Mihaela Gaman


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A Report on the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2020
Mihaela Gaman | Dirk Hovy | Radu Tudor Ionescu | Heidi Jauhiainen | Tommi Jauhiainen | Krister Lindén | Nikola Ljubešić | Niko Partanen | Christoph Purschke | Yves Scherrer | Marcos Zampieri
Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

This paper presents the results of the VarDial Evaluation Campaign 2020 organized as part of the seventh workshop on Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects (VarDial), co-located with COLING 2020. The campaign included three shared tasks each focusing on a different challenge of language and dialect identification: Romanian Dialect Identification (RDI), Social Media Variety Geolocation (SMG), and Uralic Language Identification (ULI). The campaign attracted 30 teams who enrolled to participate in one or multiple shared tasks and 14 of them submitted runs across the three shared tasks. Finally, 11 papers describing participating systems are published in the VarDial proceedings and referred to in this report.

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Combining Deep Learning and String Kernels for the Localization of Swiss German Tweets
Mihaela Gaman | Radu Tudor Ionescu
Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on NLP for Similar Languages, Varieties and Dialects

In this work, we introduce the methods proposed by the UnibucKernel team in solving the Social Media Variety Geolocation task featured in the 2020 VarDial Evaluation Campaign. We address only the second subtask, which targets a data set composed of nearly 30 thousand Swiss German Jodels. The dialect identification task is about accurately predicting the latitude and longitude of test samples. We frame the task as a double regression problem, employing a variety of machine learning approaches to predict both latitude and longitude. From simple models for regression, such as Support Vector Regression, to deep neural networks, such as Long Short-Term Memory networks and character-level convolutional neural networks, and, finally, to ensemble models based on meta-learners, such as XGBoost, our interest is focused on approaching the problem from a few different perspectives, in an attempt to minimize the prediction error. With the same goal in mind, we also considered many types of features, from high-level features, such as BERT embeddings, to low-level features, such as characters n-grams, which are known to provide good results in dialect identification. Our empirical results indicate that the handcrafted model based on string kernels outperforms the deep learning approaches. Nevertheless, our best performance is given by the ensemble model that combines both handcrafted and deep learning models.


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Automatically Identifying Complaints in Social Media
Daniel Preoţiuc-Pietro | Mihaela Gaman | Nikolaos Aletras
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Complaining is a basic speech act regularly used in human and computer mediated communication to express a negative mismatch between reality and expectations in a particular situation. Automatically identifying complaints in social media is of utmost importance for organizations or brands to improve the customer experience or in developing dialogue systems for handling and responding to complaints. In this paper, we introduce the first systematic analysis of complaints in computational linguistics. We collect a new annotated data set of written complaints expressed on Twitter. We present an extensive linguistic analysis of complaining as a speech act in social media and train strong feature-based and neural models of complaints across nine domains achieving a predictive performance of up to 79 F1 using distant supervision.