Computational Linguistics, Volume 43, Issue 4 - December 2017

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Computational Linguistics, Volume 43, Issue 4 - December 2017

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Discourse Structure in Machine Translation Evaluation
Shafiq Joty | Francisco Guzmán | Lluís Màrquez | Preslav Nakov

In this article, we explore the potential of using sentence-level discourse structure for machine translation evaluation. We first design discourse-aware similarity measures, which use all-subtree kernels to compare discourse parse trees in accordance with the Rhetorical Structure Theory (RST). Then, we show that a simple linear combination with these measures can help improve various existing machine translation evaluation metrics regarding correlation with human judgments both at the segment level and at the system level. This suggests that discourse information is complementary to the information used by many of the existing evaluation metrics, and thus it could be taken into account when developing richer evaluation metrics, such as the WMT-14 winning combined metric DiscoTKparty. We also provide a detailed analysis of the relevance of various discourse elements and relations from the RST parse trees for machine translation evaluation. In particular, we show that (i) all aspects of the RST tree are relevant, (ii) nuclearity is more useful than relation type, and (iii) the similarity of the translation RST tree to the reference RST tree is positively correlated with translation quality.

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Adapting to Learner Errors with Minimal Supervision
Alla Rozovskaya | Dan Roth | Mark Sammons

This article considers the problem of correcting errors made by English as a Second Language writers from a machine learning perspective, and addresses an important issue of developing an appropriate training paradigm for the task, one that accounts for error patterns of non-native writers using minimal supervision. Existing training approaches present a trade-off between large amounts of cheap data offered by the native-trained models and additional knowledge of learner error patterns provided by the more expensive method of training on annotated learner data. We propose a novel training approach that draws on the strengths offered by the two standard training paradigms—of training either on native or on annotated learner data—and that outperforms both of these standard methods. Using the key observation that parameters relating to error regularities exhibited by non-native writers are relatively simple, we develop models that can incorporate knowledge about error regularities based on a small annotated sample but that are otherwise trained on native English data. The key contribution of this article is the introduction and analysis of two methods for adapting the learned models to error patterns of non-native writers; one method that applies to generative classifiers and a second that applies to discriminative classifiers. Both methods demonstrated state-of-the-art performance in several text correction competitions. In particular, the Illinois system that implements these methods ranked at the top in two recent CoNLL shared tasks on error correction.1 We conduct further evaluation of the proposed approaches studying the effect of using error data from speakers of the same native language, languages that are closely related linguistically, and unrelated languages.

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Representation of Linguistic Form and Function in Recurrent Neural Networks
Ákos Kádár | Grzegorz Chrupała | Afra Alishahi

We present novel methods for analyzing the activation patterns of recurrent neural networks from a linguistic point of view and explore the types of linguistic structure they learn. As a case study, we use a standard standalone language model, and a multi-task gated recurrent network architecture consisting of two parallel pathways with shared word embeddings: The Visual pathway is trained on predicting the representations of the visual scene corresponding to an input sentence, and the Textual pathway is trained to predict the next word in the same sentence. We propose a method for estimating the amount of contribution of individual tokens in the input to the final prediction of the networks. Using this method, we show that the Visual pathway pays selective attention to lexical categories and grammatical functions that carry semantic information, and learns to treat word types differently depending on their grammatical function and their position in the sequential structure of the sentence. In contrast, the language models are comparatively more sensitive to words with a syntactic function. Further analysis of the most informative n-gram contexts for each model shows that in comparison with the Visual pathway, the language models react more strongly to abstract contexts that represent syntactic constructions.

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HyperLex: A Large-Scale Evaluation of Graded Lexical Entailment
Ivan Vulić | Daniela Gerz | Douwe Kiela | Felix Hill | Anna Korhonen

We introduce HyperLex—a data set and evaluation resource that quantifies the extent of the semantic category membership, that is, type-of relation, also known as hyponymy–hypernymy or lexical entailment (LE) relation between 2,616 concept pairs. Cognitive psychology research has established that typicality and category/class membership are computed in human semantic memory as a gradual rather than binary relation. Nevertheless, most NLP research and existing large-scale inventories of concept category membership (WordNet, DBPedia, etc.) treat category membership and LE as binary. To address this, we asked hundreds of native English speakers to indicate typicality and strength of category membership between a diverse range of concept pairs on a crowdsourcing platform. Our results confirm that category membership and LE are indeed more gradual than binary. We then compare these human judgments with the predictions of automatic systems, which reveals a huge gap between human performance and state-of-the-art LE, distributional and representation learning models, and substantial differences between the models themselves. We discuss a pathway for improving semantic models to overcome this discrepancy, and indicate future application areas for improved graded LE systems.

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Survey: Multiword Expression Processing: A Survey
Mathieu Constant | Gülşen Eryiǧit | Johanna Monti | Lonneke van der Plas | Carlos Ramisch | Michael Rosner | Amalia Todirascu

Multiword expressions (MWEs) are a class of linguistic forms spanning conventional word boundaries that are both idiosyncratic and pervasive across different languages. The structure of linguistic processing that depends on the clear distinction between words and phrases has to be re-thought to accommodate MWEs. The issue of MWE handling is crucial for NLP applications, where it raises a number of challenges. The emergence of solutions in the absence of guiding principles motivates this survey, whose aim is not only to provide a focused review of MWE processing, but also to clarify the nature of interactions between MWE processing and downstream applications. We propose a conceptual framework within which challenges and research contributions can be positioned. It offers a shared understanding of what is meant by “MWE processing,” distinguishing the subtasks of MWE discovery and identification. It also elucidates the interactions between MWE processing and two use cases: Parsing and machine translation. Many of the approaches in the literature can be differentiated according to how MWE processing is timed with respect to underlying use cases. We discuss how such orchestration choices affect the scope of MWE-aware systems. For each of the two MWE processing subtasks and for each of the two use cases, we conclude on open issues and research perspectives.

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Book Review: Syntax-Based Statistical Machine Translation by Philip Williams, Rico Sennrich, Matt Post and Philipp Koehn
Christian Hadiwinoto

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Last Words: Sharing Is Caring: The Future of Shared Tasks
Malvina Nissim | Lasha Abzianidze | Kilian Evang | Rob van der Goot | Hessel Haagsma | Barbara Plank | Martijn Wieling

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Reviewers for Volume 43