Jingfeng Yang


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Multi-VALUE: A Framework for Cross-Dialectal English NLP
Caleb Ziems | William Held | Jingfeng Yang | Jwala Dhamala | Rahul Gupta | Diyi Yang
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Dialect differences caused by regional, social, and economic factors cause performance discrepancies for many groups of language technology users. Inclusive and equitable language technology must critically be dialect invariant, meaning that performance remains constant over dialectal shifts. Current systems often fall short of this ideal since they are designed and tested on a single dialect: Standard American English (SAE). We introduce a suite of resources for evaluating and achieving English dialect invariance. The resource is called Multi-VALUE, a controllable rule-based translation system spanning 50 English dialects and 189 unique linguistic features. Multi-VALUE maps SAE to synthetic forms of each dialect. First, we use this system to stress tests question answering, machine translation, and semantic parsing. Stress tests reveal significant performance disparities for leading models on non-standard dialects. Second, we use this system as a data augmentation technique to improve the dialect robustness of existing systems. Finally, we partner with native speakers of Chicano and Indian English to release new gold-standard variants of the popular CoQA task. To execute the transformation code, run model checkpoints, and download both synthetic and gold-standard dialectal benchmark datasets, see http://value-nlp.org.


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TableFormer: Robust Transformer Modeling for Table-Text Encoding
Jingfeng Yang | Aditya Gupta | Shyam Upadhyay | Luheng He | Rahul Goel | Shachi Paul
Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Understanding tables is an important aspect of natural language understanding. Existing models for table understanding require linearization of the table structure, where row or column order is encoded as an unwanted bias. Such spurious biases make the model vulnerable to row and column order perturbations. Additionally, prior work has not thoroughly modeled the table structures or table-text alignments, hindering the table-text understanding ability. In this work, we propose a robust and structurally aware table-text encoding architecture TableFormer, where tabular structural biases are incorporated completely through learnable attention biases. TableFormer is (1) strictly invariant to row and column orders, and, (2) could understand tables better due to its tabular inductive biases. Our evaluations showed that TableFormer outperforms strong baselines in all settings on SQA, WTQ and TabFact table reasoning datasets, and achieves state-of-the-art performance on SQA, especially when facing answer-invariant row and column order perturbations (6% improvement over the best baseline), because previous SOTA models’ performance drops by 4% - 6% when facing such perturbations while TableFormer is not affected.

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SEQZERO: Few-shot Compositional Semantic Parsing with Sequential Prompts and Zero-shot Models
Jingfeng Yang | Haoming Jiang | Qingyu Yin | Danqing Zhang | Bing Yin | Diyi Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Recent research showed promising results on combining pretrained language models (LMs) with canonical utterance for few-shot semantic parsing. The canonical utterance is often lengthy and complex due to the compositional structure of formal languages. Learning to generate such canonical utterance requires significant amount of data to reach high performance. Fine-tuning with only few-shot samples, the LMs can easily forget pretrained knowledge, overfit spurious biases, and suffer from compositionally out-of-distribution generalization errors. To tackle these issues, we propose a novel few-shot semantic parsing method – SEQZERO. SEQZERO decomposes the problem into a sequence of sub-problems, which corresponds to the sub-clauses of the formal language. Based on the decomposition, the LMs only need to generate short answers using prompts for predicting sub-clauses. Thus, SEQZERO avoids generating a long canonical utterance at once. Moreover, SEQZERO employs not only a few-shot model but also a zero-shot model to alleviate the overfitting.In particular, SEQZERO brings out the merits from both models via ensemble equipped with our proposed constrained rescaling.SEQZERO achieves SOTA performance of BART-based models on GeoQuery and EcommerceQuery, which are two few-shot datasets with compositional data split.

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SUBS: Subtree Substitution for Compositional Semantic Parsing
Jingfeng Yang | Le Zhang | Diyi Yang
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Although sequence-to-sequence models often achieve good performance in semantic parsing for i.i.d. data, their performance is still inferior in compositional generalization. Several data augmentation methods have been proposed to alleviate this problem. However, prior work only leveraged superficial grammar or rules for data augmentation, which resulted in limited improvement. We propose to use subtree substitution for compositional data augmentation, where we consider subtrees with similar semantic functions as exchangeable. Our experiments showed that such augmented data led to significantly better performance on Scan and GeoQuery, and reached new SOTA on compositional split of GeoQuery.


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Frustratingly Simple but Surprisingly Strong: Using Language-Independent Features for Zero-shot Cross-lingual Semantic Parsing
Jingfeng Yang | Federico Fancellu | Bonnie Webber | Diyi Yang
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

The availability of corpora has led to significant advances in training semantic parsers in English. Unfortunately, for languages other than English, annotated data is limited and so is the performance of the developed parsers. Recently, pretrained multilingual models have been proven useful for zero-shot cross-lingual transfer in many NLP tasks. What else does it require to apply a parser trained in English to other languages for zero-shot cross-lingual semantic parsing? Will simple language-independent features help? To this end, we experiment with six Discourse Representation Structure (DRS) semantic parsers in English, and generalize them to Italian, German and Dutch, where there are only a small number of manually annotated parses available. Extensive experiments show that despite its simplicity, adding Universal Dependency (UD) relations and Universal POS tags (UPOS) as model-agnostic features achieves surprisingly strong improvement on all parsers.

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WIKIBIAS: Detecting Multi-Span Subjective Biases in Language
Yang Zhong | Jingfeng Yang | Wei Xu | Diyi Yang
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Biases continue to be prevalent in modern text and media, especially subjective bias – a special type of bias that introduces improper attitudes or presents a statement with the presupposition of truth. To tackle the problem of detecting and further mitigating subjective bias, we introduce a manually annotated parallel corpus WIKIBIAS with more than 4,000 sentence pairs from Wikipedia edits. This corpus contains annotations towards both sentence-level bias types and token-level biased segments. We present systematic analyses of our dataset and results achieved by a set of state-of-the-art baselines in terms of three tasks: bias classification, tagging biased segments, and neutralizing biased text. We find that current models still struggle with detecting multi-span biases despite their reasonable performances, suggesting that our dataset can serve as a useful research benchmark. We also demonstrate that models trained on our dataset can generalize well to multiple domains such as news and political speeches.


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Planning and Generating Natural and Diverse Disfluent Texts as Augmentation for Disfluency Detection
Jingfeng Yang | Diyi Yang | Zhaoran Ma
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Existing approaches to disfluency detection heavily depend on human-annotated data. Numbers of data augmentation methods have been proposed to alleviate the dependence on labeled data. However, current augmentation approaches such as random insertion or repetition fail to resemble training corpus well and usually resulted in unnatural and limited types of disfluencies. In this work, we propose a simple Planner-Generator based disfluency generation model to generate natural and diverse disfluent texts as augmented data, where the Planner decides on where to insert disfluent segments and the Generator follows the prediction to generate corresponding disfluent segments. We further utilize this augmented data for pretraining and leverage it for the task of disfluency detection. Experiments demonstrated that our two-stage disfluency generation model outperforms existing baselines; those disfluent sentences generated significantly aided the task of disfluency detection and led to state-of-the-art performance on Switchboard corpus.


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Toward Fast and Accurate Neural Discourse Segmentation
Yizhong Wang | Sujian Li | Jingfeng Yang
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Discourse segmentation, which segments texts into Elementary Discourse Units, is a fundamental step in discourse analysis. Previous discourse segmenters rely on complicated hand-crafted features and are not practical in actual use. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end neural segmenter based on BiLSTM-CRF framework. To improve its accuracy, we address the problem of data insufficiency by transferring a word representation model that is trained on a large corpus. We also propose a restricted self-attention mechanism in order to capture useful information within a neighborhood. Experiments on the RST-DT corpus show that our model is significantly faster than previous methods, while achieving new state-of-the-art performance.


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Tag-Enhanced Tree-Structured Neural Networks for Implicit Discourse Relation Classification
Yizhong Wang | Sujian Li | Jingfeng Yang | Xu Sun | Houfeng Wang
Proceedings of the Eighth International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Identifying implicit discourse relations between text spans is a challenging task because it requires understanding the meaning of the text. To tackle this task, recent studies have tried several deep learning methods but few of them exploited the syntactic information. In this work, we explore the idea of incorporating syntactic parse tree into neural networks. Specifically, we employ the Tree-LSTM model and Tree-GRU model, which is based on the tree structure, to encode the arguments in a relation. And we further leverage the constituent tags to control the semantic composition process in these tree-structured neural networks. Experimental results show that our method achieves state-of-the-art performance on PDTB corpus.