Construction Grammar (CxG) has recently been used as the basis for probing studies that have investigated the performance of large pretrained language models (PLMs) with respect to the structure and meaning of constructions. In this position paper, we make suggestions for the continuation and augmentation of this line of research. We look at probing methodology that was not designed with CxG in mind, as well as probing methodology that was designed for specific constructions. We analyse selected previous work in detail, and provide our view of the most important challenges and research questions that this promising new field faces.
The CODI-CRAC 2022 Shared Task on Anaphora Resolution in Dialogues is the second edition of an initiative focused on detecting different types of anaphoric relations in conversations of different kinds. Using five conversational datasets, four of which have been newly annotated with a wide range of anaphoric relations: identity, bridging references and discourse deixis, we defined multiple tasks focusing individually on these key relations. The second edition of the shared task maintained the focus on these relations and used the same datasets as in 2021, but new test data were annotated, the 2021 data were checked, and new subtasks were added. In this paper, we discuss the annotation schemes, the datasets, the evaluation scripts used to assess the system performance on these tasks, and provide a brief summary of the participating systems and the results obtained across 230 runs from three teams, with most submissions achieving significantly better results than our baseline methods.
Recently, pre-training contextualized encoders with language model (LM) objectives has been shown an effective semi-supervised method for structured prediction. In this work, we empirically explore an alternative pre-training method for contextualized encoders. Instead of predicting words in LMs, we “mask out” and predict word order information, with a local ordering strategy and word-selecting objectives. With evaluations on three typical structured prediction tasks (dependency parsing, POS tagging, and NER) over four languages (English, Finnish, Czech, and Italian), we show that our method is consistently beneficial. We further conduct detailed error analysis, including one that examines a specific type of parsing error where the head is misidentified. The results show that pre-trained contextual encoders can bring improvements in a structured way, suggesting that they may be able to capture higher-order patterns and feature combinations from unlabeled data.
We present a resource for computational experiments on Mapudungun, a polysynthetic indigenous language spoken in Chile with upwards of 200 thousand speakers. We provide 142 hours of culturally significant conversations in the domain of medical treatment. The conversations are fully transcribed and translated into Spanish. The transcriptions also include annotations for code-switching and non-standard pronunciations. We also provide baseline results on three core NLP tasks: speech recognition, speech synthesis, and machine translation between Spanish and Mapudungun. We further explore other applications for which the corpus will be suitable, including the study of code-switching, historical orthography change, linguistic structure, and sociological and anthropological studies.
Interlinear Glossed Text (IGT) is a widely used format for encoding linguistic information in language documentation projects and scholarly papers. Manual production of IGT takes time and requires linguistic expertise. We attempt to address this issue by creating automatic glossing models, using modern multi-source neural models that additionally leverage easy-to-collect translations. We further explore cross-lingual transfer and a simple output length control mechanism, further refining our models. Evaluated on three challenging low-resource scenarios, our approach significantly outperforms a recent, state-of-the-art baseline, particularly improving on overall accuracy as well as lemma and tag recall.
Cross-lingual word embedding (CWE) algorithms represent words in multiple languages in a unified vector space. Multi-Word Expressions (MWE) are common in every language. When training word embeddings, each component word of an MWE gets its own separate embedding, and thus, MWEs are not translated by CWEs. We propose a simple method for word translation of MWEs to and from English in ten languages: we first compile lists of MWEs in each language and then tokenize the MWEs as single tokens before training word embeddings. CWEs are trained on a word-translation task using the dictionaries that only contain single words. In order to evaluate MWE translation, we created bilingual word lists from multilingual WordNet that include single-token words and MWEs, and most importantly, include MWEs that correspond to single words in another language. We release these dictionaries to the research community. We show that the pre-tokenization of MWEs as single tokens performs better than averaging the embeddings of the individual tokens of the MWE. We can translate MWEs at a top-10 precision of 30-60%. The tokenization of MWEs makes the occurrences of single words in a training corpus more sparse, but we show that it does not pose negative impacts on single-word translations.
This paper introduces the surface construction labeling (SCL) task, which expands the coverage of Shallow Semantic Parsing (SSP) to include frames triggered by complex constructions. We present DeepCx, a neural, transition-based system for SCL. As a test case for the approach, we apply DeepCx to the task of tagging causal language in English, which relies on a wider variety of constructions than are typically addressed in SSP. We report substantial improvements over previous tagging efforts on a causal language dataset. We also propose ways DeepCx could be extended to still more difficult constructions and to other semantic domains once appropriate datasets become available.
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.
In this talk I will describe the interaction of linguistics and language technologies in Surface Construction Labeling (SCL) from the perspective of corpus annotation tasks such as definiteness, modality, and causality. Linguistically, following Construction Grammar, SCL recognizes that meaning may be carried by morphemes, words, or arbitrary constellations of morpho-lexical elements. SCL is like Shallow Semantic Parsing in that it does not attempt a full compositional analysis of meaning, but rather identifies only the main elements of a semantic frame, where the frames may be invoked by constructions as well as lexical items. Computationally, SCL is different from tasks such as information extraction in that it deals only with meanings that are expressed in a conventional, grammaticalized way and does not address inferred meanings. I review the work of Dunietz (2018) on the labeling of causal frames including causal connectives and cause and effect arguments. I will describe how to design an annotation scheme for SCL, including isolating basic units of form and meaning and building a “constructicon”. I will conclude with remarks about the nature of universal categories and universal meaning representations in language technologies. This talk describes joint work with Jaime Carbonell, Jesse Dunietz, Nathan Schneider, and Miriam Petruck.
This paper explores extending shallow semantic parsing beyond lexical-unit triggers, using causal relations as a test case. Semantic parsing becomes difficult in the face of the wide variety of linguistic realizations that causation can take on. We therefore base our approach on the concept of constructions from the linguistic paradigm known as Construction Grammar (CxG). In CxG, a construction is a form/function pairing that can rely on arbitrary linguistic and semantic features. Rather than codifying all aspects of each construction’s form, as some attempts to employ CxG in NLP have done, we propose methods that offload that problem to machine learning. We describe two supervised approaches for tagging causal constructions and their arguments. Both approaches combine automatically induced pattern-matching rules with statistical classifiers that learn the subtler parameters of the constructions. Our results show that these approaches are promising: they significantly outperform naïve baselines for both construction recognition and cause and effect head matches.
Language of cause and effect captures an essential component of the semantics of a text. However, causal language is also intertwined with other semantic relations, such as temporal precedence and correlation. This makes it difficult to determine when causation is the primary intended meaning. This paper presents BECauSE 2.0, a new version of the BECauSE corpus with exhaustively annotated expressions of causal language, but also seven semantic relations that are frequently co-present with causation. The new corpus shows high inter-annotator agreement, and yields insights both about the linguistic expressions of causation and about the process of annotating co-present semantic relations.
Code-switching has been found to have social motivations in addition to syntactic constraints. In this work, we explore the social effect of code-switching in an online community. We present a task from the Arabic Wikipedia to capture language choice, in this case code-switching between Arabic and other languages, as a predictor of social influence in collaborative editing. We find that code-switching is positively associated with Wikipedia editor success, particularly borrowing technical language on pages with topics less directly related to Arabic-speaking regions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We present a definiteness annotation scheme that captures the semantic, pragmatic, and discourse information, which we call communicative functions, associated with linguistic descriptions such as “a story about my speech”, “the story”, “every time I give it”, “this slideshow”. A survey of the literature suggests that definiteness does not express a single communicative function but is a grammaticalization of many such functions, for example, identifiability, familiarity, uniqueness, specificity. Our annotation scheme unifies ideas from previous research on definiteness while attempting to remove redundancy and make it easily annotatable. This annotation scheme encodes the communicative functions of definiteness rather than the grammatical forms of definiteness. We assume that the communicative functions are largely maintained across languages while the grammaticalization of this information may vary. One of the final goals is to use our semantically annotated corpora to discover how definiteness is grammaticalized in different languages. We release our annotated corpora for English and Hindi, and sample annotations for Hebrew and Russian, together with an annotation manual.
This paper describes a suite of tools for extracting conventionalized metaphors in English, Spanish, Farsi, and Russian. The method depends on three significant resources for each language: a corpus of conventionalized metaphors, a table of conventionalized conceptual metaphors (CCM table), and a set of extraction rules. Conventionalized metaphors are things like “escape from poverty” and “burden of taxation”. For each metaphor, the CCM table contains the metaphorical source domain word (such as “escape”) the target domain word (such as “poverty”) and the grammatical construction in which they can be found. The extraction rules operate on the output of a dependency parser and identify the grammatical configurations (such as a verb with a prepositional phrase complement) that are likely to contain conventional metaphors. We present results on detection rates for conventional metaphors and analysis of the similarity and differences of source domains for conventional metaphors in the four languages.
While many high-quality tools are available for analyzing major languages such as English, equivalent freely-available tools for important but lower-resourced languages such as Farsi are more difficult to acquire and integrate into a useful NLP front end. We report here on an accurate and efficient Farsi analysis front end that we have assembled, which may be useful to others who wish to work with written Farsi. The pre-existing components and resources that we incorporated include the Carnegie Mellon TurboParser and TurboTagger (Martins et al., 2010) trained on the Dadegan Treebank (Rasooli et al., 2013), the Uppsala Farsi text normalizer PrePer (Seraji, 2013), the Uppsala Farsi tokenizer (Seraji et al., 2012a), and Jon Dehdaris PerStem (Jadidinejad et al., 2010). This set of tools (combined with additional normalization and tokenization modules that we have developed and made available) achieves a dependency parsing labeled attachment score of 89.49%, unlabeled attachment score of 92.19%, and label accuracy score of 91.38% on a held-out parsing test data set. All of the components and resources used are freely available. In addition to describing the components and resources, we also explain the rationale for our choices.
We describe a morphological analyzer for the Swahili language, written in an extension of XFST/LEXC intended for the easy declaration of morphophonological patterns and importation of lexical resources. Our analyzer was supplemented extensively with data from the Kamusi Project (kamusi.org), a user-contributed multilingual dictionary. Making use of this resource allowed us to achieve wide lexical coverage quickly, but the heterogeneous nature of user-contributed content also poses some challenges when adapting it for use in an expert system.
We describe a unified and coherent syntactic framework for supporting a semantically-informed syntactic approach to statistical machine translation. Semantically enriched syntactic tags assigned to the target-language training texts improved translation quality. The resulting system significantly outperformed a linguistically naive baseline model (Hiero), and reached the highest scores yet reported on the NIST 2009 Urdu-English translation task. This finding supports the hypothesis (posed by many researchers in the MT community, e.g., in DARPA GALE) that both syntactic and semantic information are critical for improving translation quality—and further demonstrates that large gains can be achieved for low-resource languages with different word order than English.
This paper describes our resource-building results for an eight-week JHU Human Language Technology Center of Excellence Summer Camp for Applied Language Exploration (SCALE-2009) on Semantically-Informed Machine Translation. Specifically, we describe the construction of a modality annotation scheme, a modality lexicon, and two automated modality taggers that were built using the lexicon and annotation scheme. Our annotation scheme is based on identifying three components of modality: a trigger, a target and a holder. We describe how our modality lexicon was produced semi-automatically, expanding from an initial hand-selected list of modality trigger words and phrases. The resulting expanded modality lexicon is being made publicly available. We demonstrate that one tagger―a structure-based tagger―results in precision around 86% (depending on genre) for tagging of a standard LDC data set. In a machine translation application, using the structure-based tagger to annotate English modalities on an English-Urdu training corpus improved the translation quality score for Urdu by 0.3 Bleu points in the face of sparse training data.
Data Selection has emerged as a common issue in language technologies. We define Data Selection as the choosing of a subset of training data that is most effective for a given task. This paper describes deductive feature detection, one component of a data selection system for machine translation. Feature detection determines whether features such as tense, number, and person are expressed in a language. The database of the The World Atlas of Language Structures provides a gold standard against which to evaluate feature detection. The discovered features can be used as input to a Navigator, which uses active learning to determine which piece of language data is the most important to acquire next.
Producing machine translation (MT) for the many minority languages in the world is a serious challenge. Minority languages typically have few resources for building MT systems. For many minor languages there is little machine readable text, few knowledgeable linguists, and little money available for MT development. For these reasons, our research programs on minority language MT have focused on leveraging to the maximum extent two resources that are available for minority languages: linguistic structure and bilingual informants. All natural languages contain linguistic structure. And although the details of that linguistic structure vary from language to language, language universals such as context-free syntactic structure and the paradigmatic structure of inflectional morphology, allow us to learn the specific details of a minority language. Similarly, most minority languages possess speakers who are bilingual with the major language of the area. This paper discusses our efforts to utilize linguistic structure and the translation information that bilingual informants can provide in three sub-areas of our rapid development MT program: morphology induction, syntactic transfer rule learning, and refinement of imperfect learned rules.
This paper describes an effort to investigate the incrementally deepening development of an interlingua notation, validated by human annotation of texts in English plus six languages. We begin with deep syntactic annotation, and in this paper present a series of annotation manuals for six different languages at the deep-syntactic level of representation. Many syntactic differences between languages are removed in the proposed syntactic annotation, making them useful resources for multilingual NLP projects with semantic components.
In this document we will describe a semi-automated process for creating elicitation corpora. An elicitation corpus is translated by a bilingual consultant in order to produce high quality word aligned sentence pairs. The corpus sentences are automatically generated from detailed feature structures using the GenKit generation program. Feature structures themselves are automatically generated from information that is provided by a linguist using our corpus specification software. This helps us to build small, flexible corpora for testing and development of machine translation systems.
MT systems that use only superficial representations, including the current generation of statistical MT systems, have been successful and useful. However, they will experience a plateau in quality, much like other “silver bullet” approaches to MT. We pursue work on the development of interlingual representations for use in symbolic or hybrid MT systems. In this paper, we describe the creation of an interlingua and the development of a corpus of semantically annotated text, to be validated in six languages and evaluated in several ways. We have established a distributed, well-functioning research methodology, designed a preliminary interlingua notation, created annotation manuals and tools, developed a test collection in six languages with associated English translations, annotated some 150 translations, and designed and applied various annotation metrics. We describe the data sets being annotated and the interlingual (IL) representation language which uses two ontologies and a systematic theta-role list. We present the annotation tools built and outline the annotation process. Following this, we describe our evaluation methodology and conclude with a summary of issues that have arisen.
Machine Translation of minority languages presents unique challenges, including the paucity of bilingual training data and the unavailability of linguistically-trained speakers. This paper focuses on a machine learning approach to transfer-based MT, where data in the form of translations and lexical alignments are elicited from bilingual speakers, and a seeded version-space learning algorithm formulates and refines transfer rules. A rule-generalization lattice is defined based on LFG-style f-structures, permitting generalization operators in the search for the most general rules consistent with the elicited data. The paper presents these methods and illustrates examples.
NESPOLE! is a speech-to-speech machine translation research system designed to provide fully functional speech-to-speech capabilities within real-world settings of common users involved in e-commerce applications. The project is funded jointly by the European Commission and the US NSF. The NESPOLE! system uses a client-server architecture to allow a common user, who is browsing web-pages on the internet, to connect seamlessly in real-time to an agent of the service provider, using a video-conferencing channel and with speech-to-speech translation services mediating the conversation. Shared web pages and annotated images supported via a Whiteboard application are available to enhance the communication.
NICE is a machine translation project for low-density languages. We are building a tool that will elicit a controlled corpus from a bilingual speaker who is not an expert in linguistics. The corpus is intended to cover major typological phenomena, as it is designed to work for any language. Using implicational universals, we strive to minimize the number of sentences that each informant has to translate. From the elicited sentences, we learn transfer rules with a version space algorithm. Our vision for MT in the future is one in which systems can be quickly trained for new languages by native speakers, so that speakers of minor languages can participate in education, health care, government, and internet without having to give up their languages.
The MT engine of the JANUS speech-to-speech translation system is designed around four main principles: 1) an interlingua approach that allows the efficient addition of new languages, 2) the use of semantic grammars that yield low cost high quality translations for limited domains, 3) modular grammars that support easy expansion into new domains, and 4) efficient integration of multiple grammars using multi-domain parse lattices and domain re-scoring. Within the framework of the C-STAR-II speech-to-speech translation effort, these principles are tested against the challenge of providing translation for a number of domains and language pairs with the additional restriction of a common interchange format.