Pre-trained language models have been known to perpetuate biases from the underlying datasets to downstream tasks. However, these findings are predominantly based on monolingual language models for English, whereas there are few investigative studies of biases encoded in language models for languages beyond English. In this paper, we fill this gap by analysing gender bias in West Slavic language models. We introduce the first template-based dataset in Czech, Polish, and Slovak for measuring gender bias towards male, female and non-binary subjects. We complete the sentences using both mono- and multilingual language models and assess their suitability for the masked language modelling objective. Next, we measure gender bias encoded in West Slavic language models by quantifying the toxicity and genderness of the generated words. We find that these language models produce hurtful completions that depend on the subject’s gender. Perhaps surprisingly, Czech, Slovak, and Polish language models produce more hurtful completions with men as subjects, which, upon inspection, we find is due to completions being related to violence, death, and sickness.
Data-driven analyses of biases in historical texts can help illuminate the origin and development of biases prevailing in modern society. However, digitised historical documents pose a challenge for NLP practitioners as these corpora suffer from errors introduced by optical character recognition (OCR) and are written in an archaic language. In this paper, we investigate the continuities and transformations of bias in historical newspapers published in the Caribbean during the colonial era (18th to 19th centuries). Our analyses are performed along the axes of gender, race, and their intersection. We examine these biases by conducting a temporal study in which we measure the development of lexical associations using distributional semantics models and word embeddings. Further, we evaluate the effectiveness of techniques designed to process OCR-generated data and assess their stability when trained on and applied to the noisy historical newspapers. We find that there is a trade-off between the stability of the word embeddings and their compatibility with the historical dataset. We provide evidence that gender and racial biases are interdependent, and their intersection triggers distinct effects. These findings align with the theory of intersectionality, which stresses that biases affecting people with multiple marginalised identities compound to more than the sum of their constituents.
The success of multilingual pre-trained models is underpinned by their ability to learn representations shared by multiple languages even in absence of any explicit supervision. However, it remains unclear how these models learn to generalise across languages. In this work, we conjecture that multilingual pre-trained models can derive language-universal abstractions about grammar. In particular, we investigate whether morphosyntactic information is encoded in the same subset of neurons in different languages. We conduct the first large-scale empirical study over 43 languages and 14 morphosyntactic categories with a state-of-the-art neuron-level probe. Our findings show that the cross-lingual overlap between neurons is significant, but its extent may vary across categories and depends on language proximity and pre-training data size.