This paper explores a question-answer driven approach to reveal affirmative interpretations from verbal negations (i.e., when a negation cue grammatically modifies a verb). We create a new corpus consisting of 4,472 verbal negations and discover that 67.1% of them convey that an event actually occurred. Annotators generate and answer 7,277 questions % converted for 4,000 for the 3,001 negations that convey an affirmative interpretation. We first cast the problem of revealing affirmative interpretations from negations as a natural language inference (NLI) classification task. Experimental results show that state-of-the-art transformers trained with existing NLI corpora are insufficient to reveal affirmative interpretations. We also observe, however, that fine-tuning brings substantial improvements. In addition to NLI classification, we also explore the more realistic task of generating affirmative interpretations directly from negations with the T5 transformer. We conclude that the generation task remains a challenge as T5 substantially underperforms humans.
This paper analyzes negation in eight popular corpora spanning six natural language understanding tasks. We show that these corpora have few negations compared to general-purpose English, and that the few negations in them are often unimportant. Indeed, one can often ignore negations and still make the right predictions. Additionally, experimental results show that state-of-the-art transformers trained with these corpora obtain substantially worse results with instances that contain negation, especially if the negations are important. We conclude that new corpora accounting for negation are needed to solve natural language understanding tasks when negation is present.
The focus of a negation is the set of tokens intended to be negated, and a key component for revealing affirmative alternatives to negated utterances. In this paper, we experiment with neural networks to predict the focus of negation. Our main novelty is leveraging a scope detector to introduce the scope of negation as an additional input to the network. Experimental results show that doing so obtains the best results to date. Additionally, we perform a detailed error analysis providing insights into the main error categories, and analyze errors depending on whether the model takes into account scope and context information.
As machine translation (MT) systems progress at a rapid pace, questions of their adequacy linger. In this study we focus on negation, a universal, core property of human language that significantly affects the semantics of an utterance. We investigate whether translating negation is an issue for modern MT systems using 17 translation directions as test bed. Through thorough analysis, we find that indeed the presence of negation can significantly impact downstream quality, in some cases resulting in quality reductions of more than 60%. We also provide a linguistically motivated analysis that directly explains the majority of our findings. We release our annotations and code to replicate our analysis here: https://github.com/mosharafhossain/negation-mt.
Negation is underrepresented in existing natural language inference benchmarks. Additionally, one can often ignore the few negations in existing benchmarks and still make the right inference judgments. In this paper, we present a new benchmark for natural language inference in which negation plays a critical role. We also show that state-of-the-art transformers struggle making inference judgments with the new pairs.