Deep learning has been the mainstream technique in the natural language processing (NLP) area. However, deep learning requires many labeled data and is less generalizable across domains. Meta-learning is an arising field in machine learning. It studies approaches to learning better learning algorithms and aims to improve algorithms in various aspects, including data efficiency and generalizability. The efficacy of meta-learning has been shown in many NLP tasks, but there is no systematic survey of these approaches in NLP, which hinders more researchers from joining the field. Our goal with this survey paper is to offer researchers pointers to relevant meta-learning works in NLP and attract more attention from the NLP community to drive future innovation. This paper first introduces the general concepts of meta-learning and the common approaches. Then we summarize task construction settings, applications of meta-learning for various NLP problems and review the development of meta-learning in the NLP community.
Pretrained multilingual models are able to perform cross-lingual transfer in a zero-shot setting, even for languages unseen during pretraining. However, prior work evaluating performance on unseen languages has largely been limited to low-level, syntactic tasks, and it remains unclear if zero-shot learning of high-level, semantic tasks is possible for unseen languages. To explore this question, we present AmericasNLI, an extension of XNLI (Conneau et al., 2018) to 10 Indigenous languages of the Americas. We conduct experiments with XLM-R, testing multiple zero-shot and translation-based approaches. Additionally, we explore model adaptation via continued pretraining and provide an analysis of the dataset by considering hypothesis-only models. We find that XLM-R’s zero-shot performance is poor for all 10 languages, with an average performance of 38.48%. Continued pretraining offers improvements, with an average accuracy of 43.85%. Surprisingly, training on poorly translated data by far outperforms all other methods with an accuracy of 49.12%.
While neural text-to-speech systems perform remarkably well in high-resource scenarios, they cannot be applied to the majority of the over 6,000 spoken languages in the world due to a lack of appropriate training data. In this work, we use embeddings derived from articulatory vectors rather than embeddings derived from phoneme identities to learn phoneme representations that hold across languages. In conjunction with language agnostic meta learning, this enables us to fine-tune a high-quality text-to-speech model on just 30 minutes of data in a previously unseen language spoken by a previously unseen speaker.
Morphologically-rich polysynthetic languages present a challenge for NLP systems due to data sparsity, and a common strategy to handle this issue is to apply subword segmentation. We investigate a wide variety of supervised and unsupervised morphological segmentation methods for four polysynthetic languages: Nahuatl, Raramuri, Shipibo-Konibo, and Wixarika. Then, we compare the morphologically inspired segmentation methods against Byte-Pair Encodings (BPEs) as inputs for machine translation (MT) when translating to and from Spanish. We show that for all language pairs except for Nahuatl, an unsupervised morphological segmentation algorithm outperforms BPEs consistently and that, although supervised methods achieve better segmentation scores, they under-perform in MT challenges. Finally, we contribute two new morphological segmentation datasets for Raramuri and Shipibo-Konibo, and a parallel corpus for Raramuri–Spanish.