Gerasimos Fergadiotis


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Mixed Orthographic/Phonemic Language Modeling: Beyond Orthographically Restricted Transformers (BORT)
Robert Gale | Alexandra Salem | Gerasimos Fergadiotis | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP 2023)

Speech language pathologists rely on information spanning the layers of language, often drawing from multiple layers (e.g. phonology & semantics) at once. Recent innovations in large language models (LLMs) have been shown to build powerful representations for many complex language structures, especially syntax and semantics, unlocking the potential of large datasets through self-supervised learning techniques. However, these datasets are overwhelmingly orthographic, favoring writing systems like the English alphabet, a natural but phonetically imprecise choice. Meanwhile, LLM support for the international phonetic alphabet (IPA) ranges from poor to absent. Further, LLMs encode text at a word- or near-word level, and pre-training tasks have little to gain from phonetic/phonemic representations. In this paper, we introduce BORT, an LLM for mixed orthography/IPA meant to overcome these limitations. To this end, we extend the pre-training of an existing LLM with our own self-supervised pronunciation tasks. We then fine-tune for a clinical task that requires simultaneous phonological and semantic analysis. For an “easy” and “hard” version of these tasks, we show that fine-tuning from our models is more accurate by a relative 24% and 29%, and improved on character error rates by a relative 75% and 31%, respectively, than those starting from the original model.


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The Post-Stroke Speech Transcription (PSST) Challenge
Robert C. Gale | Mikala Fleegle | Gerasimos Fergadiotis | Steven Bedrick
Proceedings of the RaPID Workshop - Resources and ProcessIng of linguistic, para-linguistic and extra-linguistic Data from people with various forms of cognitive/psychiatric/developmental impairments - within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We present the outcome of the Post-Stroke Speech Transcription (PSST) challenge. For the challenge, we prepared a new data resource of responses to two confrontation naming tests found in AphasiaBank, extracting audio and adding new phonemic transcripts for each response. The challenge consisted of two tasks. Task A asked challengers to build an automatic speech recognizer (ASR) for phonemic transcription of the PSST samples, evaluated in terms of phoneme error rate (PER) as well as a finer-grained metric derived from phonological feature theory, feature error rate (FER). The best model had a 9.9% FER / 20.0% PER, improving on our baseline by a relative 18% and 24%, respectively. Task B approximated a downstream assessment task, asking challengers to identify whether each recording contained a correctly pronounced target word. Challengers were unable to improve on the baseline algorithm; however, using this algorithm with the improved transcripts from Task A resulted in 92.8% accuracy / 0.921 F1, a relative improvement of 2.8% and 3.3%, respectively.


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Target word prediction and paraphasia classification in spoken discourse
Joel Adams | Steven Bedrick | Gerasimos Fergadiotis | Kyle Gorman | Jan van Santen
BioNLP 2017

We present a system for automatically detecting and classifying phonologically anomalous productions in the speech of individuals with aphasia. Working from transcribed discourse samples, our system identifies neologisms, and uses a combination of string alignment and language models to produce a lattice of plausible words that the speaker may have intended to produce. We then score this lattice according to various features, and attempt to determine whether the anomalous production represented a phonemic error or a genuine neologism. This approach has the potential to be expanded to consider other types of paraphasic errors, and could be applied to a wide variety of screening and therapeutic applications.