proposed method can be generalized to both restaurant and computer domains and improve the alignment accuracy.

Definition Frames: Using Definitions for Hybrid Concept Representations
Evangelia Spiliopoulou | Artidoro Pagnoni | Eduard Hovy

Advances in word representations have shown tremendous improvements in downstream NLP tasks, but lack semantic interpretability. In this paper, we introduce Definition Frames (DF), a matrix distributed representation extracted from definitions, where each dimension is semantically interpretable. DF dimensions correspond to the Qualia structure relations: a set of relations that uniquely define a term. Our results show that DFs have competitive performance with other distributional semantic approaches on word similarity tasks.

QANom: Question-Answer driven SRL for Nominalizations
Ayal Klein | Jonathan Mamou | Valentina Pyatkin | Daniela Stepanov | Hangfeng He | Dan Roth | Luke Zettlemoyer | Ido Dagan

We propose a new semantic scheme for capturing predicate-argument relations for nominalizations, termed QANom. This scheme extends the QA-SRL formalism (He et al., 2015), modeling the relations between nominalizations and their arguments via natural language question-answer pairs. We construct the first QANom dataset using controlled crowdsourcing, analyze its quality and compare it to expertly annotated nominal-SRL annotations, as well as to other QA-driven annotations. In addition, we train a baseline QANom parser for identifying nominalizations and labeling their arguments with question-answer pairs. Finally, we demonstrate the extrinsic utility of our annotations for downstream tasks using both indirect supervision and zero-shot settings.

Event Coreference Resolution with their Paraphrases and Argument-aware Embeddings
Yutao Zeng | Xiaolong Jin | Saiping Guan | Jiafeng Guo | Xueqi Cheng

Event coreference resolution aims to classify all event mentions that refer to the same real-world event into the same group, which is necessary to information aggregation and many downstream applications. To resolve event coreference, existing methods usually calculate the similarities between event mentions and between specific kinds of event arguments. However, they fail to accurately identify paraphrase relations between events and may suffer from error propagation while extracting event components (i.e., event mentions and their arguments). Therefore, we propose a new model based on Event-specific Paraphrases and Argument-aware Semantic Embeddings, thus called EPASE, for event coreference resolution. EPASE recognizes deep paraphrase relations in an event-specific context of sentences and can cover event paraphrases of more situations, bringing about a better generalization. Additionally, the embeddings of argument roles are encoded into event embedding without relying on a fixed number and type of arguments, which results in the better scalability of EPASE. Experiments on both within- and cross-document event coreference demonstrate its consistent and significant superiority compared to existing methods.

Studying Taxonomy Enrichment on Diachronic WordNet Versions
Irina Nikishina | Varvara Logacheva | Alexander Panchenko | Natalia Loukachevitch

Ontologies, taxonomies, and thesauri have always been in high demand in a large number of NLP tasks. However, most studies are focused on the creation of lexical resources rather than the maintenance of the existing ones and keeping them up-to-date. In this paper, we address the problem of taxonomy enrichment. Namely, we explore the possibilities of taxonomy extension in a resource-poor setting and present several methods which are applicable to a large number of languages. We also create novel English and Russian datasets for training and evaluating taxonomy enrichment systems and describe a technique of creating such datasets for other languages.

VICTR: Visual Information Captured Text Representation for Text-to-Vision Multimodal Tasks
Caren Han | Siqu Long | Siwen Luo | Kunze Wang | Josiah Poon

Text-to-image multimodal tasks, generating/retrieving an image from a given text description, are extremely challenging tasks since raw text descriptions cover quite limited information in order to fully describe visually realistic images. We propose a new visual contextual text representation for text-to-image multimodal tasks, VICTR, which captures rich visual semantic information of objects from the text input. First, we use the text description as initial input and conduct dependency parsing to extract the syntactic structure and analyse the semantic aspect, including object quantities, to extract the scene graph. Then, we train the extracted objects, attributes, and relations in the scene graph and the corresponding geometric relation information using Graph Convolutional Networks, and it generates text representation which integrates textual and visual semantic information. The text representation is aggregated with word-level and sentence-level embedding to generate both visual contextual word and sentence representation. For the evaluation, we attached VICTR to the state-of-the-art models in text-to-image generation.VICTR is easily added to existing models and improves across both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

Finding the Evidence: Localization-aware Answer Prediction for Text Visual Question Answering
Wei Han | Hantao Huang | Tao Han

Image text carries essential information to understand the scene and perform reasoning. Text-based visual question answering (text VQA) task focuses on visual questions that require reading text in images. Existing text VQA systems generate an answer by selecting from optical character recognition (OCR) texts or a fixed vocabulary. Positional information of text is underused and there is a lack of evidence for the generated answer. As such, this paper proposes a localization-aware answer prediction network (LaAP-Net) to address this challenge. Our LaAP-Net not only generates the answer to the question but also predicts a bounding box as evidence of the generated answer. Moreover, a context-enriched OCR representation (COR) for multimodal fusion is proposed to facilitate the localization task. Our proposed LaAP-Net outperforms existing approaches on three benchmark datasets for the text VQA task by a noticeable margin.

Interactive Key-Value Memory-augmented Attention for Image Paragraph Captioning
Chunpu Xu | Yu Li | Chengming Li | Xiang Ao | Min Yang | Jinwen Tian

Image paragraph captioning (IPC) aims to generate a fine-grained paragraph to describe the visual content of an image. Significant progress has been made by deep neural networks, in which the attention mechanism plays an essential role. However, conventional attention mechanisms tend to ignore the past alignment information, which often results in problems of repetitive captioning and incomplete captioning. In this paper, we propose an Interactive key-value Memory- augmented Attention model for image Paragraph captioning (IMAP) to keep track of the attention history (salient objects coverage information) along with the update-chain of the decoder state and therefore avoid generating repetitive or incomplete image descriptions. In addition, we employ an adaptive attention mechanism to realize adaptive alignment from image regions to caption words, where an image region can be mapped to an arbitrary number of caption words while a caption word can also attend to an arbitrary number of image regions. Extensive experiments on a benchmark dataset (i.e., Stanford) demonstrate the effectiveness of our IMAP model.

Geo-Aware Image Caption Generation
Sofia Nikiforova | Tejaswini Deoskar | Denis Paperno | Yoad Winter

Standard image caption generation systems produce generic descriptions of images and do not utilize any contextual information or world knowledge. In particular, they are unable to generate captions that contain references to the geographic context of an image, for example, the location where a photograph is taken or relevant geographic objects around an image location. In this paper, we develop a geo-aware image caption generation system, which incorporates geographic contextual information into a standard image captioning pipeline. We propose a way to build an image-specific representation of the geographic context and adapt the caption generation network to produce appropriate geographic names in the image descriptions. We evaluate our system on a novel captioning dataset that contains contextualized captions and geographic metadata and achieve substantial improvements in BLEU, ROUGE, METEOR and CIDEr scores. We also introduce a new metric to assess generated geographic references directly and empirically demonstrate our system’s ability to produce captions with relevant and factually accurate geographic referencing.

Bridge the Gap: High-level Semantic Planning for Image Captioning
Chenxi Yuan | Yang Bai | Chun Yuan

Recent image captioning models have made much progress for exploring the multi-modal interaction, such as attention mechanisms. Though these mechanisms can boost the interaction, there are still two gaps between the visual and language domains: (1) the gap between the visual features and textual semantics, (2) the gap between the disordering of visual features and the ordering of texts. To bridge the gaps we propose a high-level semantic planning (HSP) mechanism that incorporates both a semantic reconstruction and an explicit order planning. We integrate the planning mechanism to the attention based caption model and propose the High-level Semantic PLanning based Attention Network (HS-PLAN). First, an attention based reconstruction module is designed to reconstruct the visual features with high-level semantic information. Then we apply a pointer network to serialize the features and obtain the explicit order plan to guide the generation. Experiments conducted on MS COCO show that our model outperforms previous methods and achieves the state-of-the-art performance of 133.4% CIDEr-D score.

Interactively-Propagative Attention Learning for Implicit Discourse Relation Recognition
Huibin Ruan | Yu Hong | Yang Xu | Zhen Huang | Guodong Zhou | Min Zhang

We tackle implicit discourse relation recognition. Both self-attention and interactive-attention mechanisms have been applied for attention-aware representation learning, which improves the current discourse analysis models. To take advantages of the two attention mechanisms simultaneously, we develop a propagative attention learning model using a cross-coupled two-channel network. We experiment on Penn Discourse Treebank. The test results demonstrate that our model yields substantial improvements over the baselines (BiLSTM and BERT).

Dual Attention Model for Citation Recommendation
Yang Zhang | Qiang Ma

Based on an exponentially increasing number of academic articles, discovering and citing comprehensive and appropriate resources has become a non-trivial task. Conventional citation recommender methods suffer from severe information loss. For example, they do not consider the section of the paper that the user is writing and for which they need to find a citation, the relatedness between the words in the local context (the text span that describes a citation), or the importance on each word from the local context. These shortcomings make such methods insufficient for recommending adequate citations to academic manuscripts. In this study, we propose a novel embedding-based neural network called “dual attention model for citation recommendation (DACR)” to recommend citations during manuscript preparation. Our method adapts embedding of three semantic information: words in the local context, structural contexts, and the section on which a user is working. A neural network model is designed to maximize the similarity between the embedding of the three input (local context words, section and structural contexts) and the target citation appearing in the context. The core of the neural network model is composed of self-attention and additive attention, where the former aims to capture the relatedness between the contextual words and structural context, and the latter aims to learn the importance of them. The experiments on real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed approach.

Dual Attention Network for Cross-lingual Entity Alignment
Jian Sun | Yu Zhou | Chengqing Zong

Cross-lingual Entity alignment is an essential part of building a knowledge graph, which can help integrate knowledge among different language knowledge graphs. In the real KGs, there exists an imbalance among the information in the same hierarchy of corresponding entities, which results in the heterogeneity of neighborhood structure, making this task challenging. To tackle this problem, we propose a dual attention network for cross-lingual entity alignment (DAEA). Specifically, our dual attention consists of relation-aware graph attention and hierarchical attention. The relation-aware graph attention aims at selectively aggregating multi-hierarchy neighborhood information to alleviate the difference of heterogeneity among counterpart entities. The hierarchical attention adaptively aggregates the low-hierarchy and the high-hierarchy information, which is beneficial to balance the neighborhood information of counterpart entities and distinguish non-counterpart entities with similar structures. Finally, we treat cross-lingual entity alignment as a process of linking prediction. Experimental results on three real-world cross-lingual entity alignment datasets have shown the effectiveness of DAEA.

Task-Aware Representation of Sentences for Generic Text Classification
Kishaloy Halder | Alan Akbik | Josip Krapac | Roland Vollgraf

State-of-the-art approaches for text classification leverage a transformer architecture with a linear layer on top that outputs a class distribution for a given prediction problem. While effective, this approach suffers from conceptual limitations that affect its utility in few-shot or zero-shot transfer learning scenarios. First, the number of classes to predict needs to be pre-defined. In a transfer learning setting, in which new classes are added to an already trained classifier, all information contained in a linear layer is therefore discarded, and a new layer is trained from scratch. Second, this approach only learns the semantics of classes implicitly from training examples, as opposed to leveraging the explicit semantic information provided by the natural language names of the classes. For instance, a classifier trained to predict the topics of news articles might have classes like “business” or “sports” that themselves carry semantic information. Extending a classifier to predict a new class named “politics” with only a handful of training examples would benefit from both leveraging the semantic information in the name of a new class and using the information contained in the already trained linear layer. This paper presents a novel formulation of text classification that addresses these limitations. It imbues the notion of the task at hand into the transformer model itself by factorizing arbitrary classification problems into a generic binary classification problem. We present experiments in few-shot and zero-shot transfer learning that show that our approach significantly outperforms previous approaches on small training data and can even learn to predict new classes with no training examples at all. The implementation of our model is publicly available at:

RANCC: Rationalizing Neural Networks via Concept Clustering
Housam Khalifa Bashier | Mi-Young Kim | Randy Goebel

We propose a new self-explainable model for Natural Language Processing (NLP) text classification tasks. Our approach constructs explanations concurrently with the formulation of classification predictions. To do so, we extract a rationale from the text, then use it to predict a concept of interest as the final prediction. We provide three types of explanations: 1) rationale extraction, 2) a measure of feature importance, and 3) clustering of concepts. In addition, we show how our model can be compressed without applying complicated compression techniques. We experimentally demonstrate our explainability approach on a number of well-known text classification datasets.

LadaBERT: Lightweight Adaptation of BERT through Hybrid Model Compression
Yihuan Mao | Yujing Wang | Chufan Wu | Chen Zhang | Yang Wang | Quanlu Zhang | Yaming Yang | Yunhai Tong | Jing Bai

BERT is a cutting-edge language representation model pre-trained by a large corpus, which achieves superior performances on various natural language understanding tasks. However, a major blocking issue of applying BERT to online services is that it is memory-intensive and leads to unsatisfactory latency of user requests, raising the necessity of model compression. Existing solutions leverage the knowledge distillation framework to learn a smaller model that imitates the behaviors of BERT. However, the training procedure of knowledge distillation is expensive itself as it requires sufficient training data to imitate the teacher model. In this paper, we address this issue by proposing a tailored solution named LadaBERT (Lightweight adaptation of BERT through hybrid model compression), which combines the advantages of different model compression methods, including weight pruning, matrix factorization and knowledge distillation. LadaBERT achieves state-of-the-art accuracy on various public datasets while the training overheads can be reduced by an order of magnitude.

Emotion Classification by Jointly Learning to Lexiconize and Classify
Deyu Zhou | Shuangzhi Wu | Qing Wang | Jun Xie | Zhaopeng Tu | Mu Li

Emotion lexicons have been shown effective for emotion classification (Baziotis et al., 2018). Previous studies handle emotion lexicon construction and emotion classification separately. In this paper, we propose an emotional network (EmNet) to jointly learn sentence emotions and construct emotion lexicons which are dynamically adapted to a given context. The dynamic emotion lexicons are useful for handling words with multiple emotions based on different context, which can effectively improve the classification accuracy. We validate the approach on two representative architectures – LSTM and BERT, demonstrating its superiority on identifying emotions in Tweets. Our model outperforms several approaches proposed in previous studies and achieves new state-of-the-art on the benchmark Twitter dataset.

Multi-level Alignment Pretraining for Multi-lingual Semantic Parsing
Bo Shao | Yeyun Gong | Weizhen Qi | Nan Duan | Xiaola Lin

In this paper, we present a multi-level alignment pretraining method in a unified architecture formulti-lingual semantic parsing. In this architecture, we use an adversarial training method toalign the space of different languages and use sentence level and word level parallel corpus assupervision information to align the semantic of different languages. Finally, we jointly train themulti-level alignment and semantic parsing tasks. We conduct experiments on a publicly avail-able multi-lingual semantic parsing dataset ATIS and a newly constructed dataset. Experimentalresults show that our model outperforms state-of-the-art methods on both datasets.

Transformation of Dense and Sparse Text Representations
Wenpeng Hu | Mengyu Wang | Bing Liu | Feng Ji | Jinwen Ma | Dongyan Zhao

Sparsity is regarded as a desirable property of representations, especially in terms of explanation. However, its usage has been limited due to the gap with dense representations. Most research progresses in NLP in recent years are based on dense representations. Thus the desirable property of sparsity cannot be leveraged. Inspired by Fourier Transformation, in this paper, we propose a novel Semantic Transformation method to bridge the dense and sparse spaces, which can facilitate the NLP research to shift from dense spaces to sparse spaces or to jointly use both spaces. Experiments using classification tasks and natural language inference task show that the proposed Semantic Transformation is effective.

Conception: Multilingually-Enhanced, Human-Readable Concept Vector Representations
Simone Conia | Roberto Navigli

To date, the most successful word, word sense, and concept modelling techniques have used large corpora and knowledge resources to produce dense vector representations that capture semantic similarities in a relatively low-dimensional space. Most current approaches, however, suffer from a monolingual bias, with their strength depending on the amount of data available across languages. In this paper we address this issue and propose Conception, a novel technique for building language-independent vector representations of concepts which places multilinguality at its core while retaining explicit relationships between concepts. Our approach results in high-coverage representations that outperform the state of the art in multilingual and cross-lingual Semantic Word Similarity and Word Sense Disambiguation, proving particularly robust on low-resource languages. Conception – its software and the complete set of representations – is available at

What Does This Acronym Mean? Introducing a New Dataset for Acronym Identification and Disambiguation
Amir Pouran Ben Veyseh | Franck Dernoncourt | Quan Hung Tran | Thien Huu Nguyen

Acronyms are the short forms of phrases that facilitate conveying lengthy sentences in documents and serve as one of the mainstays of writing. Due to their importance, identifying acronyms and corresponding phrases (i.e., acronym identification (AI)) and finding the correct meaning of each acronym (i.e., acronym disambiguation (AD)) are crucial for text understanding. Despite the recent progress on this task, there are some limitations in the existing datasets which hinder further improvement. More specifically, limited size of manually annotated AI datasets or noises in the automatically created acronym identification datasets obstruct designing advanced high-performing acronym identification models. Moreover, the existing datasets are mostly limited to the medical domain and ignore other domains. In order to address these two limitations, we first create a manually annotated large AI dataset for scientific domain. This dataset contains 17,506 sentences which is substantially larger than previous scientific AI datasets. Next, we prepare an AD dataset for scientific domain with 62,441 samples which is significantly larger than previous scientific AD dataset. Our experiments show that the existing state-of-the-art models fall far behind human-level performance on both datasets proposed by this work. In addition, we propose a new deep learning model which utilizes the syntactical structure of the sentence to expand an ambiguous acronym in a sentence. The proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art models on the new AD dataset, providing a strong baseline for future research on this dataset.

Sentence Matching with Syntax- and Semantics-Aware BERT
Tao Liu | Xin Wang | Chengguo Lv | Ranran Zhen | Guohong Fu

Sentence matching aims to identify the special relationship between two sentences, and plays a key role in many natural language processing tasks. However, previous studies mainly focused on exploiting either syntactic or semantic information for sentence matching, and no studies consider integrating both of them. In this study, we propose integrating syntax and semantics into BERT with sentence matching. In particular, we use an implicit syntax and semantics integration method that is less sensitive to the output structure information. Thus the implicit integration can alleviate the error propagation problem. The experimental results show that our approach has achieved state-of-the-art or competitive performance on several sentence matching datasets, demonstrating the benefits of implicitly integrating syntactic and semantic features in sentence matching.

Temporal Relations Annotation and Extrapolation Based on Semi-intervals and Boundig Relations
Alejandro Pimentel | Gemma Bel Enguix | Gerardo Sierra Martínez | Azucena Montes

The computational treatment of temporal relations is based on the work of Allen, who establishes 13 different types, and Freksa, who designs a cognitive procedure to manage them. Freksa’s notation is not widely used because, although it has cognitive and expressive advantages, it is too complex from the computational perspective. This paper proposes a system for the annotation and management of temporal relations that combines the richness and expressiveness of Freksa’s approach with the simplicity of Allen’s notation. Our method is summarized in the application of bounding relations, thanks to which it is possible to obtain the temporary representation of complete neighborhoods capable of representing vague temporal relations such as those that can be frequently found in a text. Such advantages are obtained without the need to greatly increase the complexity of the labeling process since the markup language is almost the same as TimeML, to which only a second temporary “relType”’ type label relationship is added. Our experiments show that the temporal relationships that present vagueness are in fact much more common than those in which a single relationship can be established precisely. For these reasons, our new labeling system achieves a more agreeable representation of temporal relations.

Homonym normalisation by word sense clustering: a case in Japanese
Yo Sato | Kevin Heffernan

This work presents a method of word sense clustering that differentiates homonyms and merge homophones, taking Japanese as an example, where orthographical variation causes problem for language processing. It uses contextualised embeddings (BERT) to cluster tokens into distinct sense groups, and we use these groups to normalise synonymous instances to a single representative form. We see the benefit of this normalisation in language model, as well as in transliteration.

Verbal Multiword Expression Identification: Do We Need a Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut?
Caroline Pasquer | Agata Savary | Carlos Ramisch | Jean-Yves Antoine

Automatic identification of multiword expressions (MWEs), like ‘to cut corners’ (to do an incomplete job), is a pre-requisite for semantically-oriented downstream applications. This task is challenging because MWEs, especially verbal ones (VMWEs), exhibit surface variability. This paper deals with a subproblem of VMWE identification: the identification of occurrences of previously seen VMWEs. A simple language-independent system based on a combination of filters competes with the best systems from a recent shared task: it obtains the best averaged F-score over 11 languages (0.6653) and even the best score for both seen and unseen VMWEs due to the high proportion of seen VMWEs in texts. This highlights the fact that focusing on the identification of seen VMWEs could be a strategy to improve VMWE identification in general.

An Unsupervised Method for Learning Representations of Multi-word Expressions for Semantic Classification
Robert Vacareanu | Marco A. Valenzuela-Escárcega | Rebecca Sharp | Mihai Surdeanu

This paper explores an unsupervised approach to learning a compositional representation function for multi-word expressions (MWEs), and evaluates it on the Tratz dataset, which associates two-word expressions with the semantic relation between the compound constituents (e.g. the label employer is associated with the noun compound government agency) (Tratz, 2011). The composition function is based on recurrent neural networks, and is trained using the Skip-Gram objective to predict the words in the context of MWEs. Thus our approach can naturally leverage large unlabeled text sources. Further, our method can make use of provided MWEs when available, but can also function as a completely unsupervised algorithm, using MWE boundaries predicted by a single, domain-agnostic part-of-speech pattern. With pre-defined MWE boundaries, our method outperforms the previous state-of-the-art performance on the coarse-grained evaluation of the Tratz dataset (Tratz, 2011), with an F1 score of 50.4%. The unsupervised version of our method approaches the performance of the supervised one, and even outperforms it in some configurations.

SLICE: Supersense-based Lightweight Interpretable Contextual Embeddings
Cindy Aloui | Carlos Ramisch | Alexis Nasr | Lucie Barque

Contextualised embeddings such as BERT have become de facto state-of-the-art references in many NLP applications, thanks to their impressive performances. However, their opaqueness makes it hard to interpret their behaviour. SLICE is a hybrid model that combines supersense labels with contextual embeddings. We introduce a weakly supervised method to learn interpretable embeddings from raw corpora and small lists of seed words. Our model is able to represent both a word and its context as embeddings into the same compact space, whose dimensions correspond to interpretable supersenses. We assess the model in a task of supersense tagging for French nouns. The little amount of supervision required makes it particularly well suited for low-resourced scenarios. Thanks to its interpretability, we perform linguistic analyses about the predicted supersenses in terms of input word and context representations.

An Empirical Study of the Downstream Reliability of Pre-Trained Word Embeddings
Anthony Rios | Brandon Lwowski

While pre-trained word embeddings have been shown to improve the performance of downstream tasks, many questions remain regarding their reliability: Do the same pre-trained word embeddings result in the best performance with slight changes to the training data? Do the same pre-trained embeddings perform well with multiple neural network architectures? Do imputation strategies for unknown words impact reliability? In this paper, we introduce two new metrics to understand the downstream reliability of word embeddings. We find that downstream reliability of word embeddings depends on multiple factors, including, the evaluation metric, the handling of out-of-vocabulary words, and whether the embeddings are fine-tuned.

Sentence Analogies: Linguistic Regularities in Sentence Embeddings
Xunjie Zhu | Gerard de Melo

While important properties of word vector representations have been studied extensively, far less is known about the properties of sentence vector representations. Word vectors are often evaluated by assessing to what degree they exhibit regularities with regard to relationships of the sort considered in word analogies. In this paper, we investigate to what extent commonly used sentence vector representation spaces as well reflect certain kinds of regularities. We propose a number of schemes to induce evaluation data, based on lexical analogy data as well as semantic relationships between sentences. Our experiments consider a wide range of sentence embedding methods, including ones based on BERT-style contextual embeddings. We find that different models differ substantially in their ability to reflect such regularities.

Manifold Learning-based Word Representation Refinement Incorporating Global and Local Information
Wenyu Zhao | Dong Zhou | Lin Li | Jinjun Chen

Recent studies show that word embedding models often underestimate similarities between similar words and overestimate similarities between distant words. This results in word similarity results obtained from embedding models inconsistent with human judgment. Manifold learning-based methods are widely utilized to refine word representations by re-embedding word vectors from the original embedding space to a new refined semantic space. These methods mainly focus on preserving local geometry information through performing weighted locally linear combination between words and their neighbors twice. However, these reconstruction weights are easily influenced by different selections of neighboring words and the whole combination process is time-consuming. In this paper, we propose two novel word representation refinement methods leveraging isometry feature mapping and local tangent space respectively. Unlike previous methods, our first method corrects pre-trained word embeddings by preserving global geometry information of all words instead of local geometry information between words and their neighbors. Our second method refines word representations by aligning original and re-fined embedding spaces based on local tangent space instead of performing weighted locally linear combination twice. Experimental results obtained from standard semantic relatedness and semantic similarity tasks show that our methods outperform various state-of-the-art baselines for word representation refinement.

Collective Wisdom: Improving Low-resource Neural Machine Translation using Adaptive Knowledge Distillation
Fahimeh Saleh | Wray Buntine | Gholamreza Haffari

Scarcity of parallel sentence-pairs poses a significant hurdle for training high-quality Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models in bilingually low-resource scenarios. A standard approach is transfer learning, which involves taking a model trained on a high-resource language-pair and fine-tuning it on the data of the low-resource MT condition of interest. However, it is not clear generally which high-resource language-pair offers the best transfer learning for the target MT setting. Furthermore, different transferred models may have complementary semantic and/or syntactic strengths, hence using only one model may be sub-optimal. In this paper, we tackle this problem using knowledge distillation, where we propose to distill the knowledge of ensemble of teacher models to a single student model. As the quality of these teacher models varies, we propose an effective adaptive knowledge distillation approach to dynamically adjust the contribution of the teacher models during the distillation process. Experiments on transferring from a collection of six language pairs from IWSLT to five low-resource language-pairs from TED Talks demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, achieving up to +0.9 BLEU score improvements compared to strong baselines.

Enabling Interactive Transcription in an Indigenous Community
Eric Le Ferrand | Steven Bird | Laurent Besacier

We propose a novel transcription workflow which combines spoken term detection and human-in-the-loop, together with a pilot experiment. This work is grounded in an almost zero-resource scenario where only a few terms have so far been identified, involving two endangered languages. We show that in the early stages of transcription, when the available data is insufficient to train a robust ASR system, it is possible to take advantage of the transcription of a small number of isolated words in order to bootstrap the transcription of a speech collection.

Optimizing Transformer for Low-Resource Neural Machine Translation
Ali Araabi | Christof Monz

Language pairs with limited amounts of parallel data, also known as low-resource languages, remain a challenge for neural machine translation. While the Transformer model has achieved significant improvements for many language pairs and has become the de facto mainstream architecture, its capability under low-resource conditions has not been fully investigated yet. Our experiments on different subsets of the IWSLT14 training data show that the effectiveness of Transformer under low-resource conditions is highly dependent on the hyper-parameter settings. Our experiments show that using an optimized Transformer for low-resource conditions improves the translation quality up to 7.3 BLEU points compared to using the Transformer default settings.

Mixup-Transformer: Dynamic Data Augmentation for NLP Tasks
Lichao Sun | Congying Xia | Wenpeng Yin | Tingting Liang | Philip Yu | Lifang He

Mixup is a latest data augmentation technique that linearly interpolates input examples and the corresponding labels. It has shown strong effectiveness in image classification by interpolating images at the pixel level. Inspired by this line of research, in this paper, we explore i) how to apply mixup to natural language processing tasks since text data can hardly be mixed in the raw format; ii) if mixup is still effective in transformer-based learning models,e.g., BERT.To achieve the goal, we incorporate mixup to transformer-based pre-trained architecture, named“mixup-transformer”, for a wide range of NLP tasks while keeping the whole end-to-end training system. We evaluate the proposed framework by running extensive experiments on the GLUEbenchmark. Furthermore, we also examine the performance of mixup-transformer in low-resource scenarios by reducing the training data with a certain ratio. Our studies show that mixup is a domain-independent data augmentation technique to pre-trained language models, resulting in significant performance improvement for transformer-based models.

Handling Anomalies of Synthetic Questions in Unsupervised Question Answering
Giwon Hong | Junmo Kang | Doyeon Lim | Sung-Hyon Myaeng

Advances in Question Answering (QA) research require additional datasets for new domains, languages, and types of questions, as well as for performance increases. Human creation of a QA dataset like SQuAD, however, is expensive. As an alternative, an unsupervised QA approach has been proposed so that QA training data can be generated automatically. However, the performance of unsupervised QA is much lower than that of supervised QA models. We identify two anomalies in the automatically generated questions and propose how they can be mitigated. We show our approach helps improve unsupervised QA significantly across a number of QA tasks.

Designing Templates for Eliciting Commonsense Knowledge from Pretrained Sequence-to-Sequence Models
Jheng-Hong Yang | Sheng-Chieh Lin | Rodrigo Nogueira | Ming-Feng Tsai | Chuan-Ju Wang | Jimmy Lin

While internalized “implicit knowledge” in pretrained transformers has led to fruitful progress in many natural language understanding tasks, how to most effectively elicit such knowledge remains an open question. Based on the text-to-text transfer transformer (T5) model, this work explores a template-based approach to extract implicit knowledge for commonsense reasoning on multiple-choice (MC) question answering tasks. Experiments on three representative MC datasets show the surprisingly good performance of our simple template, coupled with a logit normalization technique for disambiguation. Furthermore, we verify that our proposed template can be easily extended to other MC tasks with contexts such as supporting facts in open-book question answering settings. Starting from the MC task, this work initiates further research to find generic natural language templates that can effectively leverage stored knowledge in pretrained models.

Towards the First Machine Translation System for Sumerian Transliterations
Ravneet Punia | Niko Schenk | Christian Chiarcos | Émilie Pagé-Perron

The Sumerian cuneiform script was invented more than 5,000 years ago and represents one of the oldest in history. We present the first attempt to translate Sumerian texts into English automatically. We publicly release high-quality corpora for standardized training and evaluation and report results on experiments with supervised, phrase-based, and transfer learning techniques for machine translation. Quantitative and qualitative evaluations indicate the usefulness of the translations. Our proposed methodology provides a broader audience of researchers with novel access to the data, accelerates the costly and time-consuming manual translation process, and helps them better explore the relationships between Sumerian cuneiform and Mesopotamian culture.

Using Bilingual Patents for Translation Training
John Lee | Benjamin Tsou | Tianyuan Cai

While bilingual corpora have been instrumental for machine translation, their utility for training translators has been less explored. We investigate the use of bilingual corpora as pedagogical tools for translation in the technical domain. In a user study, novice translators revised Chinese translations of English patents through bilingual concordancing. Results show that concordancing with an in-domain bilingual corpus can yield greater improvement in translation quality of technical terms than a general-domain bilingual corpus.

Federated Learning for Spoken Language Understanding
Zhiqi Huang | Fenglin Liu | Yuexian Zou

Recently, spoken language understanding (SLU) has attracted extensive research interests, and various SLU datasets have been proposed to promote the development. However, most of the existing methods focus on a single individual dataset, the efforts to improve the robustness of models and obtain better performance by combining the merits of various datasets are not well studied. In this paper, we argue that if these SLU datasets are considered together, different knowledge from different datasets could be learned jointly, and there are high chances to promote the performance of each dataset. At the same time, we further attempt to prevent data leakage when unifying multiple datasets which, arguably, is more useful in an industry setting. To this end, we propose a federated learning framework, which could unify various types of datasets as well as tasks to learn and fuse various types of knowledge, i.e., text representations, from different datasets and tasks, without the sharing of downstream task data. The fused text representations merge useful features from different SLU datasets and tasks and are thus much more powerful than the original text representations alone in individual tasks. At last, in order to provide multi-granularity text representations for our framework, we propose a novel Multi-view Encoder (MV-Encoder) as the backbone of our federated learning framework. Experiments on two SLU benchmark datasets, including two tasks (intention detection and slot filling) and federated learning settings (horizontal federated learning, vertical federated learning and federated transfer learning), demonstrate the effectiveness and universality of our approach. Specifically, we are able to get 1.53% improvement on the intent detection metric accuracy. And we could also boost the performance of a strong baseline by up to 5.29% on the slot filling metric F1. Furthermore, by leveraging BERT as an additional encoder, we establish new state-of-the-art results on SNIPS and ATIS datasets, where we get 99.33% and 98.28% in terms of accuracy on intent detection task as well as 97.20% and 96.41% in terms of F1 score on slot filling task, respectively.

Attentively Embracing Noise for Robust Latent Representation in BERT
Gwenaelle Cunha Sergio | Dennis Singh Moirangthem | Minho Lee

Modern digital personal assistants interact with users through voice. Therefore, they heavily rely on automatic speech recognition (ASR) in order to convert speech to text and perform further tasks. We introduce EBERT, which stands for EmbraceBERT, with the goal of extracting more robust latent representations for the task of noisy ASR text classification. Conventionally, BERT is fine-tuned for downstream classification tasks using only the [CLS] starter token, with the remaining tokens being discarded. We propose using all encoded transformer tokens and further encode them using a novel attentive embracement layer and multi-head attention layer. This approach uses the otherwise discarded tokens as a source of additional information and the multi-head attention in conjunction with the attentive embracement layer to select important features from clean data during training. This allows for the extraction of a robust latent vector resulting in improved classification performance during testing when presented with noisy inputs. We show the impact of our model on both the Chatbot and Snips corpora for intent classification with ASR error. Results, in terms of F1-score and mean between 10 runs, show that our model significantly outperforms the baseline model.

A Comprehensive Evaluation of Incremental Speech Recognition and Diarization for Conversational AI
Angus Addlesee | Yanchao Yu | Arash Eshghi

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems are increasingly powerful and more accurate, but also more numerous with several options existing currently as a service (e.g. Google, IBM, and Microsoft). Currently the most stringent standards for such systems are set within the context of their use in, and for, Conversational AI technology. These systems are expected to operate incrementally in real-time, be responsive, stable, and robust to the pervasive yet peculiar characteristics of conversational speech such as disfluencies and overlaps. In this paper we evaluate the most popular of such systems with metrics and experiments designed with these standards in mind. We also evaluate the speaker diarization (SD) capabilities of the same systems which will be particularly important for dialogue systems designed to handle multi-party interaction. We found that Microsoft has the leading incremental ASR system which preserves disfluent materials and IBM has the leading incremental SD system in addition to the ASR that is most robust to speech overlaps. Google strikes a balance between the two but none of these systems are yet suitable to reliably handle natural spontaneous conversations in real-time.

Decolonising Speech and Language Technology
Steven Bird

After generations of exploitation, Indigenous people often respond negatively to the idea that their languages are data ready for the taking. By treating Indigenous knowledge as a commodity, speech and language technologists risk disenfranchising local knowledge authorities, reenacting the causes of language endangerment. Scholars in related fields have responded to calls for decolonisation, and we in the speech and language technology community need to follow suit, and explore what this means for our practices that involve Indigenous languages and the communities who own them. This paper reviews colonising discourses in speech and language technology, and suggests new ways of working with Indigenous communities, and seeks to open a discussion of a postcolonial approach to computational methods for supporting language vitality.

Dual-decoder Transformer for Joint Automatic Speech Recognition and Multilingual Speech Translation
Hang Le | Juan Pino | Changhan Wang | Jiatao Gu | Didier Schwab | Laurent Besacier

We introduce dual-decoder Transformer, a new model architecture that jointly performs automatic speech recognition (ASR) and multilingual speech translation (ST). Our models are based on the original Transformer architecture (Vaswani et al., 2017) but consist of two decoders, each responsible for one task (ASR or ST). Our major contribution lies in how these decoders interact with each other: one decoder can attend to different information sources from the other via a dual-attention mechanism. We propose two variants of these architectures corresponding to two different levels of dependencies between the decoders, called the parallel and cross dual-decoder Transformers, respectively. Extensive experiments on the MuST-C dataset show that our models outperform the previously-reported highest translation performance in the multilingual settings, and outperform as well bilingual one-to-one results. Furthermore, our parallel models demonstrate no trade-off between ASR and ST compared to the vanilla multi-task architecture. Our code and pre-trained models are available at

Multitask Learning-Based Neural Bridging Reference Resolution
Juntao Yu | Massimo Poesio

We propose a multi task learning-based neural model for resolving bridging references tackling two key challenges. The first challenge is the lack of large corpora annotated with bridging references. To address this, we use multi-task learning to help bridging reference resolution with coreference resolution. We show that substantial improvements of up to 8 p.p. can be achieved on full bridging resolution with this architecture. The second challenge is the different definitions of bridging used in different corpora, meaning that hand-coded systems or systems using special features designed for one corpus do not work well with other corpora. Our neural model only uses a small number of corpus independent features, thus can be applied to different corpora. Evaluations with very different bridging corpora (ARRAU, ISNOTES, BASHI and SCICORP) suggest that our architecture works equally well on all corpora, and achieves the SoTA results on full bridging resolution for all corpora, outperforming the best reported results by up to 36.3 p.p..

Improving Human-Labeled Data through Dynamic Automatic Conflict Resolution
David Q. Sun | Hadas Kotek | Christopher Klein | Mayank Gupta | William Li | Jason D. Williams

This paper develops and implements a scalable methodology for (a) estimating the noisiness of labels produced by a typical crowdsourcing semantic annotation task, and (b) reducing the resulting error of the labeling process by as much as 20-30% in comparison to other common labeling strategies. Importantly, this new approach to the labeling process, which we name Dynamic Automatic Conflict Resolution (DACR), does not require a ground truth dataset and is instead based on inter-project annotation inconsistencies. This makes DACR not only more accurate but also available to a broad range of labeling tasks. In what follows we present results from a text classification task performed at scale for a commercial personal assistant, and evaluate the inherent ambiguity uncovered by this annotation strategy as compared to other common labeling strategies.

Automatic Discovery of Heterogeneous Machine Learning Pipelines: An Application to Natural Language Processing
Suilan Estevez-Velarde | Yoan Gutiérrez | Andres Montoyo | Yudivián Almeida Cruz

This paper presents AutoGOAL, a system for automatic machine learning (AutoML) that uses heterogeneous techniques. In contrast with existing AutoML approaches, our contribution can automatically build machine learning pipelines that combine techniques and algorithms from different frameworks, including shallow classifiers, natural language processing tools, and neural networks. We define the heterogeneous AutoML optimization problem as the search for the best sequence of algorithms that transforms specific input data into the desired output. This provides a novel theoretical and practical approach to AutoML. Our proposal is experimentally evaluated in diverse machine learning problems and compared with alternative approaches, showing that it is competitive with other AutoML alternatives in standard benchmarks. Furthermore, it can be applied to novel scenarios, such as several NLP tasks, where existing alternatives cannot be directly deployed. The system is freely available and includes in-built compatibility with a large number of popular machine learning frameworks, which makes our approach useful for solving practical problems with relative ease and effort.

Distill and Replay for Continual Language Learning
Jingyuan Sun | Shaonan Wang | Jiajun Zhang | Chengqing Zong

Accumulating knowledge to tackle new tasks without necessarily forgetting the old ones is a hallmark of human-like intelligence. But the current dominant paradigm of machine learning is still to train a model that works well on static datasets. When learning tasks in a stream where data distribution may fluctuate, fitting on new tasks often leads to forgetting on the previous ones. We propose a simple yet effective framework that continually learns natural language understanding tasks with one model. Our framework distills knowledge and replays experience from previous tasks when fitting on a new task, thus named DnR (distill and replay). The framework is based on language models and can be smoothly built with different language model architectures. Experimental results demonstrate that DnR outperfoms previous state-of-the-art models in continually learning tasks of the same type but from different domains, as well as tasks of different types. With the distillation method, we further show that it’s possible for DnR to incrementally compress the model size while still outperforming most of the baselines. We hope that DnR could promote the empirical application of continual language learning, and contribute to building human-level language intelligence minimally bothered by catastrophic forgetting.

Incorporating Noisy Length Constraints into Transformer with Length-aware Positional Encodings
Yui Oka | Katsuki Chousa | Katsuhito Sudoh | Satoshi Nakamura

Neural Machine Translation often suffers from an under-translation problem due to its limited modeling of output sequence lengths. In this work, we propose a novel approach to training a Transformer model using length constraints based on length-aware positional encoding (PE). Since length constraints with exact target sentence lengths degrade translation performance, we add random noise within a certain window size to the length constraints in the PE during the training. In the inference step, we predict the output lengths using input sequences and a BERT-based length prediction model. Experimental results in an ASPEC English-to-Japanese translation showed the proposed method produced translations with lengths close to the reference ones and outperformed a vanilla Transformer (especially in short sentences) by 3.22 points in BLEU. The average translation results using our length prediction model were also better than another baseline method using input lengths for the length constraints. The proposed noise injection improved robustness for length prediction errors, especially within the window size.

Rethinking Skip Connection with Layer Normalization
Fenglin Liu | Xuancheng Ren | Zhiyuan Zhang | Xu Sun | Yuexian Zou

Skip connection is a widely-used technique to improve the performance and the convergence of deep neural networks, which is believed to relieve the difficulty in optimization due to non-linearity by propagating a linear component through the neural network layers. However, from another point of view, it can also be seen as a modulating mechanism between the input and the output, with the input scaled by a pre-defined value one. In this work, we investigate how the scale factors in the effectiveness of the skip connection and reveal that a trivial adjustment of the scale will lead to spurious gradient exploding or vanishing in line with the deepness of the models, which could by addressed by normalization, in particular, layer normalization, which induces consistent improvements over the plain skip connection. Inspired by the findings, we further propose to adaptively adjust the scale of the input by recursively applying skip connection with layer normalization, which promotes the performance substantially and generalizes well across diverse tasks including both machine translation and image classification datasets.

Specializing Word Vectors by Spectral Decomposition on Heterogeneously Twisted Graphs
Yuanhang Ren | Ye Du

Traditional word vectors, such as word2vec and glove, have a well-known inclination to conflate the semantic similarity with other semantic relations. A retrofitting procedure may be needed to solve this issue. In this work, we propose a new retrofitting method called Heterogeneously Retrofitted Spectral Word Embedding. It heterogeneously twists the similarity matrix of word pairs with lexical constraints. A new set of word vectors is generated by a spectral decomposition of the similarity matrix, which has a linear algebraic analytic form. Our method has a competitive performance compared with the state-of-the-art retrofitting method such as AR (CITATION). In addition, since our embedding has a clear linear algebraic relationship with the similarity matrix, we carefully study the contribution of each component in our model. Last but not least, our method is very efficient to execute.

Deep Inside-outside Recursive Autoencoder with All-span Objective
Ruyue Hong | Jiong Cai | Kewei Tu

Deep inside-outside recursive autoencoder (DIORA) is a neural-based model designed for unsupervised constituency parsing. During its forward computation, it provides phrase and contextual representations for all spans in the input sentence. By utilizing the contextual representation of each leaf-level span, the span of length 1, to reconstruct the word inside the span, the model is trained without labeled data. In this work, we extend the training objective of DIORA by making use of all spans instead of only leaf-level spans. We test our new training objective on datasets of two languages: English and Japanese, and empirically show that our method achieves improvement in parsing accuracy over the original DIORA.

Cross-Lingual Document Retrieval with Smooth Learning
Jiapeng Liu | Xiao Zhang | Dan Goldwasser | Xiao Wang

Cross-lingual document search is an information retrieval task in which the queries’ language and the documents’ language are different. In this paper, we study the instability of neural document search models and propose a novel end-to-end robust framework that achieves improved performance in cross-lingual search with different documents’ languages. This framework includes a novel measure of the relevance, smooth cosine similarity, between queries and documents, and a novel loss function, Smooth Ordinal Search Loss, as the objective function. We further provide theoretical guarantee on the generalization error bound for the proposed framework. We conduct experiments to compare our approach with other document search models, and observe significant gains under commonly used ranking metrics on the cross-lingual document retrieval task in a variety of languages.

Increasing Learning Efficiency of Self-Attention Networks through Direct Position Interactions, Learnable Temperature, and Convoluted Attention
Philipp Dufter | Martin Schmitt | Hinrich Schütze

Self-Attention Networks (SANs) are an integral part of successful neural architectures such as Transformer (Vaswani et al., 2017), and thus of pretrained language models such as BERT (Devlin et al., 2019) or GPT-3 (Brown et al., 2020). Training SANs on a task or pretraining them on language modeling requires large amounts of data and compute resources. We are searching for modifications to SANs that enable faster learning, i.e., higher accuracies after fewer update steps. We investigate three modifications to SANs: direct position interactions, learnable temperature, and convoluted attention. When evaluating them on part-of-speech tagging, we find that direct position interactions are an alternative to position embeddings, and convoluted attention has the potential to speed up the learning process.

Picking BERT’s Brain: Probing for Linguistic Dependencies in Contextualized Embeddings Using Representational Similarity Analysis
Michael Lepori | R. Thomas McCoy

As the name implies, contextualized representations of language are typically motivated by their ability to encode context. Which aspects of context are captured by such representations? We introduce an approach to address this question using Representational Similarity Analysis (RSA). As case studies, we investigate the degree to which a verb embedding encodes the verb’s subject, a pronoun embedding encodes the pronoun’s antecedent, and a full-sentence representation encodes the sentence’s head word (as determined by a dependency parse). In all cases, we show that BERT’s contextualized embeddings reflect the linguistic dependency being studied, and that BERT encodes these dependencies to a greater degree than it encodes less linguistically-salient controls. These results demonstrate the ability of our approach to adjudicate between hypotheses about which aspects of context are encoded in representations of language.

The Devil is in the Details: Evaluating Limitations of Transformer-based Methods for Granular Tasks
Brihi Joshi | Neil Shah | Francesco Barbieri | Leonardo Neves

Contextual embeddings derived from transformer-based neural language models have shown state-of-the-art performance for various tasks such as question answering, sentiment analysis, and textual similarity in recent years. Extensive work shows how accurately such models can represent abstract, semantic information present in text. In this expository work, we explore a tangent direction and analyze such models’ performance on tasks that require a more granular level of representation. We focus on the problem of textual similarity from two perspectives: matching documents on a granular level (requiring embeddings to capture fine-grained attributes in the text), and an abstract level (requiring embeddings to capture overall textual semantics). We empirically demonstrate, across two datasets from different domains, that despite high performance in abstract document matching as expected, contextual embeddings are consistently (and at times, vastly) outperformed by simple baselines like TF-IDF for more granular tasks. We then propose a simple but effective method to incorporate TF-IDF into models that use contextual embeddings, achieving relative improvements of up to 36% on granular tasks.

CoLAKE: Contextualized Language and Knowledge Embedding
Tianxiang Sun | Yunfan Shao | Xipeng Qiu | Qipeng Guo | Yaru Hu | Xuanjing Huang | Zheng Zhang

With the emerging branch of incorporating factual knowledge into pre-trained language models such as BERT, most existing models consider shallow, static, and separately pre-trained entity embeddings, which limits the performance gains of these models. Few works explore the potential of deep contextualized knowledge representation when injecting knowledge. In this paper, we propose the Contextualized Language and Knowledge Embedding (CoLAKE), which jointly learns contextualized representation for both language and knowledge with the extended MLM objective. Instead of injecting only entity embeddings, CoLAKE extracts the knowledge context of an entity from large-scale knowledge bases. To handle the heterogeneity of knowledge context and language context, we integrate them in a unified data structure, word-knowledge graph (WK graph). CoLAKE is pre-trained on large-scale WK graphs with the modified Transformer encoder. We conduct experiments on knowledge-driven tasks, knowledge probing tasks, and language understanding tasks. Experimental results show that CoLAKE outperforms previous counterparts on most of the tasks. Besides, CoLAKE achieves surprisingly high performance on our synthetic task called word-knowledge graph completion, which shows the superiority of simultaneously contextualizing language and knowledge representation.

Invertible Tree Embeddings using a Cryptographic Role Embedding Scheme
Coleman Haley | Paul Smolensky

We present a novel method for embedding trees in a vector space based on Tensor-Product Representations (TPRs) which allows for inversion: the retrieval of the original tree structure and nodes from the vectorial embedding. Unlike previous attempts, this does not come at the cost of intractable representation size; we utilize a method for non-exact inversion, showing that it works well when there is sufficient randomness in the representation scheme for simple data and providing an upper bound on its error. To handle the huge number of possible tree positions without memoizing position representation vectors, we present a method (Cryptographic Role Embedding) using cryptographic hashing algorithms that allows for the representation of unboundedly many positions. Through experiments on parse tree data, we show a 30,000-dimensional Cryptographic Role Embedding of trees can provide invertibility with error < 1% that previous methods would require 8.6 × 1057 dimensions to represent.

Synonym Knowledge Enhanced Reader for Chinese Idiom Reading Comprehension
Siyu Long | Ran Wang | Kun Tao | Jiali Zeng | Xinyu Dai

Machine reading comprehension (MRC) is the task that asks a machine to answer questions based on a given context. For Chinese MRC, due to the non-literal and non-compositional semantic characteristics, Chinese idioms pose unique challenges for machines to understand. Previous studies tend to treat idioms separately without fully exploiting the relationship among them. In this paper, we first define the concept of literal meaning coverage to measure the consistency between semantics and literal meanings for Chinese idioms. With the definition, we prove that the literal meanings of many idioms are far from their semantics, and we also verify that the synonymic relationship can mitigate this inconsistency, which would be beneficial for idiom comprehension. Furthermore, to fully utilize the synonymic relationship, we propose the synonym knowledge enhanced reader. Specifically, for each idiom, we first construct a synonym graph according to the annotations from the high-quality synonym dictionary or the cosine similarity between the pre-trained idiom embeddings and then incorporate the graph attention network and gate mechanism to encode the graph. Experimental results on ChID, a large-scale Chinese idiom reading comprehension dataset, show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance.

Target Word Masking for Location Metonymy Resolution
Haonan Li | Maria Vasardani | Martin Tomko | Timothy Baldwin

Existing metonymy resolution approaches rely on features extracted from external resources like dictionaries and hand-crafted lexical resources. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end word-level classification approach based only on BERT, without dependencies on taggers, parsers, curated dictionaries of place names, or other external resources. We show that our approach achieves the state-of-the-art on 5 datasets, surpassing conventional BERT models and benchmarks by a large margin. We also show that our approach generalises well to unseen data.

Bridging Resolution: A Survey of the State of the Art
Hideo Kobayashi | Vincent Ng

Bridging reference resolution is an anaphora resolution task that is arguably more challenging and less studied than entity coreference resolution. Given that significant progress has been made on coreference resolution in recent years, we believe that bridging resolution will receive increasing attention in the NLP community. Nevertheless, progress on bridging resolution is currently hampered in part by the scarcity of large annotated corpora for model training as well as the lack of standardized evaluation protocols. This paper presents a survey of the current state of research on bridging reference resolution and discusses future research directions.

An analysis of language models for metaphor recognition
Arthur Neidlein | Philip Wiesenbach | Katja Markert

We conduct a linguistic analysis of recent metaphor recognition systems, all of which are based on language models. We show that their performance, although reaching high F-scores, has considerable gaps from a linguistic perspective. First, they perform substantially worse on unconventional metaphors than on conventional ones. Second, they struggle with handling rarer word types. These two findings together suggest that a large part of the systems’ success is due to optimising the disambiguation of conventionalised, metaphoric word senses for specific words instead of modelling general properties of metaphors. As a positive result, the systems show increasing capabilities to recognise metaphoric readings of unseen words if synonyms or morphological variations of these words have been seen before, leading to enhanced generalisation beyond word sense disambiguation.

What Meaning-Form Correlation Has to Compose With: A Study of MFC on Artificial and Natural Language
Timothee Mickus | Timothée Bernard | Denis Paperno

Compositionality is a widely discussed property of natural languages, although its exact definition has been elusive. We focus on the proposal that compositionality can be assessed by measuring meaning-form correlation. We analyze meaning-form correlation on three sets of languages: (i) artificial toy languages tailored to be compositional, (ii) a set of English dictionary definitions, and (iii) a set of English sentences drawn from literature. We find that linguistic phenomena such as synonymy and ungrounded stop-words weigh on MFC measurements, and that straightforward methods to mitigate their effects have widely varying results depending on the dataset they are applied to. Data and code are made publicly available.

Evaluating Pretrained Transformer-based Models on the Task of Fine-Grained Named Entity Recognition
Cedric Lothritz | Kevin Allix | Lisa Veiber | Tegawendé F. Bissyandé | Jacques Klein

Named Entity Recognition (NER) is a fundamental Natural Language Processing (NLP) task and has remained an active research field. In recent years, transformer models and more specifically the BERT model developed at Google revolutionised the field of NLP. While the performance of transformer-based approaches such as BERT has been studied for NER, there has not yet been a study for the fine-grained Named Entity Recognition (FG-NER) task. In this paper, we compare three transformer-based models (BERT, RoBERTa, and XLNet) to two non-transformer-based models (CRF and BiLSTM-CNN-CRF). Furthermore, we apply each model to a multitude of distinct domains. We find that transformer-based models incrementally outperform the studied non-transformer-based models in most domains with respect to the F1 score. Furthermore, we find that the choice of domains significantly influenced the performance regardless of the respective data size or the model chosen.

Seeing Both the Forest and the Trees: Multi-head Attention for Joint Classification on Different Compositional Levels
Miruna Pislar | Marek Rei

In natural languages, words are used in association to construct sentences. It is not words in isolation, but the appropriate use of hierarchical structures that conveys the meaning of the whole sentence. Neural networks have the ability to capture expressive language features; however, insights into the link between words and sentences are difficult to acquire automatically. In this work, we design a deep neural network architecture that explicitly wires lower and higher linguistic components; we then evaluate its ability to perform the same task at different hierarchical levels. Settling on broad text classification tasks, we show that our model, MHAL, learns to simultaneously solve them at different levels of granularity by fluidly transferring knowledge between hierarchies. Using a multi-head attention mechanism to tie the representations between single words and full sentences, MHAL systematically outperforms equivalent models that are not incentivized towards developing compositional representations. Moreover, we demonstrate that, with the proposed architecture, the sentence information flows naturally to individual words, allowing the model to behave like a sequence labeler (which is a lower, word-level task) even without any word supervision, in a zero-shot fashion.

A Unifying Theory of Transition-based and Sequence Labeling Parsing
Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez | Michalina Strzyz | David Vilares

We define a mapping from transition-based parsing algorithms that read sentences from left to right to sequence labeling encodings of syntactic trees. This not only establishes a theoretical relation between transition-based parsing and sequence-labeling parsing, but also provides a method to obtain new encodings for fast and simple sequence labeling parsing from the many existing transition-based parsers for different formalisms. Applying it to dependency parsing, we implement sequence labeling versions of four algorithms, showing that they are learnable and obtain comparable performance to existing encodings.

Unleashing the Power of Neural Discourse Parsers - A Context and Structure Aware Approach Using Large Scale Pretraining
Grigorii Guz | Patrick Huber | Giuseppe Carenini

RST-based discourse parsing is an important NLP task with numerous downstream applications, such as summarization, machine translation and opinion mining. In this paper, we demonstrate a simple, yet highly accurate discourse parser, incorporating recent contextual language models. Our parser establishes the new state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance for predicting structure and nuclearity on two key RST datasets, RST-DT and Instr-DT. We further demonstrate that pretraining our parser on the recently available large-scale “silver-standard” discourse treebank MEGA-DT provides even larger performance benefits, suggesting a novel and promising research direction in the field of discourse analysis.

Semi-supervised Domain Adaptation for Dependency Parsing via Improved Contextualized Word Representations
Ying Li | Zhenghua Li | Min Zhang

In recent years, parsing performance is dramatically improved on in-domain texts thanks to the rapid progress of deep neural network models. The major challenge for current parsing research is to improve parsing performance on out-of-domain texts that are very different from the in-domain training data when there is only a small-scale out-domain labeled data. To deal with this problem, we propose to improve the contextualized word representations via adversarial learning and fine-tuning BERT processes. Concretely, we apply adversarial learning to three representative semi-supervised domain adaption methods, i.e., direct concatenation (CON), feature augmentation (FA), and domain embedding (DE) with two useful strategies, i.e., fused target-domain word representations and orthogonality constraints, thus enabling to model more pure yet effective domain-specific and domain-invariant representations. Simultaneously, we utilize a large-scale target-domain unlabeled data to fine-tune BERT with only the language model loss, thus obtaining reliable contextualized word representations that benefit for the cross-domain dependency parsing. Experiments on a benchmark dataset show that our proposed adversarial approaches achieve consistent improvement, and fine-tuning BERT further boosts parsing accuracy by a large margin. Our single model achieves the same state-of-the-art performance as the top submitted system in the NLPCC-2019 shared task, which uses ensemble models and BERT.

Data Augmentation via Subtree Swapping for Dependency Parsing of Low-Resource Languages
Mathieu Dehouck | Carlos Gómez-Rodríguez

The lack of annotated data is a big issue for building reliable NLP systems for most of the world’s languages. But this problem can be alleviated by automatic data generation. In this paper, we present a new data augmentation method for artificially creating new dependency-annotated sentences. The main idea is to swap subtrees between annotated sentences while enforcing strong constraints on those trees to ensure maximal grammaticality of the new sentences. We also propose a method to perform low-resource experiments using resource-rich languages by mimicking low-resource languages by sampling sentences under a low-resource distribution. In a series of experiments, we show that our newly proposed data augmentation method outperforms previous proposals using the same basic inputs.

Porous Lattice Transformer Encoder for Chinese NER
Xue Mengge | Bowen Yu | Tingwen Liu | Yue Zhang | Erli Meng | Bin Wang

Incorporating lexicons into character-level Chinese NER by lattices is proven effective to exploitrich word boundary information. Previous work has extended RNNs to consume lattice inputsand achieved great success. However, due to the DAG structure and the inherently unidirectionalsequential nature, this method precludes batched computation and sufficient semantic interaction.In this paper, we propose PLTE, an extension of transformer encoder that is tailored for ChineseNER, which models all the characters and matched lexical words in parallel with batch process-ing. PLTE augments self-attention with positional relation representations to incorporate latticestructure. It also introduces a porous mechanism to augment localness modeling and maintainthe strength of capturing the rich long-term dependencies. Experimental results show that PLTEperforms up to 11.4 times faster than state-of-the-art methods while realizing better performance.We also demonstrate that using BERT representations further substantially boosts the performanceand brings out the best in PLTE.

Learning to Prune Dependency Trees with Rethinking for Neural Relation Extraction
Bowen Yu | Xue Mengge | Zhenyu Zhang | Tingwen Liu | Wang Yubin | Bin Wang

Dependency trees have been shown to be effective in capturing long-range relations between target entities. Nevertheless, how to selectively emphasize target-relevant information and remove irrelevant content from the tree is still an open problem. Existing approaches employing pre-defined rules to eliminate noise may not always yield optimal results due to the complexity and variability of natural language. In this paper, we present a novel architecture named Dynamically Pruned Graph Convolutional Network (DP-GCN), which learns to prune the dependency tree with rethinking in an end-to-end scheme. In each layer of DP-GCN, we employ a selection module to concentrate on nodes expressing the target relation by a set of binary gates, and then augment the pruned tree with a pruned semantic graph to ensure the connectivity. After that, we introduce a rethinking mechanism to guide and refine the pruning operation by feeding back the high-level learned features repeatedly. Extensive experimental results demonstrate that our model achieves impressive results compared to strong competitors.

How Far Does BERT Look At: Distance-based Clustering and Analysis of BERT’s Attention
Yue Guan | Jingwen Leng | Chao Li | Quan Chen | Minyi Guo

Recent research on the multi-head attention mechanism, especially that in pre-trained models such as BERT, has shown us heuristics and clues in analyzing various aspects of the mechanism. As most of the research focus on probing tasks or hidden states, previous works have found some primitive patterns of attention head behavior by heuristic analytical methods, but a more systematic analysis specific on the attention patterns still remains primitive. In this work, we clearly cluster the attention heatmaps into significantly different patterns through unsupervised clustering on top of a set of proposed features, which corroborates with previous observations. We further study their corresponding functions through analytical study. In addition, our proposed features can be used to explain and calibrate different attention heads in Transformer models.

An Analysis of Simple Data Augmentation for Named Entity Recognition
Xiang Dai | Heike Adel

Simple yet effective data augmentation techniques have been proposed for sentence-level and sentence-pair natural language processing tasks. Inspired by these efforts, we design and compare data augmentation for named entity recognition, which is usually modeled as a token-level sequence labeling problem. Through experiments on two data sets from the biomedical and materials science domains (i2b2-2010 and MaSciP), we show that simple augmentation can boost performance for both recurrent and transformer-based models, especially for small training sets.

Semi-supervised Autoencoding Projective Dependency Parsing
Xiao Zhang | Dan Goldwasser

We describe two end-to-end autoencoding models for semi-supervised graph-based projective dependency parsing. The first model is a Locally Autoencoding Parser (LAP) encoding the input using continuous latent variables in a sequential manner; The second model is a Globally Autoencoding Parser (GAP) encoding the input into dependency trees as latent variables, with exact inference. Both models consist of two parts: an encoder enhanced by deep neural networks (DNN) that can utilize the contextual information to encode the input into latent variables, and a decoder which is a generative model able to reconstruct the input. Both LAP and GAP admit a unified structure with different loss functions for labeled and unlabeled data with shared parameters. We conducted experiments on WSJ and UD dependency parsing data sets, showing that our models can exploit the unlabeled data to improve the performance given a limited amount of labeled data, and outperform a previously proposed semi-supervised model.

Towards Instance-Level Parser Selection for Cross-Lingual Transfer of Dependency Parsers
Robert Litschko | Ivan Vulić | Željko Agić | Goran Glavaš

Current methods of cross-lingual parser transfer focus on predicting the best parser for a low-resource target language globally, that is, “at treebank level”. In this work, we propose and argue for a novel cross-lingual transfer paradigm: instance-level parser selection (ILPS), and present a proof-of-concept study focused on instance-level selection in the framework of delexicalized parser transfer. Our work is motivated by an empirical observation that different source parsers are the best choice for different Universal POS-sequences (i.e., UPOS sentences) in the target language. We then propose to predict the best parser at the instance level. To this end, we train a supervised regression model, based on the Transformer architecture, to predict parser accuracies for individual POS-sequences. We compare ILPS against two strong single-best parser selection baselines (SBPS): (1) a model that compares POS n-gram distributions between the source and target languages (KL) and (2) a model that selects the source based on the similarity between manually created language vectors encoding syntactic properties of languages (L2V). The results from our extensive evaluation, coupling 42 source parsers and 20 diverse low-resource test languages, show that ILPS outperforms KL and L2V on 13/20 and 14/20 test languages, respectively. Further, we show that by predicting the best parser “at treebank level” (SBPS), using the aggregation of predictions from our instance-level model, we outperform the same baselines on 17/20 and 16/20 test languages.

Learning from Non-Binary Constituency Trees via Tensor Decomposition
Daniele Castellana | Davide Bacciu

Processing sentence constituency trees in binarised form is a common and popular approach in literature. However, constituency trees are non-binary by nature. The binarisation procedure changes deeply the structure, furthering constituents that instead are close. In this work, we introduce a new approach to deal with non-binary constituency trees which leverages tensor-based models. In particular, we show how a powerful composition function based on the canonical tensor decomposition can exploit such a rich structure. A key point of our approach is the weight sharing constraint imposed on the factor matrices, which allows limiting the number of model parameters. Finally, we introduce a Tree-LSTM model which takes advantage of this composition function and we experimentally assess its performance on different NLP tasks.

Second-Order Unsupervised Neural Dependency Parsing
Songlin Yang | Yong Jiang | Wenjuan Han | Kewei Tu

Most of the unsupervised dependency parsers are based on first-order probabilistic generative models that only consider local parent-child information. Inspired by second-order supervised dependency parsing, we proposed a second-order extension of unsupervised neural dependency models that incorporate grandparent-child or sibling information. We also propose a novel design of the neural parameterization and optimization methods of the dependency models. In second-order models, the number of grammar rules grows cubically with the increase of vocabulary size, making it difficult to train lexicalized models that may contain thousands of words. To circumvent this problem while still benefiting from both second-order parsing and lexicalization, we use the agreement-based learning framework to jointly train a second-order unlexicalized model and a first-order lexicalized model. Experiments on multiple datasets show the effectiveness of our second-order models compared with recent state-of-the-art methods. Our joint model achieves a 10% improvement over the previous state-of-the-art parser on the full WSJ test set.

Integrating Domain Terminology into Neural Machine Translation
Elise Michon | Josep Crego | Jean Senellart

This paper extends existing work on terminology integration into Neural Machine Translation, a common industrial practice to dynamically adapt translation to a specific domain. Our method, based on the use of placeholders complemented with morphosyntactic annotation, efficiently taps into the ability of the neural network to deal with symbolic knowledge to surpass the surface generalization shown by alternative techniques. We compare our approach to state-of-the-art systems and benchmark them through a well-defined evaluation framework, focusing on actual application of terminology and not just on the overall performance. Results indicate the suitability of our method in the use-case where terminology is used in a system trained on generic data only.

Understanding the effects of word-level linguistic annotations in under-resourced neural machine translation
Víctor M. Sánchez-Cartagena | Juan Antonio Pérez-Ortiz | Felipe Sánchez-Martínez

This paper studies the effects of word-level linguistic annotations in under-resourced neural machine translation, for which there is incomplete evidence in the literature. The study covers eight language pairs, different training corpus sizes, two architectures, and three types of annotation: dummy tags (with no linguistic information at all), part-of-speech tags, and morpho-syntactic description tags, which consist of part of speech and morphological features. These linguistic annotations are interleaved in the input or output streams as a single tag placed before each word. In order to measure the performance under each scenario, we use automatic evaluation metrics and perform automatic error classification. Our experiments show that, in general, source-language annotations are helpful and morpho-syntactic descriptions outperform part of speech for some language pairs. On the contrary, when words are annotated in the target language, part-of-speech tags systematically outperform morpho-syntactic description tags in terms of automatic evaluation metrics, even though the use of morpho-syntactic description tags improves the grammaticality of the output. We provide a detailed analysis of the reasons behind this result.

Breeding Gender-aware Direct Speech Translation Systems
Marco Gaido | Beatrice Savoldi | Luisa Bentivogli | Matteo Negri | Marco Turchi

In automatic speech translation (ST), traditional cascade approaches involving separate transcription and translation steps are giving ground to increasingly competitive and more robust direct solutions. In particular, by translating speech audio data without intermediate transcription, direct ST models are able to leverage and preserve essential information present in the input (e.g.speaker’s vocal characteristics) that is otherwise lost in the cascade framework. Although such ability proved to be useful for gender translation, direct ST is nonetheless affected by gender bias just like its cascade counterpart, as well as machine translation and numerous other natural language processing applications. Moreover, direct ST systems that exclusively rely on vocal biometric features as a gender cue can be unsuitable or even potentially problematic for certain users. Going beyond speech signals, in this paper we compare different approaches to inform direct ST models about the speaker’s gender and test their ability to handle gender translation from English into Italian and French. To this aim, we manually annotated large datasets with speak-ers’ gender information and used them for experiments reflecting different possible real-world scenarios. Our results show that gender-aware direct ST solutions can significantly outperform strong – but gender-unaware – direct ST models. In particular, the translation of gender-marked words can increase up to 30 points in accuracy while preserving overall translation quality.

Neural Machine Translation Models with Back-Translation for the Extremely Low-Resource Indigenous Language Bribri
Isaac Feldman | Rolando Coto-Solano

This paper presents a neural machine translation model and dataset for the Chibchan language Bribri, with an average performance of BLEU 16.9±1.7. This was trained on an extremely small dataset (5923 Bribri-Spanish pairs), providing evidence for the applicability of NMT in extremely low-resource environments. We discuss the challenges entailed in managing training input from languages without standard orthographies, we provide evidence of successful learning of Bribri grammar, and also examine the translations of structures that are infrequent in major Indo-European languages, such as positional verbs, ergative markers, numerical classifiers and complex demonstrative systems. In addition to this, we perform an experiment of augmenting the dataset through iterative back-translation (Sennrich et al., 2016a; Hoang et al., 2018) by using Spanish sentences to create synthetic Bribri sentences. This improves the score by an average of 1.0 BLEU, but only when the new Spanish sentences belong to the same domain as the other Spanish examples. This contributes to the small but growing body of research on Chibchan NLP.

Dynamic Curriculum Learning for Low-Resource Neural Machine Translation
Chen Xu | Bojie Hu | Yufan Jiang | Kai Feng | Zeyang Wang | Shen Huang | Qi Ju | Tong Xiao | Jingbo Zhu

Large amounts of data has made neural machine translation (NMT) a big success in recent years. But it is still a challenge if we train these models on small-scale corpora. In this case, the way of using data appears to be more important. Here, we investigate the effective use of training data for low-resource NMT. In particular, we propose a dynamic curriculum learning (DCL) method to reorder training samples in training. Unlike previous work, we do not use a static scoring function for reordering. Instead, the order of training samples is dynamically determined in two ways - loss decline and model competence. This eases training by highlighting easy samples that the current model has enough competence to learn. We test our DCL method in a Transformer-based system. Experimental results show that DCL outperforms several strong baselines on three low-resource machine translation benchmarks and different sized data of WMT’16 En-De.

Real-Valued Logics for Typological Universals: Framework and Application
Tillmann Dönicke | Xiang Yu | Jonas Kuhn

This paper proposes a framework for the expression of typological statements which uses real-valued logics to capture the empirical truth value (truth degree) of a formula on a given data source, e.g. a collection of multilingual treebanks with comparable annotation. The formulae can be arbitrarily complex expressions of propositional logic. To illustrate the usefulness of such a framework, we present experiments on the Universal Dependencies treebanks for two use cases: (i) empirical (re-)evaluation of established formulae against the spectrum of available treebanks and (ii) evaluating new formulae (i.e. potential candidates for universals) generated by a search algorithm.

Comparative Probing of Lexical Semantics Theories for Cognitive Plausibility and Technological Usefulness
António Branco | João António Rodrigues | Malgorzata Salawa | Ruben Branco | Chakaveh Saedi

Lexical semantics theories differ in advocating that the meaning of words is represented as an inference graph, a feature mapping or a cooccurrence vector, thus raising the question: is it the case that one of these approaches is superior to the others in representing lexical semantics appropriately? Or in its non antagonistic counterpart: could there be a unified account of lexical semantics where these approaches seamlessly emerge as (partial) renderings of (different) aspects of a core semantic knowledge base? In this paper, we contribute to these research questions with a number of experiments that systematically probe different lexical semantics theories for their levels of cognitive plausibility and of technological usefulness. The empirical findings obtained from these experiments advance our insight on lexical semantics as the feature-based approach emerges as superior to the other ones, and arguably also move us closer to finding answers to the research questions above.

CxGBERT: BERT meets Construction Grammar
Harish Tayyar Madabushi | Laurence Romain | Dagmar Divjak | Petar Milin

While lexico-semantic elements no doubt capture a large amount of linguistic information, it has been argued that they do not capture all information contained in text. This assumption is central to constructionist approaches to language which argue that language consists of constructions, learned pairings of a form and a function or meaning that are either frequent or have a meaning that cannot be predicted from its component parts. BERT’s training objectives give it access to a tremendous amount of lexico-semantic information, and while BERTology has shown that BERT captures certain important linguistic dimensions, there have been no studies exploring the extent to which BERT might have access to constructional information. In this work we design several probes and conduct extensive experiments to answer this question. Our results allow us to conclude that BERT does indeed have access to a significant amount of information, much of which linguists typically call constructional information. The impact of this observation is potentially far-reaching as it provides insights into what deep learning methods learn from text, while also showing that information contained in constructions is redundantly encoded in lexico-semantics.

How LSTM Encodes Syntax: Exploring Context Vectors and Semi-Quantization on Natural Text
Chihiro Shibata | Kei Uchiumi | Daichi Mochihashi

Long Short-Term Memory recurrent neural network (LSTM) is widely used and known to capture informative long-term syntactic dependencies. However, how such information are reflected in its internal vectors for natural text has not yet been sufficiently investigated. We analyze them by learning a language model where syntactic structures are implicitly given. We empirically show that the context update vectors, i.e. outputs of internal gates, are approximately quantized to binary or ternary values to help the language model to count the depth of nesting accurately, as Suzgun et al. (2019) recently show for synthetic Dyck languages. For some dimensions in the context vector, we show that their activations are highly correlated with the depth of phrase structures, such as VP and NP. Moreover, with an L1 regularization, we also found that it can accurately predict whether a word is inside a phrase structure or not from a small number of components of the context vector. Even for the case of learning from raw text, context vectors are shown to still correlate well with the phrase structures. Finally, we show that natural clusters of the functional words and the part of speeches that trigger phrases are represented in a small but principal subspace of the context-update vector of LSTM.

Corpus-based Identification of Verbs Participating in Verb Alternations Using Classification and Manual Annotation
Esther Seyffarth | Laura Kallmeyer

English verb alternations allow participating verbs to appear in a set of syntactically different constructions whose associated semantic frames are systematically related. We use ENCOW and VerbNet data to train classifiers to predict the instrument subject alternation and the causative-inchoative alternation, relying on count-based and vector-based features as well as perplexity-based language model features, which are intended to reflect each alternation’s felicity by simulating it. Beyond the prediction task, we use the classifier results as a source for a manual annotation step in order to identify new, unseen instances of each alternation. This is possible because existing alternation datasets contain positive, but no negative instances and are not comprehensive. Over several sequences of classification-annotation steps, we iteratively extend our sets of alternating verbs. Our hybrid approach to the identification of new alternating verbs reduces the required annotation effort by only presenting annotators with the highest-scoring candidates from the previous classification. Due to the success of semi-supervised and unsupervised features, our approach can easily be transferred to further alternations.

When and Who? Conversation Transition Based on Bot-Agent Symbiosis Learning Network
Yipeng Yu | Ran Guan | Jie Ma | Zhuoxuan Jiang | Jingchang Huang

In online customer service applications, multiple chatbots that are specialized in various topics are typically developed separately and are then merged with other human agents to a single platform, presenting to the users with a unified interface. Ideally the conversation can be transparently transferred between different sources of customer support so that domain-specific questions can be answered timely and this is what we coined as a Bot-Agent symbiosis. Conversation transition is a major challenge in such online customer service and our work formalises the challenge as two core problems, namely, when to transfer and which bot or agent to transfer to and introduces a deep neural networks based approach that addresses these problems. Inspired by the net promoter score (NPS), our research reveals how the problems can be effectively solved by providing user feedback and developing deep neural networks that predict the conversation category distribution and the NPS of the dialogues. Experiments on realistic data generated from an online service support platform demonstrate that the proposed approach outperforms state-of-the-art methods and shows promising perspective for transparent conversation transition.

Topic-relevant Response Generation using Optimal Transport for an Open-domain Dialog System
Shuying Zhang | Tianyu Zhao | Tatsuya Kawahara

Conventional neural generative models tend to generate safe and generic responses which have little connection with previous utterances semantically and would disengage users in a dialog system. To generate relevant responses, we propose a method that employs two types of constraints - topical constraint and semantic constraint. Under the hypothesis that a response and its context have higher relevance when they share the same topics, the topical constraint encourages the topics of a response to match its context by conditioning response decoding on topic words’ embeddings. The semantic constraint, which encourages a response to be semantically related to its context by regularizing the decoding objective function with semantic distance, is proposed. Optimal transport is applied to compute a weighted semantic distance between the representation of a response and the context. Generated responses are evaluated by automatic metrics, as well as human judgment, showing that the proposed method can generate more topic-relevant and content-rich responses than conventional models.

An Iterative Emotion Interaction Network for Emotion Recognition in Conversations
Xin Lu | Yanyan Zhao | Yang Wu | Yijian Tian | Huipeng Chen | Bing Qin

Emotion recognition in conversations (ERC) has received much attention recently in the natural language processing community. Considering that the emotions of the utterances in conversations are interactive, previous works usually implicitly model the emotion interaction between utterances by modeling dialogue context, but the misleading emotion information from context often interferes with the emotion interaction. We noticed that the gold emotion labels of the context utterances can provide explicit and accurate emotion interaction, but it is impossible to input gold labels at inference time. To address this problem, we propose an iterative emotion interaction network, which uses iteratively predicted emotion labels instead of gold emotion labels to explicitly model the emotion interaction. This approach solves the above problem, and can effectively retain the performance advantages of explicit modeling. We conduct experiments on two datasets, and our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance.

PEDNet: A Persona Enhanced Dual Alternating Learning Network for Conversational Response Generation
Bin Jiang | Wanyue Zhou | Jingxu Yang | Chao Yang | Shihan Wang | Liang Pang

Endowing a chatbot with a personality is essential to deliver more realistic conversations. Various persona-based dialogue models have been proposed to generate personalized and diverse responses by utilizing predefined persona information. However, generating personalized responses is still a challenging task since the leverage of predefined persona information is often insufficient. To alleviate this problem, we propose a novel Persona Enhanced Dual Alternating Learning Network (PEDNet) aiming at producing more personalized responses in various open-domain conversation scenarios. PEDNet consists of a Context-Dominate Network (CDNet) and a Persona-Dominate Network (PDNet), which are built upon a common encoder-decoder backbone. CDNet learns to select a proper persona as well as ensure the contextual relevance of the predicted response, while PDNet learns to enhance the utilization of persona information when generating the response by weakening the disturbance of specific content in the conversation context. CDNet and PDNet are trained alternately using a multi-task training approach to equip PEDNet with the both capabilities they have learned. Both automatic and human evaluations on a newly released dialogue dataset Persona-chat demonstrate that our method could deliver more personalized responses than baseline methods.

Dual Dynamic Memory Network for End-to-End Multi-turn Task-oriented Dialog Systems
Jian Wang | Junhao Liu | Wei Bi | Xiaojiang Liu | Kejing He | Ruifeng Xu | Min Yang

Existing end-to-end task-oriented dialog systems struggle to dynamically model long dialog context for interactions and effectively incorporate knowledge base (KB) information into dialog generation. To conquer these limitations, we propose a Dual Dynamic Memory Network (DDMN) for multi-turn dialog generation, which maintains two core components: dialog memory manager and KB memory manager. The dialog memory manager dynamically expands the dialog memory turn by turn and keeps track of dialog history with an updating mechanism, which encourages the model to filter irrelevant dialog history and memorize important newly coming information. The KB memory manager shares the structural KB triples throughout the whole conversation, and dynamically extracts KB information with a memory pointer at each turn. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that DDMN significantly outperforms the strong baselines in terms of both automatic evaluation and human evaluation. Our code is available at

Translation vs. Dialogue: A Comparative Analysis of Sequence-to-Sequence Modeling
Wenpeng Hu | Ran Le | Bing Liu | Jinwen Ma | Dongyan Zhao | Rui Yan

Understanding neural models is a major topic of interest in the deep learning community. In this paper, we propose to interpret a general neural model comparatively. Specifically, we study the sequence-to-sequence (Seq2Seq) model in the contexts of two mainstream NLP tasks–machine translation and dialogue response generation–as they both use the seq2seq model. We investigate how the two tasks are different and how their task difference results in major differences in the behaviors of the resulting translation and dialogue generation systems. This study allows us to make several interesting observations and gain valuable insights, which can be used to help develop better translation and dialogue generation models. To our knowledge, no such comparative study has been done so far.

Diverse dialogue generation with context dependent dynamic loss function
Ayaka Ueyama | Yoshinobu Kano

Dialogue systems using deep learning have achieved generation of fluent response sentences to user utterances. Nevertheless, they tend to produce responses that are not diverse and which are less context-dependent. To address these shortcomings, we propose a new loss function, an Inverse N-gram loss (INF), which incorporates contextual fluency and diversity at the same time by a simple formula. Our INF loss can adjust its loss dynamically by a weight using the inverse frequency of the tokens’ n-gram applied to Softmax Cross-Entropy loss, so that rare tokens appear more likely while retaining the fluency of the generated sentences. We trained Transformer using English and Japanese Twitter replies as single-turn dialogues using different loss functions. Our INF loss model outperformed the baselines of SCE loss and ITF loss models in automatic evaluations such as DIST-N and ROUGE, and also achieved higher scores on our human evaluations of coherence and richness.

Towards Topic-Guided Conversational Recommender System
Kun Zhou | Yuanhang Zhou | Wayne Xin Zhao | Xiaoke Wang | Ji-Rong Wen

Conversational recommender systems (CRS) aim to recommend high-quality items to users through interactive conversations. To develop an effective CRS, the support of high-quality datasets is essential. Existing CRS datasets mainly focus on immediate requests from users, while lack proactive guidance to the recommendation scenario. In this paper, we contribute a new CRS dataset named TG-ReDial (Recommendation through Topic-Guided Dialog). Our dataset has two major features. First, it incorporates topic threads to enforce natural semantic transitions towards the recommendation scenario. Second, it is created in a semi-automatic way, hence human annotation is more reasonable and controllable. Based on TG-ReDial, we present the task of topic-guided conversational recommendation, and propose an effective approach to this task. Extensive experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach on three sub-tasks, namely topic prediction, item recommendation and response generation. TG-ReDial is available at blue

Intent Mining from past conversations for Conversational Agent
Ajay Chatterjee | Shubhashis Sengupta

Conversational systems are of primary interest in the AI community. Organizations are increasingly using chatbot to provide round-the-clock support and to increase customer engagement. Many commercial bot building frameworks follow a standard approach that requires one to build and train an intent model to recognize user input. These frameworks require a collection of user utterances and corresponding intent to train an intent model. Collecting a substantial coverage of training data is a bottleneck in the bot building process. In cases where past conversation data is available, the cost of labeling hundreds of utterances with intent labels is time-consuming and laborious. In this paper, we present an intent discovery framework that can mine a vast amount of conversational logs and to generate labeled data sets for training intent models. We have introduced an extension to the DBSCAN algorithm and presented a density-based clustering algorithm ITER-DBSCAN for unbalanced data clustering. Empirical evaluation on one conversation dataset, six different intent dataset, and one short text clustering dataset show the effectiveness of our hypothesis.

Summarize before Aggregate: A Global-to-local Heterogeneous Graph Inference Network for Conversational Emotion Recognition
Dongming Sheng | Dong Wang | Ying Shen | Haitao Zheng | Haozhuang Liu

Conversational Emotion Recognition (CER) is a crucial task in Natural Language Processing (NLP) with wide applications. Prior works in CER generally focus on modeling emotion influences solely with utterance-level features, with little attention paid on phrase-level semantic connection between utterances. Phrases carry sentiments when they are referred to emotional events under certain topics, providing a global semantic connection between utterances throughout the entire conversation. In this work, we propose a two-stage Summarization and Aggregation Graph Inference Network (SumAggGIN), which seamlessly integrates inference for topic-related emotional phrases and local dependency reasoning over neighbouring utterances in a global-to-local fashion. Topic-related emotional phrases, which constitutes the global topic-related emotional connections, are recognized by our proposed heterogeneous Summarization Graph. Local dependencies, which captures short-term emotional effects between neighbouring utterances, are further injected via an Aggregation Graph to distinguish the subtle differences between utterances containing emotional phrases. The two steps of graph inference are tightly-coupled for a comprehensively understanding of emotional fluctuation. Experimental results on three CER benchmark datasets verify the effectiveness of our proposed model, which outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches.

Deconstruct to Reconstruct a Configurable Evaluation Metric for Open-Domain Dialogue Systems
Vitou Phy | Yang Zhao | Akiko Aizawa

Many automatic evaluation metrics have been proposed to score the overall quality of a response in open-domain dialogue. Generally, the overall quality is comprised of various aspects, such as relevancy, specificity, and empathy, and the importance of each aspect differs according to the task. For instance, specificity is mandatory in a food-ordering dialogue task, whereas fluency is preferred in a language-teaching dialogue system. However, existing metrics are not designed to cope with such flexibility. For example, BLEU score fundamentally relies only on word overlapping, whereas BERTScore relies on semantic similarity between reference and candidate response. Thus, they are not guaranteed to capture the required aspects, i.e., specificity. To design a metric that is flexible to a task, we first propose making these qualities manageable by grouping them into three groups: understandability, sensibleness, and likability, where likability is a combination of qualities that are essential for a task. We also propose a simple method to composite metrics of each aspect to obtain a single metric called USL-H, which stands for Understandability, Sensibleness, and Likability in Hierarchy. We demonstrated that USL-H score achieves good correlations with human judgment and maintains its configurability towards different aspects and metrics.

Suggest me a movie for tonight: Leveraging Knowledge Graphs for Conversational Recommendation
Rajdeep Sarkar | Koustava Goswami | Mihael Arcan | John P. McCrae

Conversational recommender systems focus on the task of suggesting products to users based on the conversation flow. Recently, the use of external knowledge in the form of knowledge graphs has shown to improve the performance in recommendation and dialogue systems. Information from knowledge graphs aids in enriching those systems by providing additional information such as closely related products and textual descriptions of the items. However, knowledge graphs are incomplete since they do not contain all factual information present on the web. Furthermore, when working on a specific domain, knowledge graphs in its entirety contribute towards extraneous information and noise. In this work, we study several subgraph construction methods and compare their performance across the recommendation task. We incorporate pre-trained embeddings from the subgraphs along with positional embeddings in our models. Extensive experiments show that our method has a relative improvement of at least 5.62% compared to the state-of-the-art on multiple metrics on the recommendation task.

HiTrans: A Transformer-Based Context- and Speaker-Sensitive Model for Emotion Detection in Conversations
Jingye Li | Donghong Ji | Fei Li | Meishan Zhang | Yijiang Liu

Emotion detection in conversations (EDC) is to detect the emotion for each utterance in conversations that have multiple speakers. Different from the traditional non-conversational emotion detection, the model for EDC should be context-sensitive (e.g., understanding the whole conversation rather than one utterance) and speaker-sensitive (e.g., understanding which utterance belongs to which speaker). In this paper, we propose a transformer-based context- and speaker-sensitive model for EDC, namely HiTrans, which consists of two hierarchical transformers. We utilize BERT as the low-level transformer to generate local utterance representations, and feed them into another high-level transformer so that utterance representations could be sensitive to the global context of the conversation. Moreover, we exploit an auxiliary task to make our model speaker-sensitive, called pairwise utterance speaker verification (PUSV), which aims to classify whether two utterances belong to the same speaker. We evaluate our model on three benchmark datasets, namely EmoryNLP, MELD and IEMOCAP. Results show that our model outperforms previous state-of-the-art models.

A Co-Attentive Cross-Lingual Neural Model for Dialogue Breakdown Detection
Qian Lin | Souvik Kundu | Hwee Tou Ng

Ensuring smooth communication is essential in a chat-oriented dialogue system, so that a user can obtain meaningful responses through interactions with the system. Most prior work on dialogue research does not focus on preventing dialogue breakdown. One of the major challenges is that a dialogue system may generate an undesired utterance leading to a dialogue breakdown, which degrades the overall interaction quality. Hence, it is crucial for a machine to detect dialogue breakdowns in an ongoing conversation. In this paper, we propose a novel dialogue breakdown detection model that jointly incorporates a pretrained cross-lingual language model and a co-attention network. Our proposed model leverages effective word embeddings trained on one hundred different languages to generate contextualized representations. Co-attention aims to capture the interaction between the latest utterance and the conversation history, and thereby determines whether the latest utterance causes a dialogue breakdown. Experimental results show that our proposed model outperforms all previous approaches on all evaluation metrics in both the Japanese and English tracks in Dialogue Breakdown Detection Challenge 4 (DBDC4 at IWSDS2019).

Integrating User History into Heterogeneous Graph for Dialogue Act Recognition
Dong Wang | Ziran Li | Haitao Zheng | Ying Shen

Dialogue Act Recognition (DAR) is a challenging problem in Natural Language Understanding, which aims to attach Dialogue Act (DA) labels to each utterance in a conversation. However, previous studies cannot fully recognize the specific expressions given by users due to the informality and diversity of natural language expressions. To solve this problem, we propose a Heterogeneous User History (HUH) graph convolution network, which utilizes the user’s historical answers grouped by DA labels as additional clues to recognize the DA label of utterances. To handle the noise caused by introducing the user’s historical answers, we design sets of denoising mechanisms, including a History Selection process, a Similarity Re-weighting process, and an Edge Re-weighting process. We evaluate the proposed method on two benchmark datasets MSDialog and MRDA. The experimental results verify the effectiveness of integrating user’s historical answers, and show that our proposed model outperforms the state-of-the-art methods.

A Two-Level Interpretation of Modality in Human-Robot Dialogue
Lucia Donatelli | Kenneth Lai | James Pustejovsky

We analyze the use and interpretation of modal expressions in a corpus of situated human-robot dialogue and ask how to effectively represent these expressions for automatic learning. We present a two-level annotation scheme for modality that captures both content and intent, integrating a logic-based, semantic representation and a task-oriented, pragmatic representation that maps to our robot’s capabilities. Data from our annotation task reveals that the interpretation of modal expressions in human-robot dialogue is quite diverse, yet highly constrained by the physical environment and asymmetrical speaker/addressee relationship. We sketch a formal model of human-robot common ground in which modality can be grounded and dynamically interpreted.

Robust Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation with Adversarial Denoising Training
Haipeng Sun | Rui Wang | Kehai Chen | Xugang Lu | Masao Utiyama | Eiichiro Sumita | Tiejun Zhao

Unsupervised neural machine translation (UNMT) has recently attracted great interest in the machine translation community. The main advantage of the UNMT lies in its easy collection of required large training text sentences while with only a slightly worse performance than supervised neural machine translation which requires expensive annotated translation pairs on some translation tasks. In most studies, the UMNT is trained with clean data without considering its robustness to the noisy data. However, in real-world scenarios, there usually exists noise in the collected input sentences which degrades the performance of the translation system since the UNMT is sensitive to the small perturbations of the input sentences. In this paper, we first time explicitly take the noisy data into consideration to improve the robustness of the UNMT based systems. First of all, we clearly defined two types of noises in training sentences, i.e., word noise and word order noise, and empirically investigate its effect in the UNMT, then we propose adversarial training methods with denoising process in the UNMT. Experimental results on several language pairs show that our proposed methods substantially improved the robustness of the conventional UNMT systems in noisy scenarios.

Understanding Pure Character-Based Neural Machine Translation: The Case of Translating Finnish into English
Gongbo Tang | Rico Sennrich | Joakim Nivre

Recent work has shown that deeper character-based neural machine translation (NMT) models can outperform subword-based models. However, it is still unclear what makes deeper character-based models successful. In this paper, we conduct an investigation into pure character-based models in the case of translating Finnish into English, including exploring the ability to learn word senses and morphological inflections and the attention mechanism. We demonstrate that word-level information is distributed over the entire character sequence rather than over a single character, and characters at different positions play different roles in learning linguistic knowledge. In addition, character-based models need more layers to encode word senses which explains why only deeper models outperform subword-based models. The attention distribution pattern shows that separators attract a lot of attention and we explore a sparse word-level attention to enforce character hidden states to capture the full word-level information. Experimental results show that the word-level attention with a single head results in 1.2 BLEU points drop.

Improving Low-Resource NMT through Relevance Based Linguistic Features Incorporation
Abhisek Chakrabarty | Raj Dabre | Chenchen Ding | Masao Utiyama | Eiichiro Sumita

In this study, linguistic knowledge at different levels are incorporated into the neural machine translation (NMT) framework to improve translation quality for language pairs with extremely limited data. Integrating manually designed or automatically extracted features into the NMT framework is known to be beneficial. However, this study emphasizes that the relevance of the features is crucial to the performance. Specifically, we propose two methods, 1) self relevance and 2) word-based relevance, to improve the representation of features for NMT. Experiments are conducted on translation tasks from English to eight Asian languages, with no more than twenty thousand sentences for training. The proposed methods improve translation quality for all tasks by up to 3.09 BLEU points. Discussions with visualization provide the explainability of the proposed methods where we show that the relevance methods provide weights to features thereby enhancing their impact on low-resource machine translation.

Layer-Wise Multi-View Learning for Neural Machine Translation
Qiang Wang | Changliang Li | Yue Zhang | Tong Xiao | Jingbo Zhu

Traditional neural machine translation is limited to the topmost encoder layer’s context representation and cannot directly perceive the lower encoder layers. Existing solutions usually rely on the adjustment of network architecture, making the calculation more complicated or introducing additional structural restrictions. In this work, we propose layer-wise multi-view learning to solve this problem, circumventing the necessity to change the model structure. We regard each encoder layer’s off-the-shelf output, a by-product in layer-by-layer encoding, as the redundant view for the input sentence. In this way, in addition to the topmost encoder layer (referred to as the primary view), we also incorporate an intermediate encoder layer as the auxiliary view. We feed the two views to a partially shared decoder to maintain independent prediction. Consistency regularization based on KL divergence is used to encourage the two views to learn from each other. Extensive experimental results on five translation tasks show that our approach yields stable improvements over multiple strong baselines. As another bonus, our method is agnostic to network architectures and can maintain the same inference speed as the original model.

Bilingual Subword Segmentation for Neural Machine Translation
Hiroyuki Deguchi | Masao Utiyama | Akihiro Tamura | Takashi Ninomiya | Eiichiro Sumita

This paper proposed a new subword segmentation method for neural machine translation, “Bilingual Subword Segmentation,” which tokenizes sentences to minimize the difference between the number of subword units in a sentence and that of its translation. While existing subword segmentation methods tokenize a sentence without considering its translation, the proposed method tokenizes a sentence by using subword units induced from bilingual sentences; this method could be more favorable to machine translation. Evaluations on WAT Asian Scientific Paper Excerpt Corpus (ASPEC) English-to-Japanese and Japanese-to-English translation tasks and WMT14 English-to-German and German-to-English translation tasks show that our bilingual subword segmentation improves the performance of Transformer neural machine translation (up to +0.81 BLEU).

Token Drop mechanism for Neural Machine Translation
Huaao Zhang | Shigui Qiu | Xiangyu Duan | Min Zhang

Neural machine translation with millions of parameters is vulnerable to unfamiliar inputs. We propose Token Drop to improve generalization and avoid overfitting for the NMT model. Similar to word dropout, whereas we replace dropped token with a special token instead of setting zero to words. We further introduce two self-supervised objectives: Replaced Token Detection and Dropped Token Prediction. Our method aims to force model generating target translation with less information, in this way the model can learn textual representation better. Experiments on Chinese-English and English-Romanian benchmark demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach and our model achieves significant improvements over a strong Transformer baseline.

Supervised Visual Attention for Multimodal Neural Machine Translation
Tetsuro Nishihara | Akihiro Tamura | Takashi Ninomiya | Yutaro Omote | Hideki Nakayama

This paper proposed a supervised visual attention mechanism for multimodal neural machine translation (MNMT), trained with constraints based on manual alignments between words in a sentence and their corresponding regions of an image. The proposed visual attention mechanism captures the relationship between a word and an image region more precisely than a conventional visual attention mechanism trained through MNMT in an unsupervised manner. Our experiments on English-German and German-English translation tasks using the Multi30k dataset and on English-Japanese and Japanese-English translation tasks using the Flickr30k Entities JP dataset show that a Transformer-based MNMT model can be improved by incorporating our proposed supervised visual attention mechanism and that further improvements can be achieved by combining it with a supervised cross-lingual attention mechanism (up to +1.61 BLEU, +1.7 METEOR).

Investigating Catastrophic Forgetting During Continual Training for Neural Machine Translation
Shuhao Gu | Yang Feng

Neural machine translation (NMT) models usually suffer from catastrophic forgetting during continual training where the models tend to gradually forget previously learned knowledge and swing to fit the newly added data which may have a different distribution, e.g. a different domain. Although many methods have been proposed to solve this problem, we cannot get to know what causes this phenomenon yet. Under the background of domain adaptation, we investigate the cause of catastrophic forgetting from the perspectives of modules and parameters (neurons). The investigation on the modules of the NMT model shows that some modules have tight relation with the general-domain knowledge while some other modules are more essential in the domain adaptation. And the investigation on the parameters shows that some parameters are important for both the general-domain and in-domain translation and the great change of them during continual training brings about the performance decline in general-domain. We conducted experiments across different language pairs and domains to ensure the validity and reliability of our findings.

The Two Shades of Dubbing in Neural Machine Translation
Alina Karakanta | Supratik Bhattacharya | Shravan Nayak | Timo Baumann | Matteo Negri | Marco Turchi

Dubbing has two shades; synchronisation constraints are applied only when the actor’s mouth is visible on screen, while the translation is unconstrained for off-screen dubbing. Consequently, different synchronisation requirements, and therefore translation strategies, are applied depending on the type of dubbing. In this work, we manually annotate an existing dubbing corpus (Heroes) for this dichotomy. We show that, even though we did not observe distinctive features between on- and off-screen dubbing at the textual level, on-screen dubbing is more difficult for MT (-4 BLEU points). Moreover, synchronisation constraints dramatically decrease translation quality for off-screen dubbing. We conclude that, distinguishing between on-screen and off-screen dubbing is necessary for determining successful strategies for dubbing-customised Machine Translation.

Filtering Back-Translated Data in Unsupervised Neural Machine Translation
Jyotsana Khatri | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Unsupervised neural machine translation (NMT) utilizes only monolingual data for training. The quality of back-translated data plays an important role in the performance of NMT systems. In back-translation, all generated pseudo parallel sentence pairs are not of the same quality. Taking inspiration from domain adaptation where in-domain sentences are given more weight in training, in this paper we propose an approach to filter back-translated data as part of the training process of unsupervised NMT. Our approach gives more weight to good pseudo parallel sentence pairs in the back-translation phase. We calculate the weight of each pseudo parallel sentence pair using sentence-wise round-trip BLEU score which is normalized batch-wise. We compare our approach with the current state of the art approaches for unsupervised NMT.

Lost in Back-Translation: Emotion Preservation in Neural Machine Translation
Enrica Troiano | Roman Klinger | Sebastian Padó

Machine translation provides powerful methods to convert text between languages, and is therefore a technology enabling a multilingual world. An important part of communication, however, takes place at the non-propositional level (e.g., politeness, formality, emotions), and it is far from clear whether current MT methods properly translate this information. This paper investigates the specific hypothesis that the non-propositional level of emotions is at least partially lost in MT. We carry out a number of experiments in a back-translation setup and establish that (1) emotions are indeed partially lost during translation; (2) this tendency can be reversed almost completely with a simple re-ranking approach informed by an emotion classifier, taking advantage of diversity in the n-best list; (3) the re-ranking approach can also be applied to change emotions, obtaining a model for emotion style transfer. An in-depth qualitative analysis reveals that there are recurring linguistic changes through which emotions are toned down or amplified, such as change of modality.

Intermediate Self-supervised Learning for Machine Translation Quality Estimation
Raphael Rubino | Eiichiro Sumita

Pre-training sentence encoders is effective in many natural language processing tasks including machine translation (MT) quality estimation (QE), due partly to the scarcity of annotated QE data required for supervised learning. In this paper, we investigate the use of an intermediate self-supervised learning task for sentence encoder aiming at improving QE performances at the sentence and word levels. Our approach is motivated by a problem inherent to QE: mistakes in translation caused by wrongly inserted and deleted tokens. We modify the translation language model (TLM) training objective of the cross-lingual language model (XLM) to orientate the pre-trained model towards the target task. The proposed method does not rely on annotated data and is complementary to QE methods involving pre-trained sentence encoders and domain adaptation. Experiments on English-to-German and English-to-Russian translation directions show that intermediate learning improves over domain adaptated models. Additionally, our method reaches results in par with state-of-the-art QE models without requiring the combination of several approaches and outperforms similar methods based on pre-trained sentence encoders.

Unifying Input and Output Smoothing in Neural Machine Translation
Yingbo Gao | Baohao Liao | Hermann Ney

Soft contextualized data augmentation is a recent method that replaces one-hot representation of words with soft posterior distributions of an external language model, smoothing the input of neural machine translation systems. Label smoothing is another effective method that penalizes over-confident model outputs by discounting some probability mass from the true target word, smoothing the output of neural machine translation systems. Having the benefit of updating all word vectors in each optimization step and better regularizing the models, the two smoothing methods are shown to bring significant improvements in translation performance. In this work, we study how to best combine the methods and stack the improvements. Specifically, we vary the prior distributions to smooth with, the hyperparameters that control the smoothing strength, and the token selection procedures. We conduct extensive experiments on small datasets, evaluate the recipes on larger datasets, and examine the implications when back-translation is further used. Our results confirm cumulative improvements when input and output smoothing are used in combination, giving up to +1.9 BLEU scores on standard machine translation tasks and reveal reasons why these smoothing methods should be preferred.

Neural Transduction for Multilingual Lexical Translation
Dylan Lewis | Winston Wu | Arya D. McCarthy | David Yarowsky

We present a method for completing multilingual translation dictionaries. Our probabilistic approach can synthesize new word forms, allowing it to operate in settings where correct translations have not been observed in text (cf. cross-lingual embeddings). In addition, we propose an approximate Maximum Mutual Information (MMI) decoding objective to further improve performance in both many-to-one and one-to-one word level translation tasks where we use either multiple input languages for a single target language or more typical single language pair translation. The model is trained in a many-to-many setting, where it can leverage information from related languages to predict words in each of its many target languages. We focus on 6 languages: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Turkish. When indirect multilingual information is available, ensembling with mixture-of-experts as well as incorporating related languages leads to a 27% relative improvement in whole-word accuracy of predictions over a single-source baseline. To seed the completion when multilingual data is unavailable, it is better to decode with an MMI objective.

A Document-Level Neural Machine Translation Model with Dynamic Caching Guided by Theme-Rheme Information
Yiqi Tong | Jiangbin Zheng | Hongkang Zhu | Yidong Chen | Xiaodong Shi

Research on document-level Neural Machine Translation (NMT) models has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Although the proposed works have proved that the inter-sentence information is helpful for improving the performance of the NMT models, what information should be regarded as context remains ambiguous. To solve this problem, we proposed a novel cache-based document-level NMT model which conducts dynamic caching guided by theme-rheme information. The experiments on NIST evaluation sets demonstrate that our proposed model achieves substantial improvements over the state-of-the-art baseline NMT models. As far as we know, we are the first to introduce theme-rheme theory into the field of machine translation.

Context-Aware Cross-Attention for Non-Autoregressive Translation
Liang Ding | Longyue Wang | Di Wu | Dacheng Tao | Zhaopeng Tu

Non-autoregressive translation (NAT) significantly accelerates the inference process by predicting the entire target sequence. However, due to the lack of target dependency modelling in the decoder, the conditional generation process heavily depends on the cross-attention. In this paper, we reveal a localness perception problem in NAT cross-attention, for which it is difficult to adequately capture source context. To alleviate this problem, we propose to enhance signals of neighbour source tokens into conventional cross-attention. Experimental results on several representative datasets show that our approach can consistently improve translation quality over strong NAT baselines. Extensive analyses demonstrate that the enhanced cross-attention achieves better exploitation of source contexts by leveraging both local and global information.

Does Gender Matter? Towards Fairness in Dialogue Systems
Haochen Liu | Jamell Dacon | Wenqi Fan | Hui Liu | Zitao Liu | Jiliang Tang

Recently there are increasing concerns about the fairness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in real-world applications such as computer vision and recommendations. For example, recognition algorithms in computer vision are unfair to black people such as poorly detecting their faces and inappropriately identifying them as “gorillas”. As one crucial application of AI, dialogue systems have been extensively applied in our society. They are usually built with real human conversational data; thus they could inherit some fairness issues which are held in the real world. However, the fairness of dialogue systems has not been well investigated. In this paper, we perform a pioneering study about the fairness issues in dialogue systems. In particular, we construct a benchmark dataset and propose quantitative measures to understand fairness in dialogue models. Our studies demonstrate that popular dialogue models show significant prejudice towards different genders and races. Besides, to mitigate the bias in dialogue systems, we propose two simple but effective debiasing methods. Experiments show that our methods can reduce the bias in dialogue systems significantly. The dataset and the implementation are released to foster fairness research in dialogue systems.

Combining Cognitive Modeling and Reinforcement Learning for Clarification in Dialogue
Baber Khalid | Malihe Alikhani | Matthew Stone

In many domains, dialogue systems need to work collaboratively with users to successfully reconstruct the meaning the user had in mind. In this paper, we show how cognitive models of users’ communicative strategies can be leveraged in a reinforcement learning approach to dialogue planning to enable interactive systems to give targeted, effective feedback about the system’s understanding. We describe a prototype system that collaborates on reference tasks that distinguish arbitrarily varying color patches from similar distractors, and use experiments with crowd workers and analyses of our learned policies to document that our approach leads to context-sensitive clarification strategies that focus on key missing information, elicit correct answers that the system understands, and contribute to increasing dialogue success.

Knowledge Aware Emotion Recognition in Textual Conversations via Multi-Task Incremental Transformer
Duzhen Zhang | Xiuyi Chen | Shuang Xu | Bo Xu

Emotion recognition in textual conversations (ERTC) plays an important role in a wide range of applications, such as opinion mining, recommender systems, and so on. ERTC, however, is a challenging task. For one thing, speakers often rely on the context and commonsense knowledge to express emotions; for another, most utterances contain neutral emotion in conversations, as a result, the confusion between a few non-neutral utterances and much more neutral ones restrains the emotion recognition performance. In this paper, we propose a novel Knowledge Aware Incremental Transformer with Multi-task Learning (KAITML) to address these challenges. Firstly, we devise a dual-level graph attention mechanism to leverage commonsense knowledge, which augments the semantic information of the utterance. Then we apply the Incremental Transformer to encode multi-turn contextual utterances. Moreover, we are the first to introduce multi-task learning to alleviate the aforementioned confusion and thus further improve the emotion recognition performance. Extensive experimental results show that our KAITML model outperforms the state-of-the-art models across five benchmark datasets.

MEISD: A Multimodal Multi-Label Emotion, Intensity and Sentiment Dialogue Dataset for Emotion Recognition and Sentiment Analysis in Conversations
Mauajama Firdaus | Hardik Chauhan | Asif Ekbal | Pushpak Bhattacharyya

Emotion and sentiment classification in dialogues is a challenging task that has gained popularity in recent times. Humans tend to have multiple emotions with varying intensities while expressing their thoughts and feelings. Emotions in an utterance of dialogue can either be independent or dependent on the previous utterances, thus making the task complex and interesting. Multi-label emotion detection in conversations is a significant task that provides the ability to the system to understand the various emotions of the users interacting. Sentiment analysis in dialogue/conversation, on the other hand, helps in understanding the perspective of the user with respect to the ongoing conversation. Along with text, additional information in the form of audio and video assist in identifying the correct emotions with the appropriate intensity and sentiments in an utterance of a dialogue. Lately, quite a few datasets have been made available for dialogue emotion and sentiment classification, but these datasets are imbalanced in representing different emotions and consist of an only single emotion. Hence, we present at first a large-scale balanced Multimodal Multi-label Emotion, Intensity, and Sentiment Dialogue dataset (MEISD), collected from different TV series that has textual, audio and visual features, and then establish a baseline setup for further research.

EmpDG: Multi-resolution Interactive Empathetic Dialogue Generation
Qintong Li | Hongshen Chen | Zhaochun Ren | Pengjie Ren | Zhaopeng Tu | Zhumin Chen

A humanized dialogue system is expected to generate empathetic replies, which should be sensitive to the users’ expressed emotion. The task of empathetic dialogue generation is proposed to address this problem. The essential challenges lie in accurately capturing the nuances of human emotion and considering the potential of user feedback, which are overlooked by the majority of existing work. In response to this problem, we propose a multi-resolution adversarial model – EmpDG, to generate more empathetic responses. EmpDG exploits both the coarse-grained dialogue-level and fine-grained token-level emotions, the latter of which helps to better capture the nuances of user emotion. In addition, we introduce an interactive adversarial learning framework which exploits the user feedback, to identify whether the generated responses evoke emotion perceptivity in dialogues. Experimental results show that the proposed approach significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art baselines in both content quality and emotion perceptivity.

Leveraging Discourse Rewards for Document-Level Neural Machine Translation
Inigo Jauregi Unanue | Nazanin Esmaili | Gholamreza Haffari | Massimo Piccardi

Document-level machine translation focuses on the translation of entire documents from a source to a target language. It is widely regarded as a challenging task since the translation of the individual sentences in the document needs to retain aspects of the discourse at document level. However, document-level translation models are usually not trained to explicitly ensure discourse quality. Therefore, in this paper we propose a training approach that explicitly optimizes two established discourse metrics, lexical cohesion and coherence, by using a reinforcement learning objective. Experiments over four different language pairs and three translation domains have shown that our training approach has been able to achieve more cohesive and coherent document translations than other competitive approaches, yet without compromising the faithfulness to the reference translation. In the case of the Zh-En language pair, our method has achieved an improvement of 2.46 percentage points (pp) in LC and 1.17 pp in COH over the runner-up, while at the same time improving 0.63 pp in BLEU score and 0.47 pp in F-BERT.

Effective Use of Target-side Context for Neural Machine Translation
Hideya Mino | Hitoshi Ito | Isao Goto | Ichiro Yamada | Takenobu Tokunaga

In this paper, we deal with two problems in Japanese-English machine translation of news articles. The first problem is the quality of parallel corpora. Neural machine translation (NMT) systems suffer degraded performance when trained with noisy data. Because there is no clean Japanese-English parallel data for news articles, we build a novel parallel news corpus consisting of Japanese news articles translated into English in a content-equivalent manner. This is the first content-equivalent Japanese-English news corpus translated specifically for training NMT systems. The second problem involves the domain-adaptation technique. NMT systems suffer degraded performance when trained with mixed data having different features, such as noisy data and clean data. Though the existing methods try to overcome this problem by using tags for distinguishing the differences between corpora, it is not sufficient. We thus extend a domain-adaptation method using multi-tags to train an NMT model effectively with the clean corpus and existing parallel news corpora with some types of noise. Experimental results show that our corpus increases the translation quality, and that our domain-adaptation method is more effective for learning with the multiple types of corpora than existing domain-adaptation methods are.

Knowledge Graph Enhanced Neural Machine Translation via Multi-task Learning on Sub-entity Granularity
Yang Zhao | Lu Xiang | Junnan Zhu | Jiajun Zhang | Yu Zhou | Chengqing Zong

Previous studies combining knowledge graph (KG) with neural machine translation (NMT) have two problems: i) Knowledge under-utilization: they only focus on the entities that appear in both KG and training sentence pairs, making much knowledge in KG unable to be fully utilized. ii) Granularity mismatch: the current KG methods utilize the entity as the basic granularity, while NMT utilizes the sub-word as the granularity, making the KG different to be utilized in NMT. To alleviate above problems, we propose a multi-task learning method on sub-entity granularity. Specifically, we first split the entities in KG and sentence pairs into sub-entity granularity by using joint BPE. Then we utilize the multi-task learning to combine the machine translation task and knowledge reasoning task. The extensive experiments on various translation tasks have demonstrated that our method significantly outperforms the baseline models in both translation quality and handling the entities.

Is MAP Decoding All You Need? The Inadequacy of the Mode in Neural Machine Translation
Bryan Eikema | Wilker Aziz

Recent studies have revealed a number of pathologies of neural machine translation (NMT) systems. Hypotheses explaining these mostly suggest there is something fundamentally wrong with NMT as a model or its training algorithm, maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). Most of this evidence was gathered using maximum a posteriori (MAP) decoding, a decision rule aimed at identifying the highest-scoring translation, i.e. the mode. We argue that the evidence corroborates the inadequacy of MAP decoding more than casts doubt on the model and its training algorithm. In this work, we show that translation distributions do reproduce various statistics of the data well, but that beam search strays from such statistics. We show that some of the known pathologies and biases of NMT are due to MAP decoding and not to NMT’s statistical assumptions nor MLE. In particular, we show that the most likely translations under the model accumulate so little probability mass that the mode can be considered essentially arbitrary. We therefore advocate for the use of decision rules that take into account the translation distribution holistically. We show that an approximation to minimum Bayes risk decoding gives competitive results confirming that NMT models do capture important aspects of translation well in expectation.

Domain Transfer based Data Augmentation for Neural Query Translation
Liang Yao | Baosong Yang | Haibo Zhang | Boxing Chen | Weihua Luo

Query translation (QT) serves as a critical factor in successful cross-lingual information retrieval (CLIR). Due to the lack of parallel query samples, neural-based QT models are usually optimized with synthetic data which are derived from large-scale monolingual queries. Nevertheless, such kind of pseudo corpus is mostly produced by a general-domain translation model, making it be insufficient to guide the learning of QT model. In this paper, we extend the data augmentation with a domain transfer procedure, thus to revise synthetic candidates to search-aware examples. Specifically, the domain transfer model is built upon advanced Transformer, in which layer coordination and mixed attention are exploited to speed up the refining process and leverage parameters from a pre-trained cross-lingual language model. In order to examine the effectiveness of the proposed method, we collected French-to-English and Spanish-to-English QT test sets, each of which consists of 10,000 parallel query pairs with careful manual-checking. Qualitative and quantitative analyses reveal that our model significantly outperforms strong baselines and the related domain transfer methods on both translation quality and retrieval accuracy.

Living Machines: A study of atypical animacy
Mariona Coll Ardanuy | Federico Nanni | Kaspar Beelen | Kasra Hosseini | Ruth Ahnert | Jon Lawrence | Katherine McDonough | Giorgia Tolfo | Daniel CS Wilson | Barbara McGillivray

This paper proposes a new approach to animacy detection, the task of determining whether an entity is represented as animate in a text. In particular, this work is focused on atypical animacy and examines the scenario in which typically inanimate objects, specifically machines, are given animate attributes. To address it, we have created the first dataset for atypical animacy detection, based on nineteenth-century sentences in English, with machines represented as either animate or inanimate. Our method builds on recent innovations in language modeling, specifically BERT contextualized word embeddings, to better capture fine-grained contextual properties of words. We present a fully unsupervised pipeline, which can be easily adapted to different contexts, and report its performance on an established animacy dataset and our newly introduced resource. We show that our method provides a substantially more accurate characterization of atypical animacy, especially when applied to highly complex forms of language use.

Aspectuality Across Genre: A Distributional Semantics Approach
Thomas Kober | Malihe Alikhani | Matthew Stone | Mark Steedman

The interpretation of the lexical aspect of verbs in English plays a crucial role in tasks such as recognizing textual entailment and learning discourse-level inferences. We show that two elementary dimensions of aspectual class, states vs. events, and telic vs. atelic events, can be modelled effectively with distributional semantics. We find that a verb’s local context is most indicative of its aspectual class, and we demonstrate that closed class words tend to be stronger discriminating contexts than content words. Our approach outperforms previous work on three datasets. Further, we present a new dataset of human-human conversations annotated with lexical aspects and present experiments that show the correlation of telicity with genre and discourse goals.

Rhetoric, Logic, and Dialectic: Advancing Theory-based Argument Quality Assessment in Natural Language Processing
Anne Lauscher | Lily Ng | Courtney Napoles | Joel Tetreault

Though preceding work in computational argument quality (AQ) mostly focuses on assessing overall AQ, researchers agree that writers would benefit from feedback targeting individual dimensions of argumentation theory. However, a large-scale theory-based corpus and corresponding computational models are missing. We fill this gap by conducting an extensive analysis covering three diverse domains of online argumentative writing and presenting GAQCorpus: the first large-scale English multi-domain (community Q&A forums, debate forums, review forums) corpus annotated with theory-based AQ scores. We then propose the first computational approaches to theory-based assessment, which can serve as strong baselines for future work. We demonstrate the feasibility of large-scale AQ annotation, show that exploiting relations between dimensions yields performance improvements, and explore the synergies between theory-based prediction and practical AQ assessment.

A Linguistic Perspective on Reference: Choosing a Feature Set for Generating Referring Expressions in Context
Fahime Same | Kees van Deemter

This paper reports on a structured evaluation of feature-based Machine Learning algorithms for selecting the form of a referring expression in discourse context. Based on this evaluation, we selected seven feature sets from the literature, amounting to 65 distinct linguistic features. The features were then grouped into 9 broad classes. After building Random Forest models, we used Feature Importance Ranking and Sequential Forward Search methods to assess the “importance” of the features. Combining the results of the two methods, we propose a consensus feature set. The 6 features in our consensus set come from 4 different classes, namely grammatical role, inherent features of the referent, antecedent form and recency.

Coreference information guides human expectations during natural reading
Evan Jaffe | Cory Shain | William Schuler

Models of human sentence processing effort tend to focus on costs associated with retrieving structures and discourse referents from memory (memory-based) and/or on costs associated with anticipating upcoming words and structures based on contextual cues (expectation-based) (Levy,2008). Although evidence suggests that expectation and memory may play separable roles in language comprehension (Levy et al., 2013), theories of coreference processing have largely focused on memory: how comprehenders identify likely referents of linguistic expressions. In this study, we hypothesize that coreference tracking also informs human expectations about upcoming words, and we test this hypothesis by evaluating the degree to which incremental surprisal measures generated by a novel coreference-aware semantic parser explain human response times in a naturalistic self-paced reading experiment. Results indicate (1) that coreference information indeed guides human expectations and (2) that coreference effects on memory retrieval may exist independently of coreference effects on expectations. Together, these findings suggest that the language processing system exploits coreference information both to retrieve referents from memory and to anticipate upcoming material.

Interactive Word Completion for Morphologically Complex Languages
William Lane | Steven Bird

Text input technologies for low-resource languages support literacy, content authoring, and language learning. However, tasks such as word completion pose a challenge for morphologically complex languages thanks to the combinatorial explosion of possible words. We have developed a method for morphologically-aware text input in Kunwinjku, a polysynthetic language of northern Australia. We modify an existing finite state recognizer to map input morph prefixes to morph completions, respecting the morphosyntax and morphophonology of the language. We demonstrate the portability of the method by applying it to Turkish. We show that the space of proximal morph completions is many orders of magnitude smaller than the space of full word completions for Kunwinjku. We provide a visualization of the morph completion space to enable the text completion parameters to be fine-tuned. Finally, we report on a web services deployment, along with a web interface which helps users enter morphologically complex words and which retrieves corresponding entries from the lexicon.

Joint Persian Word Segmentation Correction and Zero-Width Non-Joiner Recognition Using BERT
Ehsan Doostmohammadi | Minoo Nassajian | Adel Rahimi

Words are properly segmented in the Persian writing system; in practice, however, these writing rules are often neglected, resulting in single words being written disjointedly and multiple words written without any white spaces between them. This paper addresses the problems of word segmentation and zero-width non-joiner (ZWNJ) recognition in Persian, which we approach jointly as a sequence labeling problem. We achieved a macro-averaged F1-score of 92.40% on a carefully collected corpus of 500 sentences with a high level of difficulty.

Syllable-based Neural Thai Word Segmentation
Pattarawat Chormai | Ponrawee Prasertsom | Jin Cheevaprawatdomrong | Attapol Rutherford

Word segmentation is a challenging pre-processing step for Thai Natural Language Processing due to the lack of explicit word boundaries.The previous systems rely on powerful neural network architecture alone and ignore linguistic substructures of Thai words. We utilize the linguistic observation that Thai strings can be segmented into syllables, which should narrow down the search space for the word boundaries and provide helpful features. Here, we propose a neural Thai Word Segmenter that uses syllable embeddings to capture linguistic constraints and uses dilated CNN filters to capture the environment of each character. Within this goal, we develop the first ML-based Thai orthographical syllable segmenter, which yields syllable embeddings to be used as features by the word segmenter. Our word segmentation system outperforms the previous state-of-the-art system in both speed and accuracy on both in-domain and out-domain datasets.

Incorporating Inner-word and Out-word Features for Mongolian Morphological Segmentation
Na Liu | Xiangdong Su | Haoran Zhang | Guanglai Gao | Feilong Bao

Mongolian morphological segmentation is regarded as a crucial preprocessing step in many Mongolian related NLP applications and has received extensive attention. Recently, end-to-end segmentation approaches with long short-term memory networks (LSTM) have achieved excellent results. However, the inner-word features among characters in the word and the out-word features from context are not well utilized in the segmentation process. In this paper, we propose a neural network incorporating inner-word and out-word features for Mongolian morphological segmentation. The network consists of two encoders and one decoder. The inner-word encoder uses the self-attention mechanisms to capture the inner-word features of the target word. The out-word encoder employs a two layers BiLSTM network to extract out-word features in the sentence. Then, the decoder adopts a multi-head double attention layer to fuse the inner-word features and out-word features and produces the segmentation result. The evaluation experiment compares the proposed network with the baselines and explores the effectiveness of the sub-modules.

Morphological disambiguation from stemming data
Antoine Nzeyimana

Morphological analysis and disambiguation is an important task and a crucial preprocessing step in natural language processing of morphologically rich languages. Kinyarwanda, a morphologically rich language, currently lacks tools for automated morphological analysis. While linguistically curated finite state tools can be easily developed for morphological analysis, the morphological richness of the language allows many ambiguous analyses to be produced, requiring effective disambiguation. In this paper, we propose learning to morphologically disambiguate Kinyarwanda verbal forms from a new stemming dataset collected through crowd-sourcing. Using feature engineering and a feed-forward neural network based classifier, we achieve about 89% non-contextualized disambiguation accuracy. Our experiments reveal that inflectional properties of stems and morpheme association rules are the most discriminative features for disambiguation.

Revitalization of Indigenous Languages through Pre-processing and Neural Machine Translation: The case of Inuktitut
Tan Ngoc Le | Fatiha Sadat

Indigenous languages have been very challenging when dealing with NLP tasks and applications because of multiple reasons. These languages, in linguistic typology, are polysynthetic and highly inflected with rich morphophonemics and variable dialectal-dependent spellings; which affected studies on any NLP task in the recent years. Moreover, Indigenous languages have been considered as low-resource and/or endangered; which poses a great challenge for research related to Artificial Intelligence and its fields, such as NLP and machine learning. In this paper, we propose a study on the Inuktitut language through pre-processing and neural machine translation, in order to revitalize the language which belongs to the Inuit family, a type of polysynthetic languages spoken in Northern Canada. Our focus is concentrated on: (1) the preprocessing phase, and (2) applications on specific NLP tasks such as morphological analysis and neural machine translation, both for Indigenous languages of Canada. Our evaluations in the context of lowresource Inuktitut-English Neural Machine Translation, showed significant improvements of the proposed approach compared to the state-of-the-art.

Semi-supervised URL Segmentation with Recurrent Neural Networks Pre-trained on Knowledge Graph Entities
Hao Zhang | Jae Ro | Richard Sproat

Breaking domain names such as openresearch into component words open and research is important for applications like Text-to-Speech synthesis and web search. We link this problem to the classic problem of Chinese word segmentation and show the effectiveness of a tagging model based on Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) using characters as input. To compensate for the lack of training data, we propose a pre-training method on concatenated entity names in a large knowledge database. Pre-training improves the model by 33% and brings the sequence accuracy to 85%.

Utilizing Subword Entities in Character-Level Sequence-to-Sequence Lemmatization Models
Nasser Zalmout | Nizar Habash

In this paper we present a character-level sequence-to-sequence lemmatization model, utilizing several subword features in multiple configurations. In addition to generic n-gram embeddings (using FastText), we experiment with concatenative (stems) and templatic (roots and patterns) morphological subwords. We present several architectures that embed these features directly at the encoder side, or learn them jointly at the decoder side with a multitask learning architecture. The results indicate that using the generic n-gram embeddings (through FastText) outperform the other linguistically-driven subwords. We use Modern Standard Arabic and Egyptian Arabic as test cases, with up to 22% and 13% relative error reduction, respectively, from a strong baseline. An error analysis shows that our best system is even able to handle word/lemma pairs that are both unseen in the training data.

Wiktionary Normalization of Translations and Morphological Information
Winston Wu | David Yarowsky

We extend the Yawipa Wiktionary Parser (Wu and Yarowsky, 2020) to extract and normalize translations from etymology glosses, and morphological form-of relations, resulting in 300K unique translations and over 4 million instances of 168 annotated morphological relations. We propose a method to identify typos in translation annotations. Using the extracted morphological data, we develop multilingual neural models for predicting three types of word formation—clipping, contraction, and eye dialect—and improve upon a standard attention baseline by using copy attention.

Detecting Urgency Status of Crisis Tweets: A Transfer Learning Approach for Low Resource Languages
Efsun Sarioglu Kayi | Linyong Nan | Bohan Qu | Mona Diab | Kathleen McKeown

We release an urgency dataset that consists of English tweets relating to natural crises, along with annotations of their corresponding urgency status. Additionally, we release evaluation datasets for two low-resource languages, i.e. Sinhala and Odia, and demonstrate an effective zero-shot transfer from English to these two languages by training cross-lingual classifiers. We adopt cross-lingual embeddings constructed using different methods to extract features of the tweets, including a few state-of-the-art contextual embeddings such as BERT, RoBERTa and XLM-R. We train classifiers of different architectures on the extracted features. We also explore semi-supervised approaches by utilizing unlabeled tweets and experiment with ensembling different classifiers. With very limited amounts of labeled data in English and zero data in the low resource languages, we show a successful framework of training monolingual and cross-lingual classifiers using deep learning methods which are known to be data hungry. Specifically, we show that the recent deep contextual embeddings are also helpful when dealing with very small-scale datasets. Classifiers that incorporate RoBERTa yield the best performance for English urgency detection task, with F1 scores that are more than 25 points over our baseline classifier. For the zero-shot transfer to low resource languages, classifiers that use LASER features perform the best for Sinhala transfer while XLM-R features benefit the Odia transfer the most.

Cross-lingual Transfer Learning for Grammatical Error Correction
Ikumi Yamashita | Satoru Katsumata | Masahiro Kaneko | Aizhan Imankulova | Mamoru Komachi

In this study, we explore cross-lingual transfer learning in grammatical error correction (GEC) tasks. Many languages lack the resources required to train GEC models. Cross-lingual transfer learning from high-resource languages (the source models) is effective for training models of low-resource languages (the target models) for various tasks. However, in GEC tasks, the possibility of transferring grammatical knowledge (e.g., grammatical functions) across languages is not evident. Therefore, we investigate cross-lingual transfer learning methods for GEC. Our results demonstrate that transfer learning from other languages can improve the accuracy of GEC. We also demonstrate that proximity to source languages has a significant impact on the accuracy of correcting certain types of errors.

Emergent Communication Pretraining for Few-Shot Machine Translation
Yaoyiran Li | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Ivan Vulić | Anna Korhonen

While state-of-the-art models that rely upon massively multilingual pretrained encoders achieve sample efficiency in downstream applications, they still require abundant amounts of unlabelled text. Nevertheless, most of the world’s languages lack such resources. Hence, we investigate a more radical form of unsupervised knowledge transfer in the absence of linguistic data. In particular, for the first time we pretrain neural networks via emergent communication from referential games. Our key assumption is that grounding communication on images—as a crude approximation of real-world environments—inductively biases the model towards learning natural languages. On the one hand, we show that this substantially benefits machine translation in few-shot settings. On the other hand, this also provides an extrinsic evaluation protocol to probe the properties of emergent languages ex vitro. Intuitively, the closer they are to natural languages, the higher the gains from pretraining on them should be. For instance, in this work we measure the influence of communication success and maximum sequence length on downstream performances. Finally, we introduce a customised adapter layer and annealing strategies for the regulariser of maximum-a-posteriori inference during fine-tuning. These turn out to be crucial to facilitate knowledge transfer and prevent catastrophic forgetting. Compared to a recurrent baseline, our method yields gains of 59.0% 147.6% in BLEU score with only 500 NMT training instances and 65.1% 196.7% with 1,000 NMT training instances across four language pairs. These proof-of-concept results reveal the potential of emergent communication pretraining for both natural language processing tasks in resource-poor settings and extrinsic evaluation of artificial languages.

ContraCAT: Contrastive Coreference Analytical Templates for Machine Translation
Dario Stojanovski | Benno Krojer | Denis Peskov | Alexander Fraser

Recent high scores on pronoun translation using context-aware neural machine translation have suggested that current approaches work well. ContraPro is a notable example of a contrastive challenge set for English→German pronoun translation. The high scores achieved by transformer models may suggest that they are able to effectively model the complicated set of inferences required to carry out pronoun translation. This entails the ability to determine which entities could be referred to, identify which entity a source-language pronoun refers to (if any), and access the target-language grammatical gender for that entity. We first show through a series of targeted adversarial attacks that in fact current approaches are not able to model all of this information well. Inserting small amounts of distracting information is enough to strongly reduce scores, which should not be the case. We then create a new template test set ContraCAT, designed to individually assess the ability to handle the specific steps necessary for successful pronoun translation. Our analyses show that current approaches to context-aware NMT rely on a set of surface heuristics, which break down when translations require real reasoning. We also propose an approach for augmenting the training data, with some improvements.

SpanAlign: Sentence Alignment Method based on Cross-Language Span Prediction and ILP
Katsuki Chousa | Masaaki Nagata | Masaaki Nishino

We propose a novel method of automatic sentence alignment from noisy parallel documents. We first formalize the sentence alignment problem as the independent predictions of spans in the target document from sentences in the source document. We then introduce a total optimization method using integer linear programming to prevent span overlapping and obtain non-monotonic alignments. We implement cross-language span prediction by fine-tuning pre-trained multilingual language models based on BERT architecture and train them using pseudo-labeled data obtained from unsupervised sentence alignment method. While the baseline methods use sentence embeddings and assume monotonic alignment, our method can capture the token-to-token interaction between the tokens of source and target text and handle non-monotonic alignments. In sentence alignment experiments on English-Japanese, our method achieved 70.3 F1 scores, which are +8.0 points higher than the baseline method. In particular, our method improved by +53.9 F1 scores for extracting non-parallel sentences. Our method improved the downstream machine translation accuracy by 4.1 BLEU scores when the extracted bilingual sentences are used for fine-tuning a pre-trained Japanese-to-English translation model.

CLUE: A Chinese Language Understanding Evaluation Benchmark
Liang Xu | Hai Hu | Xuanwei Zhang | Lu Li | Chenjie Cao | Yudong Li | Yechen Xu | Kai Sun | Dian Yu | Cong Yu | Yin Tian | Qianqian Dong | Weitang Liu | Bo Shi | Yiming Cui | Junyi Li | Jun Zeng | Rongzhao Wang | Weijian Xie | Yanting Li | Yina Patterson | Zuoyu Tian | Yiwen Zhang | He Zhou | Shaoweihua Liu | Zhe Zhao | Qipeng Zhao | Cong Yue | Xinrui Zhang | Zhengliang Yang | Kyle Richardson | Zhenzhong Lan

The advent of natural language understanding (NLU) benchmarks for English, such as GLUE and SuperGLUE allows new NLU models to be evaluated across a diverse set of tasks. These comprehensive benchmarks have facilitated a broad range of research and applications in natural language processing (NLP). The problem, however, is that most such benchmarks are limited to English, which has made it difficult to replicate many of the successes in English NLU for other languages. To help remedy this issue, we introduce the first large-scale Chinese Language Understanding Evaluation (CLUE) benchmark. CLUE is an open-ended, community-driven project that brings together 9 tasks spanning several well-established single-sentence/sentence-pair classification tasks, as well as machine reading comprehension, all on original Chinese text. To establish results on these tasks, we report scores using an exhaustive set of current state-of-the-art pre-trained Chinese models (9 in total). We also introduce a number of supplementary datasets and additional tools to help facilitate further progress on Chinese NLU. Our benchmark is released at

A Human Evaluation of AMR-to-English Generation Systems
Emma Manning | Shira Wein | Nathan Schneider

Most current state-of-the art systems for generating English text from Abstract Meaning Representation (AMR) have been evaluated only using automated metrics, such as BLEU, which are known to be problematic for natural language generation. In this work, we present the results of a new human evaluation which collects fluency and adequacy scores, as well as categorization of error types, for several recent AMR generation systems. We discuss the relative quality of these systems and how our results compare to those of automatic metrics, finding that while the metrics are mostly successful in ranking systems overall, collecting human judgments allows for more nuanced comparisons. We also analyze common errors made by these systems.

Identifying Annotator Bias: A new IRT-based method for bias identification
Jacopo Amidei | Paul Piwek | Alistair Willis

A basic step in any annotation effort is the measurement of the Inter Annotator Agreement (IAA). An important factor that can affect the IAA is the presence of annotator bias. In this paper we introduce a new interpretation and application of the Item Response Theory (IRT) to detect annotators’ bias. Our interpretation of IRT offers an original bias identification method that can be used to compare annotators’ bias and characterise annotation disagreement. Our method can be used to spot outlier annotators, improve annotation guidelines and provide a better picture of the annotation reliability. Additionally, because scales for IAA interpretation are not generally agreed upon, our bias identification method is valuable as a complement to the IAA value which can help with understanding the annotation disagreement.

Would you describe a leopard as yellow? Evaluating crowd-annotations with justified and informative disagreement
Pia Sommerauer | Antske Fokkens | Piek Vossen

Semantic annotation tasks contain ambiguity and vagueness and require varying degrees of world knowledge. Disagreement is an important indication of these phenomena. Most traditional evaluation methods, however, critically hinge upon the notion of inter-annotator agreement. While alternative frameworks have been proposed, they do not move beyond agreement as the most important indicator of quality. Critically, evaluations usually do not distinguish between instances in which agreement is expected and instances in which disagreement is not only valid but desired because it captures the linguistic and cognitive phenomena in the data. We attempt to overcome these limitations using the example of a dataset that provides semantic representations for diagnostic experiments on language models. Ambiguity, vagueness, and difficulty are not only highly relevant for this use-case, but also play an important role in other types of semantic annotation tasks. We establish an additional, agreement-independent quality metric based on answer-coherence and evaluate it in comparison to existing metrics. We compare against a gold standard and evaluate on expected disagreement. Despite generally low agreement, annotations follow expected behavior and have high accuracy when selected based on coherence. We show that combining different quality metrics enables a more comprehensive evaluation than relying exclusively on agreement.

Manual Clustering and Spatial Arrangement of Verbs for Multilingual Evaluation and Typology Analysis
Olga Majewska | Ivan Vulić | Diana McCarthy | Anna Korhonen

We present the first evaluation of the applicability of a spatial arrangement method (SpAM) to a typologically diverse language sample, and its potential to produce semantic evaluation resources to support multilingual NLP, with a focus on verb semantics. We demonstrate SpAM’s utility in allowing for quick bottom-up creation of large-scale evaluation datasets that balance cross-lingual alignment with language specificity. Starting from a shared sample of 825 English verbs, translated into Chinese, Japanese, Finnish, Polish, and Italian, we apply a two-phase annotation process which produces (i) semantic verb classes and (ii) fine-grained similarity scores for nearly 130 thousand verb pairs. We use the two types of verb data to (a) examine cross-lingual similarities and variation, and (b) evaluate the capacity of static and contextualised representation models to accurately reflect verb semantics, contrasting the performance of large language specific pretraining models with their multilingual equivalent on semantic clustering and lexical similarity, across different domains of verb meaning. We release the data from both phases as a large-scale multilingual resource, comprising 85 verb classes and nearly 130k pairwise similarity scores, offering a wealth of possibilities for further evaluation and research on multilingual verb semantics.

Hierarchical Trivia Fact Extraction from Wikipedia Articles
Jingun Kwon | Hidetaka Kamigaito | Young-In Song | Manabu Okumura

Recently, automatic trivia fact extraction has attracted much research interest. Modern search engines have begun to provide trivia facts as the information for entities because they can motivate more user engagement. In this paper, we propose a new unsupervised algorithm that automatically mines trivia facts for a given entity. Unlike previous studies, the proposed algorithm targets at a single Wikipedia article and leverages its hierarchical structure via top-down processing. Thus, the proposed algorithm offers two distinctive advantages: it does not incur high computation time, and it provides a domain-independent approach for extracting trivia facts. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm is over 100 times faster than the existing method which considers Wikipedia categories. Human evaluation demonstrates that the proposed algorithm can mine better trivia facts regardless of the target entity domain and outperforms the existing methods.

Predicting Clickbait Strength in Online Social Media
Vijayasaradhi Indurthi | Bakhtiyar Syed | Manish Gupta | Vasudeva Varma

Hoping for a large number of clicks and potentially high social shares, journalists of various news media outlets publish sensationalist headlines on social media. These headlines lure the readers to click on them and satisfy the curiosity gap in their mind. Low quality material pointed to by clickbaits leads to time wastage and annoyance for users. Even for enterprises publishing clickbaits, it hurts more than it helps as it erodes user trust, attracts wrong visitors, and produces negative signals for ranking algorithms. Hence, identifying and flagging clickbait titles is very essential. Previous work on clickbaits has majorly focused on binary classification of clickbait titles. However not all clickbaits are equally clickbaity. It is not only essential to identify a click-bait, but also to identify the intensity of the clickbait based on the strength of the clickbait. In this work, we model clickbait strength prediction as a regression problem. While previous methods have relied on traditional machine learning or vanilla recurrent neural networks, we rigorously investigate the use of transformers for clickbait strength prediction. On a benchmark dataset with ∼39K posts, our methods outperform all the existing methods in the Clickbait Challenge.

GPolS: A Contextual Graph-Based Language Model for Analyzing Parliamentary Debates and Political Cohesion
Ramit Sawhney | Arnav Wadhwa | Shivam Agarwal | Rajiv Ratn Shah

Parliamentary debates present a valuable language resource for analyzing comprehensive options in electing representatives under a functional, free society. However, the esoteric nature of political speech coupled with non-linguistic aspects such as political cohesion between party members presents a complex and underexplored task of contextual parliamentary debate analysis. We introduce GPolS, a neural model for political speech sentiment analysis jointly exploiting both semantic language representations and relations between debate transcripts, motions, and political party members. Through experiments on real-world English data and by visualizing attention, we provide a use case of GPolS as a tool for political speech analysis and polarity prediction.

Measuring Correlation-to-Causation Exaggeration in Press Releases
Bei Yu | Jun Wang | Lu Guo | Yingya Li

Press releases have an increasingly strong influence on media coverage of health research; however, they have been found to contain seriously exaggerated claims that can misinform the public and undermine public trust in science. In this study we propose an NLP approach to identify exaggerated causal claims made in health press releases that report on observational studies, which are designed to establish correlational findings, but are often exaggerated as causal. We developed a new corpus and trained models that can identify causal claims in the main statements in a press release. By comparing the claims made in a press release with the corresponding claims in the original research paper, we found that 22% of press releases made exaggerated causal claims from correlational findings in observational studies. Furthermore, universities exaggerated more often than journal publishers by a ratio of 1.5 to 1. Encouragingly, the exaggeration rate has slightly decreased over the past 10 years, despite the increase of the total number of press releases. More research is needed to understand the cause of the decreasing pattern.

Inflating Topic Relevance with Ideology: A Case Study of Political Ideology Bias in Social Topic Detection Models
Meiqi Guo | Rebecca Hwa | Yu-Ru Lin | Wen-Ting Chung

We investigate the impact of political ideology biases in training data. Through a set of comparison studies, we examine the propagation of biases in several widely-used NLP models and its effect on the overall retrieval accuracy. Our work highlights the susceptibility of large, complex models to propagating the biases from human-selected input, which may lead to a deterioration of retrieval accuracy, and the importance of controlling for these biases. Finally, as a way to mitigate the bias, we propose to learn a text representation that is invariant to political ideology while still judging topic relevance.

A Taxonomy of Empathetic Response Intents in Human Social Conversations
Anuradha Welivita | Pearl Pu

Open-domain conversational agents or chatbots are becoming increasingly popular in the natural language processing community. One of the challenges is enabling them to converse in an empathetic manner. Current neural response generation methods rely solely on end-to-end learning from large scale conversation data to generate dialogues. This approach can produce socially unacceptable responses due to the lack of large-scale quality data used to train the neural models. However, recent work has shown the promise of combining dialogue act/intent modelling and neural response generation. This hybrid method improves the response quality of chatbots and makes them more controllable and interpretable. A key element in dialog intent modelling is the development of a taxonomy. Inspired by this idea, we have manually labeled 500 response intents using a subset of a sizeable empathetic dialogue dataset (25K dialogues). Our goal is to produce a large-scale taxonomy for empathetic response intents. Furthermore, using lexical and machine learning methods, we automatically analysed both speaker and listener utterances of the entire dataset with identified response intents and 32 emotion categories. Finally, we use information visualization methods to summarize emotional dialogue exchange patterns and their temporal progression. These results reveal novel and important empathy patterns in human-human open-domain conversations and can serve as heuristics for hybrid approaches.

A Multitask Active Learning Framework for Natural Language Understanding
Hua Zhu | Wu Ye | Sihan Luo | Xidong Zhang

Natural language understanding (NLU) aims at identifying user intent and extracting semantic slots. This requires sufficient annotating data to get considerable performance in real-world situations. Active learning (AL) has been well-studied to decrease the needed amount of the annotating data and successfully applied to NLU. However, no research has been done on investigating how the relation information between intents and slots can improve the efficiency of AL algorithms. In this paper, we propose a multitask AL framework for NLU. Our framework enables pool-based AL algorithms to make use of the relation information between sub-tasks provided by a joint model, and we propose an efficient computation for the entropy of a joint model. Experimental results show our framework can achieve competitive performance with less training data than baseline methods on all datasets. We also demonstrate that when using the entropy as the query strategy, the model with complete relation information can perform better than those with partial information. Additionally, we demonstrate that the efficiency of these active learning algorithms in our framework is still effective when incorporate with the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT).