Isabel Papadimitriou


2022

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When classifying arguments, BERT doesn’t care about word order...except when it matters
Isabel Papadimitriou | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics 2022

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Quality at a Glance: An Audit of Web-Crawled Multilingual Datasets
Julia Kreutzer | Isaac Caswell | Lisa Wang | Ahsan Wahab | Daan van Esch | Nasanbayar Ulzii-Orshikh | Allahsera Tapo | Nishant Subramani | Artem Sokolov | Claytone Sikasote | Monang Setyawan | Supheakmungkol Sarin | Sokhar Samb | Benoît Sagot | Clara Rivera | Annette Rios | Isabel Papadimitriou | Salomey Osei | Pedro Ortiz Suarez | Iroro Orife | Kelechi Ogueji | Andre Niyongabo Rubungo | Toan Q. Nguyen | Mathias Müller | André Müller | Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad | Nanda Muhammad | Ayanda Mnyakeni | Jamshidbek Mirzakhalov | Tapiwanashe Matangira | Colin Leong | Nze Lawson | Sneha Kudugunta | Yacine Jernite | Mathias Jenny | Orhan Firat | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Sakhile Dlamini | Nisansa de Silva | Sakine Çabuk Ballı | Stella Biderman | Alessia Battisti | Ahmed Baruwa | Ankur Bapna | Pallavi Baljekar | Israel Abebe Azime | Ayodele Awokoya | Duygu Ataman | Orevaoghene Ahia | Oghenefego Ahia | Sweta Agrawal | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

With the success of large-scale pre-training and multilingual modeling in Natural Language Processing (NLP), recent years have seen a proliferation of large, Web-mined text datasets covering hundreds of languages. We manually audit the quality of 205 language-specific corpora released with five major public datasets (CCAligned, ParaCrawl, WikiMatrix, OSCAR, mC4). Lower-resource corpora have systematic issues: At least 15 corpora have no usable text, and a significant fraction contains less than 50% sentences of acceptable quality. In addition, many are mislabeled or use nonstandard/ambiguous language codes. We demonstrate that these issues are easy to detect even for non-proficient speakers, and supplement the human audit with automatic analyses. Finally, we recommend techniques to evaluate and improve multilingual corpora and discuss potential risks that come with low-quality data releases.

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When classifying grammatical role, BERT doesn’t care about word order... except when it matters
Isabel Papadimitriou | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

Because meaning can often be inferred from lexical semantics alone, word order is often a redundant cue in natural language. For example, the words chopped, chef, and onion are more likely used to convey “The chef chopped the onion,” not “The onion chopped the chef.” Recent work has shown large language models to be surprisingly word order invariant, but crucially has largely considered natural prototypical inputs, where compositional meaning mostly matches lexical expectations. To overcome this confound, we probe grammatical role representation in English BERT and GPT-2, on instances where lexical expectations are not sufficient, and word order knowledge is necessary for correct classification. Such non-prototypical instances are naturally occurring English sentences with inanimate subjects or animate objects, or sentences where we systematically swap the arguments to make sentences like “The onion chopped the chef”. We find that, while early layer embeddings are largely lexical, word order is in fact crucial in defining the later-layer representations of words in semantically non-prototypical positions. Our experiments isolate the effect of word order on the contextualization process, and highlight how models use context in the uncommon, but critical, instances where it matters.

2021

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Deep Subjecthood: Higher-Order Grammatical Features in Multilingual BERT
Isabel Papadimitriou | Ethan A. Chi | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

We investigate how Multilingual BERT (mBERT) encodes grammar by examining how the high-order grammatical feature of morphosyntactic alignment (how different languages define what counts as a “subject”) is manifested across the embedding spaces of different languages. To understand if and how morphosyntactic alignment affects contextual embedding spaces, we train classifiers to recover the subjecthood of mBERT embeddings in transitive sentences (which do not contain overt information about morphosyntactic alignment) and then evaluate them zero-shot on intransitive sentences (where subjecthood classification depends on alignment), within and across languages. We find that the resulting classifier distributions reflect the morphosyntactic alignment of their training languages. Our results demonstrate that mBERT representations are influenced by high-level grammatical features that are not manifested in any one input sentence, and that this is robust across languages. Further examining the characteristics that our classifiers rely on, we find that features such as passive voice, animacy and case strongly correlate with classification decisions, suggesting that mBERT does not encode subjecthood purely syntactically, but that subjecthood embedding is continuous and dependent on semantic and discourse factors, as is proposed in much of the functional linguistics literature. Together, these results provide insight into how grammatical features manifest in contextual embedding spaces, at a level of abstraction not covered by previous work.

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Multilingual BERT, ergativity, and grammatical subjecthood
Isabel Papadimitriou | Ethan A. Chi | Richard Futrell | Kyle Mahowald
Proceedings of the Society for Computation in Linguistics 2021

2020

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Learning Music Helps You Read: Using Transfer to Study Linguistic Structure in Language Models
Isabel Papadimitriou | Dan Jurafsky
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

We propose transfer learning as a method for analyzing the encoding of grammatical structure in neural language models. We train LSTMs on non-linguistic data and evaluate their performance on natural language to assess which kinds of data induce generalizable structural features that LSTMs can use for natural language. We find that training on non-linguistic data with latent structure (MIDI music or Java code) improves test performance on natural language, despite no overlap in surface form or vocabulary. To pinpoint the kinds of abstract structure that models may be encoding to lead to this improvement, we run similar experiments with two artificial parentheses languages: one which has a hierarchical recursive structure, and a control which has paired tokens but no recursion. Surprisingly, training a model on either of these artificial languages leads the same substantial gains when testing on natural language. Further experiments on transfer between natural languages controlling for vocabulary overlap show that zero-shot performance on a test language is highly correlated with typological syntactic similarity to the training language, suggesting that representations induced by pre-training correspond to the cross-linguistic syntactic properties. Our results provide insights into the ways that neural models represent abstract syntactic structure, and also about the kind of structural inductive biases which allow for natural language acquisition.