In this work, we build a Question Answering (QA) classification dataset from a social media platform, namely the Telegram public channel called @AskAnythingEthiopia. The channel has more than 78k subscribers and has existed since May 31, 2019. The platform allows asking questions that belong to various domains, like politics, economics, health, education, and so on. Since the questions are posed in a mixed-code, we apply different strategies to pre-process the dataset. Questions are posted in Amharic, English, or Amharic but in a Latin script. As part of the pre-processing tools, we build a Latin to Ethiopic Script transliteration tool. We collect 8k Amharic and 24K transliterated questions and develop deep learning-based questions answering classifiers that attain as high as an F-score of 57.29 in 20 different question classes or categories. The datasets and pre-processing scripts are open-sourced to facilitate further research on the Amharic community-based question answering.
Comparative Question Answering (cQA) is the task of providing concrete and accurate responses to queries such as: “Is Lyft cheaper than a regular taxi?” or “What makes a mortgage different from a regular loan?”. In this paper, we propose two new open-domain real-world datasets for identifying and labeling comparative questions. While the first dataset contains instances of English questions labeled as comparative vs. non-comparative, the second dataset provides additional labels including the objects and the aspects of comparison. We conduct several experiments that evaluate the soundness of our datasets. The evaluation of our datasets using various classifiers show promising results that reach close-to-human results on a binary classification task with a neural model using ALBERT embeddings. When approaching the unsupervised sequence labeling task, some headroom remains.
Abstract We take a step towards addressing the under- representation of the African continent in NLP research by bringing together different stakeholders to create the first large, publicly available, high-quality dataset for named entity recognition (NER) in ten African languages. We detail the characteristics of these languages to help researchers and practitioners better understand the challenges they pose for NER tasks. We analyze our datasets and conduct an extensive empirical evaluation of state- of-the-art methods across both supervised and transfer learning settings. Finally, we release the data, code, and models to inspire future research on African NLP.1
We present Sense Clustering over Time (SCoT), a novel network-based tool for analysing lexical change. SCoT represents the meanings of a word as clusters of similar words. It visualises their formation, change, and demise. There are two main approaches to the exploration of dynamic networks: the discrete one compares a series of clustered graphs from separate points in time. The continuous one analyses the changes of one dynamic network over a time-span. SCoT offers a new hybrid solution. First, it aggregates time-stamped documents into intervals and calculates one sense graph per discrete interval. Then, it merges the static graphs to a new type of dynamic semantic neighbourhood graph over time. The resulting sense clusters offer uniquely detailed insights into lexical change over continuous intervals with model transparency and provenance. SCoT has been successfully used in a European study on the changing meaning of ‘crisis’.
Amharic is the second most spoken Semitic language after Arabic and serves as the official working language of Ethiopia. While Amharic NLP research is getting wider attention recently, the main bottleneck is that the resources and related tools are not publicly released, which makes it still a low-resource language. Due to this reason, we observe that different researchers try to repeat the same NLP research again and again. In this work, we investigate the existing approach in Amharic NLP and take the first step to publicly release tools, datasets, and models to advance Amharic NLP research. We build Python-based preprocessing tools for Amharic (tokenizer, sentence segmenter, and text cleaner) that can easily be used and integrated for the development of NLP applications. Furthermore, we compiled the first moderately large-scale Amharic text corpus (6.8m sentences) along with the word2Vec, fastText, RoBERTa, and FLAIR embeddings models. Finally, we compile benchmark datasets and build classification models for the named entity recognition task.
Lexical complexity is a highly subjective notion, yet this factor is often neglected in lexical simplification and readability systems which use a ”one-size-fits-all” approach. In this paper, we investigate which aspects contribute to the notion of lexical complexity in various groups of readers, focusing on native and non-native speakers of English, and how the notion of complexity changes depending on the proficiency level of a non-native reader. To facilitate reproducibility of our approach and foster further research into these aspects, we release a dataset of complex words annotated by readers with different backgrounds.
ActiveAnno is an annotation tool focused on document-level annotation tasks developed both for industry and research settings. It is designed to be a general-purpose tool with a wide variety of use cases. It features a modern and responsive web UI for creating annotation projects, conducting annotations, adjudicating disagreements, and analyzing annotation results. ActiveAnno embeds a highly configurable and interactive user interface. The tool also integrates a RESTful API that enables integration into other software systems, including an API for machine learning integration. ActiveAnno is built with extensible design and easy deployment in mind, all to enable users to perform annotation tasks with high efficiency and high-quality annotation results.
Fine-tuning of pre-trained transformer networks such as BERT yield state-of-the-art results for text classification tasks. Typically, fine-tuning is performed on task-specific training datasets in a supervised manner. One can also fine-tune in unsupervised manner beforehand by further pre-training the masked language modeling (MLM) task. Hereby, in-domain data for unsupervised MLM resembling the actual classification target dataset allows for domain adaptation of the model. In this paper, we compare current pre-trained transformer networks with and without MLM fine-tuning on their performance for offensive language detection. Our MLM fine-tuned RoBERTa-based classifier officially ranks 1st in the SemEval 2020 Shared Task 12 for the English language. Further experiments with the ALBERT model even surpass this result.
We present the first approach to automatically building resources for academic writing. The aim is to build a writing aid system that automatically edits a text so that it better adheres to the academic style of writing. On top of existing academic resources, such as the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) academic Word List, the New Academic Word List, and the Academic Collocation List, we also explore how to dynamically build such resources that would be used to automatically identify informal or non-academic words or phrases. The resources are compiled using different generic approaches that can be extended for different domains and languages. We describe the evaluation of resources with a system implementation. The system consists of an informal word identification (IWI), academic candidate paraphrase generation, and paraphrase ranking components. To generate candidates and rank them in context, we have used the PPDB and WordNet paraphrase resources. We use the Concepts in Context (CoInCO) “All-Words” lexical substitution dataset both for the informal word identification and paraphrase generation experiments. Our informal word identification component achieves an F-1 score of 82%, significantly outperforming a stratified classifier baseline. The main contribution of this work is a domain-independent methodology to build targeted resources for writing aids.
This paper presents the study of sentiment analysis for Amharic social media texts. As the number of social media users is ever-increasing, social media platforms would like to understand the latent meaning and sentiments of a text to enhance decision-making procedures. However, low-resource languages such as Amharic have received less attention due to several reasons such as lack of well-annotated datasets, unavailability of computing resources, and fewer or no expert researchers in the area. This research addresses three main research questions. We first explore the suitability of existing tools for the sentiment analysis task. Annotation tools are scarce to support large-scale annotation tasks in Amharic. Also, the existing crowdsourcing platforms do not support Amharic text annotation. Hence, we build a social-network-friendly annotation tool called ‘ASAB’ using the Telegram bot. We collect 9.4k tweets, where each tweet is annotated by three Telegram users. Moreover, we explore the suitability of machine learning approaches for Amharic sentiment analysis. The FLAIR deep learning text classifier, based on network embeddings that are computed from a distributional thesaurus, outperforms other supervised classifiers. We further investigate the challenges in building a sentiment analysis system for Amharic and we found that the widespread usage of sarcasm and figurative speech are the main issues in dealing with the problem. To advance the sentiment analysis research in Amharic and other related low-resource languages, we release the dataset, the annotation tool, source code, and models publicly under a permissive.
Learning from a real-world data stream and continuously updating the model without explicit supervision is a new challenge for NLP applications with machine learning components. In this work, we have developed an adaptive learning system for text simplification, which improves the underlying learning-to-rank model from usage data, i.e. how users have employed the system for the task of simplification. Our experimental result shows that, over a period of time, the performance of the embedded paraphrase ranking model increases steadily improving from a score of 62.88% up to 75.70% based on the NDCG@10 evaluation metrics. To our knowledge, this is the first study where an NLP component is adaptively improved through usage.
In this paper, we present Par4Sem, a semantic writing aid tool based on adaptive paraphrasing. Unlike many annotation tools that are primarily used to collect training examples, Par4Sem is integrated into a real word application, in this case a writing aid tool, in order to collect training examples from usage data. Par4Sem is a tool, which supports an adaptive, iterative, and interactive process where the underlying machine learning models are updated for each iteration using new training examples from usage data. After motivating the use of ever-learning tools in NLP applications, we evaluate Par4Sem by adopting it to a text simplification task through mere usage.
We introduce an advanced information extraction pipeline to automatically process very large collections of unstructured textual data for the purpose of investigative journalism. The pipeline serves as a new input processor for the upcoming major release of our New/s/leak 2.0 software, which we develop in cooperation with a large German news organization. The use case is that journalists receive a large collection of files up to several Gigabytes containing unknown contents. Collections may originate either from official disclosures of documents, e.g. Freedom of Information Act requests, or unofficial data leaks.
We report the findings of the second Complex Word Identification (CWI) shared task organized as part of the BEA workshop co-located with NAACL-HLT’2018. The second CWI shared task featured multilingual and multi-genre datasets divided into four tracks: English monolingual, German monolingual, Spanish monolingual, and a multilingual track with a French test set, and two tasks: binary classification and probabilistic classification. A total of 12 teams submitted their results in different task/track combinations and 11 of them wrote system description papers that are referred to in this report and appear in the BEA workshop proceedings.
Complex word identification (CWI) is an important task in text accessibility. However, due to the scarcity of CWI datasets, previous studies have only addressed this problem on Wikipedia sentences and have solely taken into account the needs of non-native English speakers. We collect a new CWI dataset (CWIG3G2) covering three text genres News, WikiNews, and Wikipedia) annotated by both native and non-native English speakers. Unlike previous datasets, we cover single words, as well as complex phrases, and present them for judgment in a paragraph context. We present the first study on cross-genre and cross-group CWI, showing measurable influences in native language and genre types.
In this paper, we describe the concept of entity-centric information access for the biomedical domain. With entity recognition technologies approaching acceptable levels of accuracy, we put forward a paradigm of document browsing and searching where the entities of the domain and their relations are explicitly modeled to provide users the possibility of collecting exhaustive information on relations of interest. We describe three working prototypes along these lines: NEW/S/LEAK, which was developed for investigative journalists who need a quick overview of large leaked document collections; STORYFINDER, which is a personalized organizer for information found in web pages that allows adding entities as well as relations, and is capable of personalized information management; and adaptive annotation capabilities of WEBANNO, which is a general-purpose linguistic annotation tool. We will discuss future steps towards the adaptation of these tools to biomedical data, which is subject to a recently started project on biomedical knowledge acquisition. A key difference to other approaches is the centering around the user in a Human-in-the-Loop machine learning approach, where users define and extend categories and enable the system to improve via feedback and interaction.
In this paper we present the system for Answer Selection and Ranking in Community Question Answering, which we build as part of our participation in SemEval-2017 Task 3. We develop a Support Vector Machine (SVM) based system that makes use of textual, domain-specific, word-embedding and topic-modeling features. In addition, we propose a novel method for dialogue chain identification in comment threads. Our primary submission won subtask C, outperforming other systems in all the primary evaluation metrics. We performed well in other English subtasks, ranking third in subtask A and eighth in subtask B. We also developed open source toolkits for all the three English subtasks by the name cQARank [https://github.com/TitasNandi/cQARank].
Complex Word Identification (CWI) is an important task in lexical simplification and text accessibility. Due to the lack of CWI datasets, previous works largely depend on Simple English Wikipedia and edit histories for obtaining ‘gold standard’ annotations, which are of doubtable quality, and limited only to English. We collect complex words/phrases (CP) for English, German and Spanish, annotated by both native and non-native speakers, and propose language independent features that can be used to train multilingual and cross-lingual CWI models. We show that the performance of cross-lingual CWI systems (using a model trained on one language and applying it on the other languages) is comparable to the performance of monolingual CWI systems.
We introduce the third major release of WebAnno, a generic web-based annotation tool for distributed teams. New features in this release focus on semantic annotation tasks (e.g. semantic role labelling or event annotation) and allow the tight integration of semantic annotations with syntactic annotations. In particular, we introduce the concept of slot features, a novel constraint mechanism that allows modelling the interaction between semantic and syntactic annotations, as well as a new annotation user interface. The new features were developed and used in an annotation project for semantic roles on German texts. The paper briefly introduces this project and reports on experiences performing annotations with the new tool. On a comparative evaluation, our tool reaches significant speedups over WebAnno 2 for a semantic annotation task.