Revisiting Acceptability Judgements

Hai Hu, Ziyin Zhang, Weifang Huang, Jackie Yan-Ki Lai, Aini Li, Yina Ma, Jiahui Huang, Peng Zhang, Rui wang

Years have passed since the NLP community has last focused on linguistic acceptability. In this work, we revisit this topic in the context of large language models. We introduce CoLAC - Corpus of Linguistic Acceptability in Chinese, the first large-scale non-English acceptability dataset that is verified by native speakers and comes with two sets of labels. Our experiments show that even the largest InstructGPT model performs only at chance level on CoLAC, while ChatGPT's performance (48.30 MCC) is also way below supervised models (59.03 MCC) and human (65.11 MCC). Through cross-lingual transfer experiments and fine-grained linguistic analysis, we demonstrate for the first time that knowledge of linguistic acceptability can be transferred across typologically distinct languages, as well as be traced back to pre-training.

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