[Corpora-List] Call for Participation: 1st Shared Task on Native Language Identification

Tetreault, Joel Joel.Tetreault
Fri Jan 4 08:32:42 CET 2013

(apologies in advance for cross-posting)


1st Shared Task on Native Language Identification

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; June 13 or 14, 2013

(co-located with BEA8 Workshop)



We are excited to organize the first shared task in Native Language Identification (NLI) which is the task of identifying the native language (L1) of a writer based solely on a sample of their writing. The task is framed as a classification problem where the set of L1s is known a priori. Most work has focused on identifying the native language of writers learning English as a second language. This problem has been growing in popularity and has motivated several ACL, NAACL and EMNLP papers, as well as a master's and doctorate thesis.

Native Language Identification can be useful for a number of applications. First, it can be used in educational settings to provide more targeted feedback to language learners about their errors. It is well known that speakers of different languages make different kinds of errors when learning a language. A writing tutor system which can detect the native language of the learner will be able to tailor the feedback about the error and contrast it with common properties of the learner's language. Second, native language is often used as a feature that goes into authorship profiling, which is frequently used in forensic linguistics.

The goal of this task is to provide a space to evaluate different techniques and approaches to Native Language Identification. To date, it has been difficult to compare approaches due to issues with training and testing data and a lack of consistency in evaluation standards. In this shared task, we provide a new data set as well provide a framework where different NLI systems can be finally compared.  The shared task will be co-located with the 8th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications on June 13 or 14 in Atlanta, USA:



Educational Testing Service (ETS) is making public 11,000 English essays from the Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL) through the LDC with the motivation to create a larger and more reliable data set for researchers to conduct Native Language Identification experiments on. This set, henceforth TOEFL11, comprises 11 L1s with 1,000 essays per L1. The 11 native languages covered by our corpus are: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Telugu, and Turkish. Furthermore, each essay in the TOEFL11 is labeled with an English language proficiency level (high, medium, or low) based on the judgments of human assessment specialists. The essays are usually 300 to 400 words long. 90% of this set will be sequestered as the training data and the remaining 10% will be released as test data.


The shared task will have three sub-tasks:

* Closed-Training: The first and main task will be the 11 way classification task using only the TOEFL11 for training. * Open-Training-1: The second task will be to allow the use of any amount or type of training data excluding the TOEFL11. * Open-Training-2: The third task will be to allow the use of any amount or type of training data.

The same test data will be used for all sub-tasks.


If you would like to participate in the NLI Shared Task, you need to formally register in order to obtain the training and test data. To register, please send the following information to nlisharedtask2013 at gmail.com:

* Name of Institution or other label appropriate for your team * Name of contact person for your team * Email address of contact person for your team


January 14 - Training Data Release March 11 - Test Data Release March 18 - Submissions Due March 25 - Results Announcement April 08 - Papers Due April 10 - Revision Requests Sent April 12 - Camera Ready Version Due June 13 or 14 - NLI Shared Task Presentations @ BEA8 Workshop


Joel Tetreault, Nuance Communications, USA Aoife Cahill, Educational Testing Service, USA Daniel Blanchard, Educational Testing Service, USA

Contact email: nlisharedtask2013 at gmail.com

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