ePiC: Employing Proverbs in Context as a Benchmark for Abstract Language Understanding

ACL 2022  ·  Sayan Ghosh, Shashank Srivastava ·

While large language models have shown exciting progress on several NLP benchmarks, evaluating their ability for complex analogical reasoning remains under-explored. Here, we introduce a high-quality crowdsourced dataset of narratives for employing proverbs in context as a benchmark for abstract language understanding. The dataset provides fine-grained annotation of aligned spans between proverbs and narratives, and contains minimal lexical overlaps between narratives and proverbs, ensuring that models need to go beyond surface-level reasoning to succeed. We explore three tasks: (1) proverb recommendation and alignment prediction, (2) narrative generation for a given proverb and topic, and (3) identifying narratives with similar motifs. Our experiments show that neural language models struggle on these tasks compared to humans, and these tasks pose multiple learning challenges.

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