David R. Mortensen

Also published as: David Mortensen


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Zero-shot Learning for Grapheme to Phoneme Conversion with Language Ensemble
Xinjian Li | Florian Metze | David Mortensen | Shinji Watanabe | Alan Black
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Grapheme-to-Phoneme (G2P) has many applications in NLP and speech fields. Most existing work focuses heavily on languages with abundant training datasets, which limits the scope of target languages to less than 100 languages. This work attempts to apply zero-shot learning to approximate G2P models for all low-resource and endangered languages in Glottolog (about 8k languages). For any unseen target language, we first build the phylogenetic tree (i.e. language family tree) to identify top-k nearest languages for which we have training sets. Then we run models of those languages to obtain a hypothesis set, which we combine into a confusion network to propose a most likely hypothesis as an approximation to the target language. We test our approach on over 600 unseen languages and demonstrate it significantly outperforms baselines.


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Cross-Cultural Similarity Features for Cross-Lingual Transfer Learning of Pragmatically Motivated Tasks
Jimin Sun | Hwijeen Ahn | Chan Young Park | Yulia Tsvetkov | David R. Mortensen
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

Much work in cross-lingual transfer learning explored how to select better transfer languages for multilingual tasks, primarily focusing on typological and genealogical similarities between languages. We hypothesize that these measures of linguistic proximity are not enough when working with pragmatically-motivated tasks, such as sentiment analysis. As an alternative, we introduce three linguistic features that capture cross-cultural similarities that manifest in linguistic patterns and quantify distinct aspects of language pragmatics: language context-level, figurative language, and the lexification of emotion concepts. Our analyses show that the proposed pragmatic features do capture cross-cultural similarities and align well with existing work in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. We further corroborate the effectiveness of pragmatically-driven transfer in the downstream task of choosing transfer languages for cross-lingual sentiment analysis.

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Quantifying Cognitive Factors in Lexical Decline
David Francis | Ella Rabinovich | Farhan Samir | David Mortensen | Suzanne Stevenson
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 9

Abstract We adopt an evolutionary view on language change in which cognitive factors (in addition to social ones) affect the fitness of words and their success in the linguistic ecosystem. Specifically, we propose a variety of psycholinguistic factors—semantic, distributional, and phonological—that we hypothesize are predictive of lexical decline, in which words greatly decrease in frequency over time. Using historical data across three languages (English, French, and German), we find that most of our proposed factors show a significant difference in the expected direction between each curated set of declining words and their matched stable words. Moreover, logistic regression analyses show that semantic and distributional factors are significant in predicting declining words. Further diachronic analysis reveals that declining words tend to decrease in the diversity of their lexical contexts over time, gradually narrowing their ‘ecological niches’.

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Evaluating the Morphosyntactic Well-formedness of Generated Texts
Adithya Pratapa | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Shruti Rijhwani | Aditi Chaudhary | David R. Mortensen | Graham Neubig | Yulia Tsvetkov
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Text generation systems are ubiquitous in natural language processing applications. However, evaluation of these systems remains a challenge, especially in multilingual settings. In this paper, we propose L’AMBRE – a metric to evaluate the morphosyntactic well-formedness of text using its dependency parse and morphosyntactic rules of the language. We present a way to automatically extract various rules governing morphosyntax directly from dependency treebanks. To tackle the noisy outputs from text generation systems, we propose a simple methodology to train robust parsers. We show the effectiveness of our metric on the task of machine translation through a diachronic study of systems translating into morphologically-rich languages.


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AlloVera: A Multilingual Allophone Database
David R. Mortensen | Xinjian Li | Patrick Littell | Alexis Michaud | Shruti Rijhwani | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Alan W Black | Florian Metze | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We introduce a new resource, AlloVera, which provides mappings from 218 allophones to phonemes for 14 languages. Phonemes are contrastive phonological units, and allophones are their various concrete realizations, which are predictable from phonological context. While phonemic representations are language specific, phonetic representations (stated in terms of (allo)phones) are much closer to a universal (language-independent) transcription. AlloVera allows the training of speech recognition models that output phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), regardless of the input language. We show that a “universal” allophone model, Allosaurus, built with AlloVera, outperforms “universal” phonemic models and language-specific models on a speech-transcription task. We explore the implications of this technology (and related technologies) for the documentation of endangered and minority languages. We further explore other applications for which AlloVera will be suitable as it grows, including phonological typology.

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Computerized Forward Reconstruction for Analysis in Diachronic Phonology, and Latin to French Reflex Prediction
Clayton Marr | David R. Mortensen
Proceedings of LT4HALA 2020 - 1st Workshop on Language Technologies for Historical and Ancient Languages

Traditionally, historical phonologists have relied on tedious manual derivations to calibrate the sequences of sound changes that shaped the phonological evolution of languages. However, humans are prone to errors, and cannot track thousands of parallel word derivations in any efficient manner. We propose to instead automatically derive each lexical item in parallel, and we demonstrate forward reconstruction as both a computational task with metrics to optimize, and as an empirical tool for inquiry. For this end we present DiaSim, a user-facing application that simulates “cascades” of diachronic developments over a language’s lexicon and provides diagnostics for “debugging” those cascades. We test our methodology on a Latin-to-French reflex prediction task, using a newly compiled dataset FLLex with 1368 paired Latin/French forms. We also present, FLLAPS, which maps 310 Latin reflexes through five stages until Modern French, derived from Pope (1934)’s sound tables. Our publicly available rule cascades include the baselines BaseCLEF and BaseCLEF*, representing the received view of Latin to French development, and DiaCLEF, build by incremental corrections to BaseCLEF aided by DiaSim’s diagnostics. DiaCLEF vastly outperforms the baselines, improving final accuracy on FLLex from 3.2%to 84.9%, and similar improvements across FLLAPS’ stages.

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Where New Words Are Born: Distributional Semantic Analysis of Neologisms and Their Semantic Neighborhoods
Maria Ryskina | Ella Rabinovich | Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick | David Mortensen | Yulia Tsvetkov
Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics 2020

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Automatic Extraction of Rules Governing Morphological Agreement
Aditi Chaudhary | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Adithya Pratapa | David R. Mortensen | Zaid Sheikh | Yulia Tsvetkov | Graham Neubig
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Creating a descriptive grammar of a language is an indispensable step for language documentation and preservation. However, at the same time it is a tedious, time-consuming task. In this paper, we take steps towards automating this process by devising an automated framework for extracting a first-pass grammatical specification from raw text in a concise, human- and machine-readable format. We focus on extracting rules describing agreement, a morphosyntactic phenomenon at the core of the grammars of many of the world’s languages. We apply our framework to all languages included in the Universal Dependencies project, with promising results. Using cross-lingual transfer, even with no expert annotations in the language of interest, our framework extracts a grammatical specification which is nearly equivalent to those created with large amounts of gold-standard annotated data. We confirm this finding with human expert evaluations of the rules that our framework produces, which have an average accuracy of 78%. We release an interface demonstrating the extracted rules at https://neulab.github.io/lase/


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CMU-01 at the SIGMORPHON 2019 Shared Task on Crosslinguality and Context in Morphology
Aditi Chaudhary | Elizabeth Salesky | Gayatri Bhat | David R. Mortensen | Jaime Carbonell | Yulia Tsvetkov
Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

This paper presents the submission by the CMU-01 team to the SIGMORPHON 2019 task 2 of Morphological Analysis and Lemmatization in Context. This task requires us to produce the lemma and morpho-syntactic description of each token in a sequence, for 107 treebanks. We approach this task with a hierarchical neural conditional random field (CRF) model which predicts each coarse-grained feature (eg. POS, Case, etc.) independently. However, most treebanks are under-resourced, thus making it challenging to train deep neural models for them. Hence, we propose a multi-lingual transfer training regime where we transfer from multiple related languages that share similar typology.


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Adapting Word Embeddings to New Languages with Morphological and Phonological Subword Representations
Aditi Chaudhary | Chunting Zhou | Lori Levin | Graham Neubig | David R. Mortensen | Jaime Carbonell
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Much work in Natural Language Processing (NLP) has been for resource-rich languages, making generalization to new, less-resourced languages challenging. We present two approaches for improving generalization to low-resourced languages by adapting continuous word representations using linguistically motivated subword units: phonemes, morphemes and graphemes. Our method requires neither parallel corpora nor bilingual dictionaries and provides a significant gain in performance over previous methods relying on these resources. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approaches on Named Entity Recognition for four languages, namely Uyghur, Turkish, Bengali and Hindi, of which Uyghur and Bengali are low resource languages, and also perform experiments on Machine Translation. Exploiting subwords with transfer learning gives us a boost of +15.2 NER F1 for Uyghur and +9.7 F1 for Bengali. We also show improvements in the monolingual setting where we achieve (avg.) +3 F1 and (avg.) +1.35 BLEU.

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Epitran: Precision G2P for Many Languages
David R. Mortensen | Siddharth Dalmia | Patrick Littell
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)

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Parser combinators for Tigrinya and Oromo morphology
Patrick Littell | Tom McCoy | Na-Rae Han | Shruti Rijhwani | Zaid Sheikh | David Mortensen | Teruko Mitamura | Lori Levin
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)


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URIEL and lang2vec: Representing languages as typological, geographical, and phylogenetic vectors
Patrick Littell | David R. Mortensen | Ke Lin | Katherine Kairis | Carlisle Turner | Lori Levin
Proceedings of the 15th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Volume 2, Short Papers

We introduce the URIEL knowledge base for massively multilingual NLP and the lang2vec utility, which provides information-rich vector identifications of languages drawn from typological, geographical, and phylogenetic databases and normalized to have straightforward and consistent formats, naming, and semantics. The goal of URIEL and lang2vec is to enable multilingual NLP, especially on less-resourced languages and make possible types of experiments (especially but not exclusively related to NLP tasks) that are otherwise difficult or impossible due to the sparsity and incommensurability of the data sources. lang2vec vectors have been shown to reduce perplexity in multilingual language modeling, when compared to one-hot language identification vectors.


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Polyglot Neural Language Models: A Case Study in Cross-Lingual Phonetic Representation Learning
Yulia Tsvetkov | Sunayana Sitaram | Manaal Faruqui | Guillaume Lample | Patrick Littell | David Mortensen | Alan W Black | Lori Levin | Chris Dyer
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

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Phonologically Aware Neural Model for Named Entity Recognition in Low Resource Transfer Settings
Akash Bharadwaj | David Mortensen | Chris Dyer | Jaime Carbonell
Proceedings of the 2016 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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Named Entity Recognition for Linguistic Rapid Response in Low-Resource Languages: Sorani Kurdish and Tajik
Patrick Littell | Kartik Goyal | David R. Mortensen | Alexa Little | Chris Dyer | Lori Levin
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

This paper describes our construction of named-entity recognition (NER) systems in two Western Iranian languages, Sorani Kurdish and Tajik, as a part of a pilot study of “Linguistic Rapid Response” to potential emergency humanitarian relief situations. In the absence of large annotated corpora, parallel corpora, treebanks, bilingual lexica, etc., we found the following to be effective: exploiting distributional regularities in monolingual data, projecting information across closely related languages, and utilizing human linguist judgments. We show promising results on both a four-month exercise in Sorani and a two-day exercise in Tajik, achieved with minimal annotation costs.

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PanPhon: A Resource for Mapping IPA Segments to Articulatory Feature Vectors
David R. Mortensen | Patrick Littell | Akash Bharadwaj | Kartik Goyal | Chris Dyer | Lori Levin
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers

This paper contributes to a growing body of evidence that—when coupled with appropriate machine-learning techniques–linguistically motivated, information-rich representations can outperform one-hot encodings of linguistic data. In particular, we show that phonological features outperform character-based models. PanPhon is a database relating over 5,000 IPA segments to 21 subsegmental articulatory features. We show that this database boosts performance in various NER-related tasks. Phonologically aware, neural CRF models built on PanPhon features are able to perform better on monolingual Spanish and Turkish NER tasks that character-based models. They have also been shown to work well in transfer models (as between Uzbek and Turkish). PanPhon features also contribute measurably to Orthography-to-IPA conversion tasks.

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Bridge-Language Capitalization Inference in Western Iranian: Sorani, Kurmanji, Zazaki, and Tajik
Patrick Littell | David R. Mortensen | Kartik Goyal | Chris Dyer | Lori Levin
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC'16)

In Sorani Kurdish, one of the most useful orthographic features in named-entity recognition – capitalization – is absent, as the language’s Perso-Arabic script does not make a distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters. We describe a system for deriving an inferred capitalization value from closely related languages by phonological similarity, and illustrate the system using several related Western Iranian languages.