Language with Vision: a Study on Grounded Word and Sentence Embeddings

Abstract

Language grounding to vision is an active field of research aiming to enrich text-based representations of word meanings by leveraging perceptual knowledge from vision. Despite many attempts at language grounding, it is still unclear how to effectively inject visual knowledge into the word embeddings of a language in such a way that a proper balance of textual and visual knowledge is maintained. Some common concerns are the following. Is visual grounding beneficial for abstract words or is its contribution only limited to concrete words? What is the optimal way of bridging the gap between text and vision? How much do we gain by visually grounding textual embeddings? The present study addresses these questions by proposing a simple yet very effective grounding approach for pre-trained word embeddings. Our model aligns textual embeddings with vision while largely preserving the distributional statistics that characterize word use in text corpora. By applying a learned alignment, we are able to generate visually grounded embeddings for unseen words, including abstract words. A series of evaluations on word similarity benchmarks shows that visual grounding is beneficial not only for concrete words, but also for abstract words. We also show that our method for visual grounding offers advantages for contextualized embeddings, but only when these are trained on corpora of relatively modest size.

Hassan Shahmohammadi
Hassan Shahmohammadi
PhD candidate at University of Tuebingen & IMPRS-IS

My research interests include Multi-Modal learning using deep learning bridging NLP and CV