Andrea Ceolin


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Neural Networks for Cross-domain Language Identification. Phlyers @Vardial 2022
Andrea Ceolin
Proceedings of the Ninth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

We present our contribution to the Identification of Languages and Dialects of Italy shared task (ITDI) proposed in the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2022, which asked participants to automatically identify the language of a text associated to one of the language varieties of Italy. The method that yielded the best results in our experiments was a Deep Feedforward Neural Network (DNN) trained on character ngram counts, which provided a better performance compared to Naive Bayes methods and Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN). The system was among the best methods proposed for the ITDI shared task. The analysis of the results suggests that simple DNNs could be more efficient than CNNs to perform language identification of close varieties.


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WikiTalkEdit: A Dataset for modeling Editors’ behaviors on Wikipedia
Kokil Jaidka | Andrea Ceolin | Iknoor Singh | Niyati Chhaya | Lyle Ungar
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

This study introduces and analyzes WikiTalkEdit, a dataset of conversations and edit histories from Wikipedia, for research in online cooperation and conversation modeling. The dataset comprises dialog triplets from the Wikipedia Talk pages, and editing actions on the corresponding articles being discussed. We show how the data supports the classic understanding of style matching, where positive emotion and the use of first-person pronouns predict a positive emotional change in a Wikipedia contributor. However, they do not predict editorial behavior. On the other hand, feedback invoking evidentiality and criticism, and references to Wikipedia’s community norms, is more likely to persuade the contributor to perform edits but is less likely to lead to a positive emotion. We developed baseline classifiers trained on pre-trained RoBERTa features that can predict editorial change with an F1 score of .54, as compared to an F1 score of .66 for predicting emotional change. A diagnostic analysis of persisting errors is also provided. We conclude with possible applications and recommendations for future work. The dataset is publicly available for the research community at

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Comparing the Performance of CNNs and Shallow Models for Language Identification
Andrea Ceolin
Proceedings of the Eighth Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

In this work we compare the performance of convolutional neural networks and shallow models on three out of the four language identification shared tasks proposed in the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2021. In our experiments, convolutional neural networks and shallow models yielded comparable performance in the Romanian Dialect Identification (RDI) and the Dravidian Language Identification (DLI) shared tasks, after the training data was augmented, while an ensemble of support vector machines and Naïve Bayes models was the best performing model in the Uralic Language Identification (ULI) task. While the deep learning models did not achieve state-of-the-art performance at the tasks and tended to overfit the data, the ensemble method was one of two methods that beat the existing baseline for the first track of the ULI shared task.


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Discriminating between standard Romanian and Moldavian tweets using filtered character ngrams
Andrea Ceolin | Hong Zhang
Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

We applied word unigram models, character ngram models, and CNNs to the task of distinguishing tweets of two related dialects of Romanian (standard Romanian and Moldavian) for the VarDial 2020 RDI shared task (Gaman et al. 2020). The main challenge of the task was to perform cross-genre text classification: specifically, the models must be trained using text from news articles, and be used to predict tweets. Our best model was a Naive Bayes model trained on character ngrams, with the most common ngrams filtered out. We also applied SVMs and CNNs, but while they yielded the best performance on an evaluation dataset of news article, their accuracy significantly dropped when they were used to predict tweets. Our best model reached an F1 score of 0.715 on the evaluation dataset of tweets, and 0.667 on the held-out test dataset. The model ended up in the third place in the shared task.


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Modeling Markedness with a Split-and-Merger Model of Sound Change
Andrea Ceolin | Ollie Sayeed
Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Computational Approaches to Historical Language Change

The concept of ‘markedness’ has been influential in phonology for almost a century. Theoretical phonology has found it useful to describe some segments as more ‘marked’ than others, referring to a cluster of language-internal and -external properties (Jakobson 1968, Haspelmath 2006). We argue, using a simple mathematical model based on Evolutionary Phonology (Blevins 2004), that markedness is an epiphenomenon of phonetically grounded sound change.


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Machine Learning Models of Universal Grammar Parameter Dependencies
Dimitar Kazakov | Guido Cordoni | Andrea Ceolin | Monica-Alexandrina Irimia | Shin-Sook Kim | Dimitris Michelioudakis | Nina Radkevich | Cristina Guardiano | Giuseppe Longobardi
Proceedings of the Workshop Knowledge Resources for the Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities associated with RANLP 2017

The use of parameters in the description of natural language syntax has to balance between the need to discriminate among (sometimes subtly different) languages, which can be seen as a cross-linguistic version of Chomsky’s (1964) descriptive adequacy, and the complexity of the acquisition task that a large number of parameters would imply, which is a problem for explanatory adequacy. Here we present a novel approach in which a machine learning algorithm is used to find dependencies in a table of parameters. The result is a dependency graph in which some of the parameters can be fully predicted from others. These empirical findings can be then subjected to linguistic analysis, which may either refute them by providing typological counter-examples of languages not included in the original dataset, dismiss them on theoretical grounds, or uphold them as tentative empirical laws worth of further study.