On the Cusp of Comprehensibility: Can Language Models Distinguish Between Metaphors and Nonsense?
Bernadeta Griciūtė | Marc Tanti | Lucia Donatelli
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Figurative Language Processing (FLP)
Utterly creative texts can sometimes be difficult to understand, balancing on the edge of comprehensibility. However, good language skills and common sense allow advanced language users both to interpret creative texts and to reject some linguistic input as nonsense. The goal of this paper is to evaluate whether the current language models are also able to make the distinction between a creative language use and nonsense. To test this, we have computed mean rank and pseudo-log-likelihood score (PLL) of metaphorical and nonsensical sentences, and fine-tuned several pretrained models (BERT, RoBERTa) for binary classification between the two categories. There was a significant difference in the mean ranks and PPL scores of the categories, and the classifier reached around 85.5% accuracy. The results raise further questions on what could have let to such satisfactory performance.