Is the Red Square Big? MALeViC: Modeling Adjectives Leveraging Visual Contexts

Sandro Pezzelle, Raquel Fernández


Abstract
This work aims at modeling how the meaning of gradable adjectives of size (‘big’, ‘small’) can be learned from visually-grounded contexts. Inspired by cognitive and linguistic evidence showing that the use of these expressions relies on setting a threshold that is dependent on a specific context, we investigate the ability of multi-modal models in assessing whether an object is ‘big’ or ‘small’ in a given visual scene. In contrast with the standard computational approach that simplistically treats gradable adjectives as ‘fixed’ attributes, we pose the problem as relational: to be successful, a model has to consider the full visual context. By means of four main tasks, we show that state-of-the-art models (but not a relatively strong baseline) can learn the function subtending the meaning of size adjectives, though their performance is found to decrease while moving from simple to more complex tasks. Crucially, models fail in developing abstract representations of gradable adjectives that can be used compositionally.
Anthology ID:
D19-1285
Volume:
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)
Month:
November
Year:
2019
Address:
Hong Kong, China
Venues:
EMNLP | IJCNLP
SIG:
SIGDAT
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
2865–2876
URL:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D19-1285
DOI:
10.18653/v1/D19-1285
Bib Export formats:
BibTeX MODS XML EndNote
PDF:
https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/D19-1285.pdf