PINEAPPLE: Personifying INanimate Entities by Acquiring Parallel Personification data for Learning Enhanced generation

Sedrick Scott Keh, Kevin Lu, Varun Gangal, Steven Y. Feng, Harsh Jhamtani, Malihe Alikhani, Eduard Hovy

A personification is a figure of speech that endows inanimate entities with properties and actions typically seen as requiring animacy. In this paper, we explore the task of personification generation. To this end, we propose PINEAPPLE: Personifying INanimate Entities by Acquiring Parallel Personification data for Learning Enhanced generation. We curate a corpus of personifications called PersonifCorp, together with automatically generated de-personified literalizations of these personifications. We demonstrate the usefulness of this parallel corpus by training a seq2seq model to personify a given literal input. Both automatic and human evaluations show that fine-tuning with PersonifCorp leads to significant gains in personification-related qualities such as animacy and interestingness. A detailed qualitative analysis also highlights key strengths and imperfections of PINEAPPLE over baselines, demonstrating a strong ability to generate diverse and creative personifications that enhance the overall appeal of a sentence.

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