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MELA: Multilingual Evaluation of Linguistic Acceptability

Ziyin ZhangYikang LiuWeifang HuangJunyu MaoRui WangHai Hu
Nov 2023
Recent benchmarks for Large Language Models (LLMs) have mostly focused on application-driven tasks such as complex reasoning and code generation, and this has led to a scarcity in purely linguistic evaluation of LLMs. Against this background, we introduce Multilingual Evaluation of Linguistic Acceptability -- MELA, the first multilingual benchmark on linguistic acceptability with 48K samples covering 10 languages from a diverse set of language families. We establish baselines of commonly used LLMs along with supervised models, and conduct cross-lingual transfer and multi-task learning experiments with XLM-R. In pursuit of multilingual interpretability, we analyze the weights of fine-tuned XLM-R to explore the possibility of identifying transfer difficulty between languages. Our results show that ChatGPT benefits much from in-context examples but still lags behind fine-tuned XLM-R, while the performance of GPT-4 is on par with fine-tuned XLM-R even in zero-shot setting. Cross-lingual and multi-task learning experiments show that unlike semantic tasks, in-language training data is crucial in acceptability judgements. Results in layerwise probing indicate that the upper layers of XLM-R become a task-specific but language-agnostic region for multilingual acceptability judgment. We also introduce the concept of conflicting weight, which could be a potential indicator for the difficulty of cross-lingual transfer between languages. Our data will be available at
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