The possible, the plausible, and the desirable: Event-based modality detection for language processing

Valentina Pyatkin*, Shoval Sadde*, Aynat Rubinstein, Paul Portner, Reut Tsarfaty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Modality is the linguistic ability to describe events with added information such as how desirable, plausible, or feasible they are. Modality is important for many NLP downstream tasks such as the detection of hedging, uncertainty, speculation, and more. Previous studies that address modality detection in NLP often restrict modal expressions to a closed syntactic class, and the modal sense labels are vastly different across different studies, lacking an accepted standard. Furthermore, these senses are often analyzed independently of the events that they modify. This work builds on the theoretical foundations of the Georgetown Gradable Modal Expressions (GME) work by Rubinstein et al. (2013) to propose an event-based modality detection task where modal expressions can be words of any syntactic class and sense labels are drawn from a comprehensive taxonomy which harmonizes the modal concepts contributed by the different studies. We present experiments on the GME corpus aiming to detect and classify fine-grained modal concepts and associate them with their modified events. We show that detecting and classifying modal expressions is not only feasible, but also improves the detection of modal events in their own right.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationACL-IJCNLP 2021 - 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computational Linguistics (ACL)
Pages953-965
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781954085527
StatePublished - 2021
EventJoint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, ACL-IJCNLP 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 1 Aug 20216 Aug 2021

Publication series

NameACL-IJCNLP 2021 - 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, Proceedings of the Conference

Conference

ConferenceJoint Conference of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing, ACL-IJCNLP 2021
CityVirtual, Online
Period1/08/216/08/21

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Association for Computational Linguistics

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