In traditional Visual Question Generation (VQG), most images have multiple concepts (e.g. objects and categories) for which a question could be generated, but models are trained to mimic an arbitrary choice of concept as given in their training data. This makes training difficult and also poses issues for evaluation – multiple valid questions exist for most images but only one or a few are captured by the human references. We present Guiding Visual Question Generation - a variant of VQG which conditions the question generator on categorical information based on expectations on the type of question and the objects it should explore. We propose two variant families: (i) an explicitly guided model that enables an actor (human or automated) to select which objects and categories to generate a question for; and (ii) 2 types of implicitly guided models that learn which objects and categories to condition on, based on discrete variables. The proposed models are evaluated on an answer-category augmented VQA dataset and our quantitative results show a substantial improvement over the current state of the art (over 9 BLEU-4 increase). Human evaluation validates that guidance helps the generation of questions that are grammatically coherent and relevant to the given image and objects.
Targeted studies testing knowledge of subject-verb agreement (SVA) indicate that pre-trained language models encode syntactic information. We assert that if models robustly encode subject-verb agreement, they should be able to identify when agreement is correct and when it is incorrect. To that end, we propose grammatical error detection as a diagnostic probe to evaluate token-level contextual representations for their knowledge of SVA. We evaluate contextual representations at each layer from five pre-trained English language models: BERT, XLNet, GPT-2, RoBERTa and ELECTRA. We leverage public annotated training data from both English second language learners and Wikipedia edits, and report results on manually crafted stimuli for subject-verb agreement. We find that masked language models linearly encode information relevant to the detection of SVA errors, while the autoregressive models perform on par with our baseline. However, we also observe a divergence in performance when probes are trained on different training sets, and when they are evaluated on different syntactic constructions, suggesting the information pertaining to SVA error detection is not robustly encoded.
State-of-the-art pre-trained language models have been shown to memorise facts and perform well with limited amounts of training data. To gain a better understanding of how these models learn, we study their generalisation and memorisation capabilities in noisy and low-resource scenarios. We find that the training of these models is almost unaffected by label noise and that it is possible to reach near-optimal results even on extremely noisy datasets. However, our experiments also show that they mainly learn from high-frequency patterns and largely fail when tested on low-resource tasks such as few-shot learning and rare entity recognition. To mitigate such limitations, we propose an extension based on prototypical networks that improves performance in low-resource named entity recognition tasks.
Conversations on social media tend to go off-topic and turn into different and sometimes toxic exchanges. Previous work focuses on analysing textual dialogues that have derailed into toxic content, but the range of derailment types is much broader, including spam or bot content, tangential comments, etc. In addition, existing work disregards conversations that involve visual information (i.e. images or videos), which are prevalent on most platforms. In this paper, we take a broader view of conversation derailment and propose a new challenge: detecting derailment based on the “change of conversation topic”, where the topic is defined by an initial post containing both a text and an image. For that, we (i) create the first Multimodal Conversation Derailment (MCD) dataset, and (ii) introduce a new multimodal conversational architecture (MMConv) that utilises visual and conversational contexts to classify comments for derailment. Experiments show that MMConv substantially outperforms previous text-based approaches to detect conversation derailment, as well as general multimodal classifiers. MMConv is also more robust to textual noise, since it relies on richer contextual information.
Prefix-tuning is a parameter-efficient and powerful technique for adapting a pre-trained language model to a downstream application. However, it uses the same dataset-level tuned set of parameters for all examples in the dataset. We extend the framework with a dynamic method, Control Prefixes, which allows for the effective inclusion of input-dependent information, thereby demonstrating how prefix-tuning can be used for controlled text generation tasks. The method incorporates attribute-level learnable representations into different layers of a pre-trained Transformer, enabling the generated text to be guided in a particular direction. We provide a systematic evaluation of the technique and apply it to five datasets from the GEM benchmark for natural language generation (NLG). Using only 0.1–2% additional trainable parameters, we show Control Prefixes can even outperform full fine-tuning methods, and present state-of-the-art results on several data-to-text datasets, including WebNLG. We also examine the common case where input-dependent information is unavailable at test time and show Control Prefixes can excel in this setting also.
Current Natural Language Inference (NLI) models achieve impressive results, sometimes outperforming humans when evaluating on in-distribution test sets. However, as these models are known to learn from annotation artefacts and dataset biases, it is unclear to what extent the models are learning the task of NLI instead of learning from shallow heuristics in their training data.We address this issue by introducing a logical reasoning framework for NLI, creating highly transparent model decisions that are based on logical rules. Unlike prior work, we show that improved interpretability can be achieved without decreasing the predictive accuracy. We almost fully retain performance on SNLI, while also identifying the exact hypothesis spans that are responsible for each model prediction.Using the e-SNLI human explanations, we verify that our model makes sensible decisions at a span level, despite not using any span labels during training. We can further improve model performance and the span-level decisions by using the e-SNLI explanations during training. Finally, our model is more robust in a reduced data setting. When training with only 1,000 examples, out-of-distribution performance improves on the MNLI matched and mismatched validation sets by 13% and 16% relative to the baseline. Training with fewer observations yields further improvements, both in-distribution and out-of-distribution.
Large pre-trained language models such as BERT have been the driving force behind recent improvements across many NLP tasks. However, BERT is only trained to predict missing words – either through masking or next sentence prediction – and has no knowledge of lexical, syntactic or semantic information beyond what it picks up through unsupervised pre-training. We propose a novel method to explicitly inject linguistic information in the form of word embeddings into any layer of a pre-trained BERT. When injecting counter-fitted and dependency-based embeddings, the performance improvements on multiple semantic similarity datasets indicate that such information is beneficial and currently missing from the original model. Our qualitative analysis shows that counter-fitted embedding injection is particularly beneficial, with notable improvements on examples that require synonym resolution.
Neural Machine Translation models are sensitive to noise in the input texts, such as misspelled words and ungrammatical constructions. Existing robustness techniques generally fail when faced with unseen types of noise and their performance degrades on clean texts. In this paper, we focus on three types of realistic noise that are commonly generated by humans and introduce the idea of visual context to improve translation robustness for noisy texts. In addition, we describe a novel error correction training regime that can be used as an auxiliary task to further improve translation robustness. Experiments on English-French and English-German translation show that both multimodal and error correction components improve model robustness to noisy texts, while still retaining translation quality on clean texts.
We investigate how sentence-level transformers can be modified into effective sequence labelers at the token level without any direct supervision. Existing approaches to zero-shot sequence labeling do not perform well when applied on transformer-based architectures. As transformers contain multiple layers of multi-head self-attention, information in the sentence gets distributed between many tokens, negatively affecting zero-shot token-level performance. We find that a soft attention module which explicitly encourages sharpness of attention weights can significantly outperform existing methods.
We present a neural framework for learning associations between interrelated groups of words such as the ones found in Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) structures. Our model induces a joint function-specific word vector space, where vectors of e.g. plausible SVO compositions lie close together. The model retains information about word group membership even in the joint space, and can thereby effectively be applied to a number of tasks reasoning over the SVO structure. We show the robustness and versatility of the proposed framework by reporting state-of-the-art results on the tasks of estimating selectional preference and event similarity. The results indicate that the combinations of representations learned with our task-independent model outperform task-specific architectures from prior work, while reducing the number of parameters by up to 95%.
Metaphor is a linguistic device in which a concept is expressed by mentioning another. Identifying metaphorical expressions, therefore, requires a non-compositional understanding of semantics. Multiword Expressions (MWEs), on the other hand, are linguistic phenomena with varying degrees of semantic opacity and their identification poses a challenge to computational models. This work is the first attempt at analysing the interplay of metaphor and MWEs processing through the design of a neural architecture whereby classification of metaphors is enhanced by informing the model of the presence of MWEs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first “MWE-aware” metaphor identification system paving the way for further experiments on the complex interactions of these phenomena. The results and analyses show that this proposed architecture reach state-of-the-art on two different established metaphor datasets.
We describe the collection of transcription corrections and grammatical error annotations for the CrowdED Corpus of spoken English monologues on business topics. The corpus recordings were crowdsourced from native speakers of English and learners of English with German as their first language. The new transcriptions and annotations are obtained from different crowdworkers: we analyse the 1108 new crowdworker submissions and propose that they can be used for automatic transcription post-editing and grammatical error correction for speech. To further explore the data we train grammatical error detection models with various configurations including pre-trained and contextual word representations as input, additional features and auxiliary objectives, and extra training data from written error-annotated corpora. We find that a model concatenating pre-trained and contextual word representations as input performs best, and that additional information does not lead to further performance gains.
In natural languages, words are used in association to construct sentences. It is not words in isolation, but the appropriate use of hierarchical structures that conveys the meaning of the whole sentence. Neural networks have the ability to capture expressive language features; however, insights into the link between words and sentences are difficult to acquire automatically. In this work, we design a deep neural network architecture that explicitly wires lower and higher linguistic components; we then evaluate its ability to perform the same task at different hierarchical levels. Settling on broad text classification tasks, we show that our model, MHAL, learns to simultaneously solve them at different levels of granularity by fluidly transferring knowledge between hierarchies. Using a multi-head attention mechanism to tie the representations between single words and full sentences, MHAL systematically outperforms equivalent models that are not incentivized towards developing compositional representations. Moreover, we demonstrate that, with the proposed architecture, the sentence information flows naturally to individual words, allowing the model to behave like a sequence labeler (which is a lower, word-level task) even without any word supervision, in a zero-shot fashion.
Evaluation of grammatical error correction (GEC) systems has primarily focused on essays written by non-native learners of English, which however is only part of the full spectrum of GEC applications. We aim to broaden the target domain of GEC and release CWEB, a new benchmark for GEC consisting of website text generated by English speakers of varying levels of proficiency. Website data is a common and important domain that contains far fewer grammatical errors than learner essays, which we show presents a challenge to state-of-the-art GEC systems. We demonstrate that a factor behind this is the inability of systems to rely on a strong internal language model in low error density domains. We hope this work shall facilitate the development of open-domain GEC models that generalize to different topics and genres.
While rule-based detection of subject-verb agreement (SVA) errors is sensitive to syntactic parsing errors and irregularities and exceptions to the main rules, neural sequential labelers have a tendency to overfit their training data. We observe that rule-based error generation is less sensitive to syntactic parsing errors and irregularities than error detection and explore a simple, yet efficient approach to getting the best of both worlds: We train neural sequential labelers on the combination of large volumes of silver standard data, obtained through rule-based error generation, and gold standard data. We show that our simple protocol leads to more robust detection of SVA errors on both in-domain and out-of-domain data, as well as in the context of other errors and long-distance dependencies; and across four standard benchmarks, the induced model on average achieves a new state of the art.
Grammatical error detection (GED) in non-native writing requires systems to identify a wide range of errors in text written by language learners. Error detection as a purely supervised task can be challenging, as GED datasets are limited in size and the label distributions are highly imbalanced. Contextualized word representations offer a possible solution, as they can efficiently capture compositional information in language and can be optimized on large amounts of unsupervised data. In this paper, we perform a systematic comparison of ELMo, BERT and Flair embeddings (Peters et al., 2017; Devlin et al., 2018; Akbik et al., 2018) on a range of public GED datasets, and propose an approach to effectively integrate such representations in current methods, achieving a new state of the art on GED. We further analyze the strengths and weaknesses of different contextual embeddings for the task at hand, and present detailed analyses of their impact on different types of errors.
In this paper, we describe our submission to the BEA 2019 shared task on grammatical error correction. We present a system pipeline that utilises both error detection and correction models. The input text is first corrected by two complementary neural machine translation systems: one using convolutional networks and multi-task learning, and another using a neural Transformer-based system. Training is performed on publicly available data, along with artificial examples generated through back-translation. The n-best lists of these two machine translation systems are then combined and scored using a finite state transducer (FST). Finally, an unsupervised re-ranking system is applied to the n-best output of the FST. The re-ranker uses a number of error detection features to re-rank the FST n-best list and identify the final 1-best correction hypothesis. Our system achieves 66.75% F 0.5 on error correction (ranking 4th), and 82.52% F 0.5 on token-level error detection (ranking 2nd) in the restricted track of the shared task.
We describe the CAMsterdam team entry to the SemEval-2019 Shared Task 6 on offensive language identification in Twitter data. Our proposed model learns to extract textual features using a multi-layer recurrent network, and then performs text classification using gradient-boosted decision trees (GBDT). A self-attention architecture enables the model to focus on the most relevant areas in the text. In order to enrich input representations, we use node2vec to learn globally optimised embeddings for hashtags, which are then given as additional features to the GBDT classifier. Our best model obtains 78.79% macro F1-score on detecting offensive language (subtask A), 66.32% on categorising offence types (targeted/untargeted; subtask B), and 55.36% on identifying the target of offence (subtask C).
Dialogue systems benefit greatly from optimizing on detailed annotations, such as transcribed utterances, internal dialogue state representations and dialogue act labels. However, collecting these annotations is expensive and time-consuming, holding back development in the area of dialogue modelling. In this paper, we investigate semi-supervised learning methods that are able to reduce the amount of required intermediate labelling. We find that by leveraging un-annotated data instead, the amount of turn-level annotations of dialogue state can be significantly reduced when building a neural dialogue system. Our analysis on the MultiWOZ corpus, covering a range of domains and topics, finds that annotations can be reduced by up to 30% while maintaining equivalent system performance. We also describe and evaluate the first end-to-end dialogue model created for the MultiWOZ corpus.
Metaphors allow us to convey emotion by connecting physical experiences and abstract concepts. The results of previous research in linguistics and psychology suggest that metaphorical phrases tend to be more emotionally evocative than their literal counterparts. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between metaphor and emotion within a computational framework, by proposing the first joint model of these phenomena. We experiment with several multitask learning architectures for this purpose, involving both hard and soft parameter sharing. Our results demonstrate that metaphor identification and emotion prediction mutually benefit from joint learning and our models advance the state of the art in both of these tasks.
Word embeddings are an essential component in a wide range of natural language processing applications. However, distributional semantic models are known to struggle when only a small number of context sentences are available. Several methods have been proposed to obtain higher-quality vectors for these words, leveraging both this context information and sometimes the word forms themselves through a hybrid approach. We show that the current tasks do not suffice to evaluate models that use word-form information, as such models can easily leverage word forms in the training data that are related to word forms in the test data. We introduce 3 new tasks, allowing for a more balanced comparison between models. Furthermore, we show that hyperparameters that have largely been ignored in previous work can consistently improve the performance of both baseline and advanced models, achieving a new state of the art on 4 out of 6 tasks.
Can attention- or gradient-based visualization techniques be used to infer token-level labels for binary sequence tagging problems, using networks trained only on sentence-level labels? We construct a neural network architecture based on soft attention, train it as a binary sentence classifier and evaluate against token-level annotation on four different datasets. Inferring token labels from a network provides a method for quantitatively evaluating what the model is learning, along with generating useful feedback in assistance systems. Our results indicate that attention-based methods are able to predict token-level labels more accurately, compared to gradient-based methods, sometimes even rivaling the supervised oracle network.
Information about the meaning of mathematical variables in text is useful in NLP/IR tasks such as symbol disambiguation, topic modeling and mathematical information retrieval (MIR). We introduce variable typing, the task of assigning one mathematical type (multi-word technical terms referring to mathematical concepts) to each variable in a sentence of mathematical text. As part of this work, we also introduce a new annotated data set composed of 33,524 data points extracted from scientific documents published on arXiv. Our intrinsic evaluation demonstrates that our data set is sufficient to successfully train and evaluate current classifiers from three different model architectures. The best performing model is evaluated on an extrinsic task: MIR, by producing a typed formula index. Our results show that the best performing MIR models make use of our typed index, compared to a formula index only containing raw symbols, thereby demonstrating the usefulness of variable typing.
Learning attention functions requires large volumes of data, but many NLP tasks simulate human behavior, and in this paper, we show that human attention really does provide a good inductive bias on many attention functions in NLP. Specifically, we use estimated human attention derived from eye-tracking corpora to regularize attention functions in recurrent neural networks. We show substantial improvements across a range of tasks, including sentiment analysis, grammatical error detection, and detection of abusive language.
We present the Supervised Directional Similarity Network, a novel neural architecture for learning task-specific transformation functions on top of general-purpose word embeddings. Relying on only a limited amount of supervision from task-specific scores on a subset of the vocabulary, our architecture is able to generalise and transform a general-purpose distributional vector space to model the relation of lexical entailment. Experiments show excellent performance on scoring graded lexical entailment, raising the state-of-the-art on the HyperLex dataset by approximately 25%.
We investigate the utility of different auxiliary objectives and training strategies within a neural sequence labeling approach to error detection in learner writing. Auxiliary costs provide the model with additional linguistic information, allowing it to learn general-purpose compositional features that can then be exploited for other objectives. Our experiments show that a joint learning approach trained with parallel labels on in-domain data improves performance over the previous best error detection system. While the resulting model has the same number of parameters, the additional objectives allow it to be optimised more efficiently and achieve better performance.
We propose a novel word embedding pre-training approach that exploits writing errors in learners’ scripts. We compare our method to previous models that tune the embeddings based on script scores and the discrimination between correct and corrupt word contexts in addition to the generic commonly-used embeddings pre-trained on large corpora. The comparison is achieved by using the aforementioned models to bootstrap a neural network that learns to predict a holistic score for scripts. Furthermore, we investigate augmenting our model with error corrections and monitor the impact on performance. Our results show that our error-oriented approach outperforms other comparable ones which is further demonstrated when training on more data. Additionally, extending the model with corrections provides further performance gains when data sparsity is an issue.
Automated methods for essay scoring have made great progress in recent years, achieving accuracies very close to human annotators. However, a known weakness of such automated scorers is not taking into account the semantic relevance of the submitted text. While there is existing work on detecting answer relevance given a textual prompt, very little previous research has been done to incorporate visual writing prompts. We propose a neural architecture and several extensions for detecting off-topic responses to visual prompts and evaluate it on a dataset of texts written by language learners.
Shortage of available training data is holding back progress in the area of automated error detection. This paper investigates two alternative methods for artificially generating writing errors, in order to create additional resources. We propose treating error generation as a machine translation task, where grammatically correct text is translated to contain errors. In addition, we explore a system for extracting textual patterns from an annotated corpus, which can then be used to insert errors into grammatically correct sentences. Our experiments show that the inclusion of artificially generated errors significantly improves error detection accuracy on both FCE and CoNLL 2014 datasets.
We propose a sequence labeling framework with a secondary training objective, learning to predict surrounding words for every word in the dataset. This language modeling objective incentivises the system to learn general-purpose patterns of semantic and syntactic composition, which are also useful for improving accuracy on different sequence labeling tasks. The architecture was evaluated on a range of datasets, covering the tasks of error detection in learner texts, named entity recognition, chunking and POS-tagging. The novel language modeling objective provided consistent performance improvements on every benchmark, without requiring any additional annotated or unannotated data.
The ubiquity of metaphor in our everyday communication makes it an important problem for natural language understanding. Yet, the majority of metaphor processing systems to date rely on hand-engineered features and there is still no consensus in the field as to which features are optimal for this task. In this paper, we present the first deep learning architecture designed to capture metaphorical composition. Our results demonstrate that it outperforms the existing approaches in the metaphor identification task.
We propose an approach to N-best list reranking using neural sequence-labelling models. We train a compositional model for error detection that calculates the probability of each token in a sentence being correct or incorrect, utilising the full sentence as context. Using the error detection model, we then re-rank the N best hypotheses generated by statistical machine translation systems. Our approach achieves state-of-the-art results on error correction for three different datasets, and it has the additional advantage of only using a small set of easily computed features that require no linguistic input.
Sequence labeling architectures use word embeddings for capturing similarity, but suffer when handling previously unseen or rare words. We investigate character-level extensions to such models and propose a novel architecture for combining alternative word representations. By using an attention mechanism, the model is able to dynamically decide how much information to use from a word- or character-level component. We evaluated different architectures on a range of sequence labeling datasets, and character-level extensions were found to improve performance on every benchmark. In addition, the proposed attention-based architecture delivered the best results even with a smaller number of trainable parameters.