Computational modeling of politeness across diverse languages




Srinivasan, Anirudh

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We study politeness phenomena in nine typologically diverse languages. Politeness is an important facet of communication and is sometimes argued to be cultural-specific, yet existing computational linguistic study is limited to English. We create TyDiP, a dataset containing three-way politeness annotations for 500 examples in each language, totaling 4.5K examples. We evaluate how well multilingual models can identify politeness levels -- they show a fairly robust zero-shot transfer ability, yet fall short of estimated human accuracy significantly. We further study mapping the English politeness strategy lexicon into nine languages via automatic translation and lexicon induction, analyzing whether each strategy's impact stays consistent across languages. Lastly, we empirically study the complicated relationship between formality and politeness through transfer experiments. We hope our dataset will support various research questions and applications, from evaluating multilingual models to constructing polite multilingual agents. The data and code is publicly available at on GitHub and HuggingFace


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