Sabrina J. Mielke


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Reducing Conversational Agents’ Overconfidence Through Linguistic Calibration
Sabrina J. Mielke | Arthur Szlam | Emily Dinan | Y-Lan Boureau
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 10

While improving neural dialogue agents’ factual accuracy is the object of much research, another important aspect of communication, less studied in the setting of neural dialogue, is transparency about ignorance. In this work, we analyze to what extent state-of-the-art chit-chat models are linguistically calibrated in the sense that their verbalized expression of doubt (or confidence) matches the likelihood that the model’s responses are factually incorrect (or correct). We find that these models are poorly calibrated, yet we show that likelihood of correctness can accurately be predicted. By incorporating such metacognitive features into the training of a controllable generation model, we obtain a dialogue agent with greatly improved linguistic calibration.


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SIGMORPHON 2021 Shared Task on Morphological Reinflection: Generalization Across Languages
Tiago Pimentel | Maria Ryskina | Sabrina J. Mielke | Shijie Wu | Eleanor Chodroff | Brian Leonard | Garrett Nicolai | Yustinus Ghanggo Ate | Salam Khalifa | Nizar Habash | Charbel El-Khaissi | Omer Goldman | Michael Gasser | William Lane | Matt Coler | Arturo Oncevay | Jaime Rafael Montoya Samame | Gema Celeste Silva Villegas | Adam Ek | Jean-Philippe Bernardy | Andrey Shcherbakov | Aziyana Bayyr-ool | Karina Sheifer | Sofya Ganieva | Matvey Plugaryov | Elena Klyachko | Ali Salehi | Andrew Krizhanovsky | Natalia Krizhanovsky | Clara Vania | Sardana Ivanova | Aelita Salchak | Christopher Straughn | Zoey Liu | Jonathan North Washington | Duygu Ataman | Witold Kieraś | Marcin Woliński | Totok Suhardijanto | Niklas Stoehr | Zahroh Nuriah | Shyam Ratan | Francis M. Tyers | Edoardo M. Ponti | Grant Aiton | Richard J. Hatcher | Emily Prud'hommeaux | Ritesh Kumar | Mans Hulden | Botond Barta | Dorina Lakatos | Gábor Szolnok | Judit Ács | Mohit Raj | David Yarowsky | Ryan Cotterell | Ben Ambridge | Ekaterina Vylomova
Proceedings of the 18th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

This year's iteration of the SIGMORPHON Shared Task on morphological reinflection focuses on typological diversity and cross-lingual variation of morphosyntactic features. In terms of the task, we enrich UniMorph with new data for 32 languages from 13 language families, with most of them being under-resourced: Kunwinjku, Classical Syriac, Arabic (Modern Standard, Egyptian, Gulf), Hebrew, Amharic, Aymara, Magahi, Braj, Kurdish (Central, Northern, Southern), Polish, Karelian, Livvi, Ludic, Veps, Võro, Evenki, Xibe, Tuvan, Sakha, Turkish, Indonesian, Kodi, Seneca, Asháninka, Yanesha, Chukchi, Itelmen, Eibela. We evaluate six systems on the new data and conduct an extensive error analysis of the systems' predictions. Transformer-based models generally demonstrate superior performance on the majority of languages, achieving >90% accuracy on 65% of them. The languages on which systems yielded low accuracy are mainly under-resourced, with a limited amount of data. Most errors made by the systems are due to allomorphy, honorificity, and form variation. In addition, we observe that systems especially struggle to inflect multiword lemmas. The systems also produce misspelled forms or end up in repetitive loops (e.g., RNN-based models). Finally, we report a large drop in systems' performance on previously unseen lemmas.


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It’s Easier to Translate out of English than into it: Measuring Neural Translation Difficulty by Cross-Mutual Information
Emanuele Bugliarello | Sabrina J. Mielke | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Ryan Cotterell | Naoaki Okazaki
Proceedings of the 58th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

The performance of neural machine translation systems is commonly evaluated in terms of BLEU. However, due to its reliance on target language properties and generation, the BLEU metric does not allow an assessment of which translation directions are more difficult to model. In this paper, we propose cross-mutual information (XMI): an asymmetric information-theoretic metric of machine translation difficulty that exploits the probabilistic nature of most neural machine translation models. XMI allows us to better evaluate the difficulty of translating text into the target language while controlling for the difficulty of the target-side generation component independent of the translation task. We then present the first systematic and controlled study of cross-lingual translation difficulties using modern neural translation systems. Code for replicating our experiments is available online at

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Processing South Asian Languages Written in the Latin Script: the Dakshina Dataset
Brian Roark | Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Christo Kirov | Sabrina J. Mielke | Cibu Johny | Isin Demirsahin | Keith Hall
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper describes the Dakshina dataset, a new resource consisting of text in both the Latin and native scripts for 12 South Asian languages. The dataset includes, for each language: 1) native script Wikipedia text; 2) a romanization lexicon; and 3) full sentence parallel data in both a native script of the language and the basic Latin alphabet. We document the methods used for preparation and selection of the Wikipedia text in each language; collection of attested romanizations for sampled lexicons; and manual romanization of held-out sentences from the native script collections. We additionally provide baseline results on several tasks made possible by the dataset, including single word transliteration, full sentence transliteration, and language modeling of native script and romanized text.

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UniMorph 3.0: Universal Morphology
Arya D. McCarthy | Christo Kirov | Matteo Grella | Amrit Nidhi | Patrick Xia | Kyle Gorman | Ekaterina Vylomova | Sabrina J. Mielke | Garrett Nicolai | Miikka Silfverberg | Timofey Arkhangelskiy | Nataly Krizhanovsky | Andrew Krizhanovsky | Elena Klyachko | Alexey Sorokin | John Mansfield | Valts Ernštreits | Yuval Pinter | Cassandra L. Jacobs | Ryan Cotterell | Mans Hulden | David Yarowsky
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The Universal Morphology (UniMorph) project is a collaborative effort providing broad-coverage instantiated normalized morphological paradigms for hundreds of diverse world languages. The project comprises two major thrusts: a language-independent feature schema for rich morphological annotation and a type-level resource of annotated data in diverse languages realizing that schema. We have implemented several improvements to the extraction pipeline which creates most of our data, so that it is both more complete and more correct. We have added 66 new languages, as well as new parts of speech for 12 languages. We have also amended the schema in several ways. Finally, we present three new community tools: two to validate data for resource creators, and one to make morphological data available from the command line. UniMorph is based at the Center for Language and Speech Processing (CLSP) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. This paper details advances made to the schema, tooling, and dissemination of project resources since the UniMorph 2.0 release described at LREC 2018.

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SIGTYP 2020 Shared Task: Prediction of Typological Features
Johannes Bjerva | Elizabeth Salesky | Sabrina J. Mielke | Aditi Chaudhary | Giuseppe G. A. Celano | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Ekaterina Vylomova | Ryan Cotterell | Isabelle Augenstein
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on Computational Research in Linguistic Typology

Typological knowledge bases (KBs) such as WALS (Dryer and Haspelmath, 2013) contain information about linguistic properties of the world’s languages. They have been shown to be useful for downstream applications, including cross-lingual transfer learning and linguistic probing. A major drawback hampering broader adoption of typological KBs is that they are sparsely populated, in the sense that most languages only have annotations for some features, and skewed, in that few features have wide coverage. As typological features often correlate with one another, it is possible to predict them and thus automatically populate typological KBs, which is also the focus of this shared task. Overall, the task attracted 8 submissions from 5 teams, out of which the most successful methods make use of such feature correlations. However, our error analysis reveals that even the strongest submitted systems struggle with predicting feature values for languages where few features are known.

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Tired of Topic Models? Clusters of Pretrained Word Embeddings Make for Fast and Good Topics too!
Suzanna Sia | Ayush Dalmia | Sabrina J. Mielke
Proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP)

Topic models are a useful analysis tool to uncover the underlying themes within document collections. The dominant approach is to use probabilistic topic models that posit a generative story, but in this paper we propose an alternative way to obtain topics: clustering pre-trained word embeddings while incorporating document information for weighted clustering and reranking top words. We provide benchmarks for the combination of different word embeddings and clustering algorithms, and analyse their performance under dimensionality reduction with PCA. The best performing combination for our approach performs as well as classical topic models, but with lower runtime and computational complexity.

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SIGMORPHON 2020 Shared Task 0: Typologically Diverse Morphological Inflection
Ekaterina Vylomova | Jennifer White | Elizabeth Salesky | Sabrina J. Mielke | Shijie Wu | Edoardo Maria Ponti | Rowan Hall Maudslay | Ran Zmigrod | Josef Valvoda | Svetlana Toldova | Francis Tyers | Elena Klyachko | Ilya Yegorov | Natalia Krizhanovsky | Paula Czarnowska | Irene Nikkarinen | Andrew Krizhanovsky | Tiago Pimentel | Lucas Torroba Hennigen | Christo Kirov | Garrett Nicolai | Adina Williams | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Hilaria Cruz | Eleanor Chodroff | Ryan Cotterell | Miikka Silfverberg | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the 17th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

A broad goal in natural language processing (NLP) is to develop a system that has the capacity to process any natural language. Most systems, however, are developed using data from just one language such as English. The SIGMORPHON 2020 shared task on morphological reinflection aims to investigate systems’ ability to generalize across typologically distinct languages, many of which are low resource. Systems were developed using data from 45 languages and just 5 language families, fine-tuned with data from an additional 45 languages and 10 language families (13 in total), and evaluated on all 90 languages. A total of 22 systems (19 neural) from 10 teams were submitted to the task. All four winning systems were neural (two monolingual transformers and two massively multilingual RNN-based models with gated attention). Most teams demonstrate utility of data hallucination and augmentation, ensembles, and multilingual training for low-resource languages. Non-neural learners and manually designed grammars showed competitive and even superior performance on some languages (such as Ingrian, Tajik, Tagalog, Zarma, Lingala), especially with very limited data. Some language families (Afro-Asiatic, Niger-Congo, Turkic) were relatively easy for most systems and achieved over 90% mean accuracy while others were more challenging.


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The SIGMORPHON 2019 Shared Task: Morphological Analysis in Context and Cross-Lingual Transfer for Inflection
Arya D. McCarthy | Ekaterina Vylomova | Shijie Wu | Chaitanya Malaviya | Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Garrett Nicolai | Christo Kirov | Miikka Silfverberg | Sabrina J. Mielke | Jeffrey Heinz | Ryan Cotterell | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the 16th Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

The SIGMORPHON 2019 shared task on cross-lingual transfer and contextual analysis in morphology examined transfer learning of inflection between 100 language pairs, as well as contextual lemmatization and morphosyntactic description in 66 languages. The first task evolves past years’ inflection tasks by examining transfer of morphological inflection knowledge from a high-resource language to a low-resource language. This year also presents a new second challenge on lemmatization and morphological feature analysis in context. All submissions featured a neural component and built on either this year’s strong baselines or highly ranked systems from previous years’ shared tasks. Every participating team improved in accuracy over the baselines for the inflection task (though not Levenshtein distance), and every team in the contextual analysis task improved on both state-of-the-art neural and non-neural baselines.

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Counterfactual Data Augmentation for Mitigating Gender Stereotypes in Languages with Rich Morphology
Ran Zmigrod | Sabrina J. Mielke | Hanna Wallach | Ryan Cotterell
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Gender stereotypes are manifest in most of the world’s languages and are consequently propagated or amplified by NLP systems. Although research has focused on mitigating gender stereotypes in English, the approaches that are commonly employed produce ungrammatical sentences in morphologically rich languages. We present a novel approach for converting between masculine-inflected and feminine-inflected sentences in such languages. For Spanish and Hebrew, our approach achieves F1 scores of 82% and 73% at the level of tags and accuracies of 90% and 87% at the level of forms. By evaluating our approach using four different languages, we show that, on average, it reduces gender stereotyping by a factor of 2.5 without any sacrifice to grammaticality.

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What Kind of Language Is Hard to Language-Model?
Sabrina J. Mielke | Ryan Cotterell | Kyle Gorman | Brian Roark | Jason Eisner
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

How language-agnostic are current state-of-the-art NLP tools? Are there some types of language that are easier to model with current methods? In prior work (Cotterell et al., 2018) we attempted to address this question for language modeling, and observed that recurrent neural network language models do not perform equally well over all the high-resource European languages found in the Europarl corpus. We speculated that inflectional morphology may be the primary culprit for the discrepancy. In this paper, we extend these earlier experiments to cover 69 languages from 13 language families using a multilingual Bible corpus. Methodologically, we introduce a new paired-sample multiplicative mixed-effects model to obtain language difficulty coefficients from at-least-pairwise parallel corpora. In other words, the model is aware of inter-sentence variation and can handle missing data. Exploiting this model, we show that “translationese” is not any easier to model than natively written language in a fair comparison. Trying to answer the question of what features difficult languages have in common, we try and fail to reproduce our earlier (Cotterell et al., 2018) observation about morphological complexity and instead reveal far simpler statistics of the data that seem to drive complexity in a much larger sample.


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A Structured Variational Autoencoder for Contextual Morphological Inflection
Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Jason Naradowsky | Sabrina J. Mielke | Ryan Cotterell
Proceedings of the 56th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Statistical morphological inflectors are typically trained on fully supervised, type-level data. One remaining open research question is the following: How can we effectively exploit raw, token-level data to improve their performance? To this end, we introduce a novel generative latent-variable model for the semi-supervised learning of inflection generation. To enable posterior inference over the latent variables, we derive an efficient variational inference procedure based on the wake-sleep algorithm. We experiment on 23 languages, using the Universal Dependencies corpora in a simulated low-resource setting, and find improvements of over 10% absolute accuracy in some cases.

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Are All Languages Equally Hard to Language-Model?
Ryan Cotterell | Sabrina J. Mielke | Jason Eisner | Brian Roark
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

For general modeling methods applied to diverse languages, a natural question is: how well should we expect our models to work on languages with differing typological profiles? In this work, we develop an evaluation framework for fair cross-linguistic comparison of language models, using translated text so that all models are asked to predict approximately the same information. We then conduct a study on 21 languages, demonstrating that in some languages, the textual expression of the information is harder to predict with both n-gram and LSTM language models. We show complex inflectional morphology to be a cause of performance differences among languages.

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Unsupervised Disambiguation of Syncretism in Inflected Lexicons
Ryan Cotterell | Christo Kirov | Sabrina J. Mielke | Jason Eisner
Proceedings of the 2018 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies, Volume 2 (Short Papers)

Lexical ambiguity makes it difficult to compute useful statistics of a corpus. A given word form might represent any of several morphological feature bundles. One can, however, use unsupervised learning (as in EM) to fit a model that probabilistically disambiguates word forms. We present such an approach, which employs a neural network to smoothly model a prior distribution over feature bundles (even rare ones). Although this basic model does not consider a token’s context, that very property allows it to operate on a simple list of unigram type counts, partitioning each count among different analyses of that unigram. We discuss evaluation metrics for this novel task and report results on 5 languages.

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The CoNLLSIGMORPHON 2018 Shared Task: Universal Morphological Reinflection
Ryan Cotterell | Christo Kirov | John Sylak-Glassman | Géraldine Walther | Ekaterina Vylomova | Arya D. McCarthy | Katharina Kann | Sabrina J. Mielke | Garrett Nicolai | Miikka Silfverberg | David Yarowsky | Jason Eisner | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the CoNLL–SIGMORPHON 2018 Shared Task: Universal Morphological Reinflection

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UniMorph 2.0: Universal Morphology
Christo Kirov | Ryan Cotterell | John Sylak-Glassman | Géraldine Walther | Ekaterina Vylomova | Patrick Xia | Manaal Faruqui | Sabrina J. Mielke | Arya McCarthy | Sandra Kübler | David Yarowsky | Jason Eisner | Mans Hulden
Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2018)