Workshop on Resources and Technologies for Indigenous, Endangered and Lesser-resourced Languages in Eurasia (2022)


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Proceedings of the Workshop on Resources and Technologies for Indigenous, Endangered and Lesser-resourced Languages in Eurasia within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

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Proceedings of the Workshop on Resources and Technologies for Indigenous, Endangered and Lesser-resourced Languages in Eurasia within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference
Atul Kr. Ojha | Sina Ahmadi | Chao-Hong Liu | John P. McCrae

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NLP Pipeline for Annotating (Endangered) Tibetan and Newar Varieties
Christian Faggionato | Nathan Hill | Marieke Meelen

In this paper we present our work-in-progress on a fully-implemented pipeline to create deeply-annotated corpora of a number of historical and contemporary Tibetan and Newar varieties. Our off-the-shelf tools allow researchers to create corpora with five different layers of annotation, ranging from morphosyntactic to information-structural annotation. We build on and optimise existing tools (in line with FAIR principles), as well as develop new ones, and show how they can be adapted to other Tibetan and Newar languages, most notably modern endangered languages that are both extremely low-resourced and under-researched.

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Towards an Ontology for Toponyms in Nepalese Historical Documents
Sabine Tittel

Nepalese historical legal documents contain a plethora of valuable information on the history of what is today Nepal. An empirical study based on such documents enables a deep understanding of religion and ritual, legal practice, rulership, and many other aspects of the society through time. The aim of the research project ‘Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Pre-modern Nepal’ is to make accessible a text corpus with 18 th to 20 th century documents both through cataloging and digital text editions, building a database called Documenta Nepalica. However, the lack of interoperability with other resources hampers its seamless integration into broader research contexts. To address this problem, we target the modeling of the Documenta Nepalica as Linked Data. This paper presents one module of this larger endeavour: It describes a proof of concept for an ontology for Nepalese toponyms that provides the means to classify toponyms attested in the documents and to model their entanglement with other toponyms, persons, events, and time. The ontology integrates and extends standard ontologies and increases interoperability through aligning the ontology individuals to the respective entries of geographic authority files such as GeoNames. Also, we establish a mapping of the individuals to DBpedia entities.

Semiautomatic Speech Alignment for Under-Resourced Languages
Juho Leinonen | Niko Partanen | Sami Virpioja | Mikko Kurimo

Cross-language forced alignment is a solution for linguists who create speech corpora for very low-resource languages. However, cross-language is an additional challenge making a complex task, forced alignment, even more difficult. We study how linguists can impart domain expertise to the tasks to increase the performance of automatic forced aligners while keeping the time effort still lower than with manual forced alignment. First, we show that speech recognizers have a clear bias in starting the word later than a human annotator, which results in micro-pauses in the results that do not exist in manual alignments, and study which is the best way to automatically remove these silences. Second, we ask the linguists to simplify the task by splitting long interview audios into shorter lengths by providing some manually aligned segments and evaluating the results of this process. We also study how correlated source language performance is to target language performance, since often it is an easier task to find a better source model than to adapt to the target language.

How to Digitize Completely: Interactive Geovizualization of a Sketch Map from the Kuzmina Archive
Elena Lazarenko | Aleksandr Riaposov

This paper discusses work in progress on the digitization of a sketch map of the Taz River basin – a region that is lacking highly detailed open-source cartography data. The original sketch is retrieved from the archive of Selkup materials gathered by Angelina Ivanovna Kuzmina in the 1960s and 1970s. The data quality and challenges that come with it are evaluated and a task-specific workflow is designed. The process of the turning a series of hand-drawn images with non-structured geographical and linguistic data into an interactive, geographically precise digital map is described both from linguistic and technical perspectives. Furthermore, the map objects in focus are differentiated based on the geographical type of the object and the etymology of the name. This provides an insight into the peculiarities of the linguistic history of the region and contributes to the cartography of the Uralic languages.

Word Class Based Language Modeling: A Case of Upper Sorbian
Isidor Maier | Johannes Kuhn | Frank Duckhorn | Ivan Kraljevski | Daniel Sobe | Matthias Wolff | Constanze Tschöpe

In this paper we show how word class based language modeling can support the integration of a small language in modern applications of speech technology. The methods described in this paper can be applied for any language. We demonstrate the methods on Upper Sorbian. The word classes model the semantic expressions of numerals, date and time of day. The implementation of the created grammars was realized in the form of finite-state-transducers (FSTs) and minimalists grammars (MGs). We practically demonstrate the usage of the FSTs in a simple smart-home speech application, that is able to set wake-up alarms and appointments expressed in a variety of spontaneous and natural sentences. While the created MGs are not integrated in an application for practical use yet, they provide evidence that MGs could potentially work more efficient than FSTs in built-on applications. In particular, MGs can work with a significantly smaller lexicon size, since their more complex structure lets them generate more expressions with less items, while still avoiding wrong expressions.

Bringing Together Version Control and Quality Assurance of Language Data with LAMA
Aleksandr Riaposov | Elena Lazarenko | Timm Lehmberg

This contribution reports on work in process on project specific software and digital infrastructure components used along with corpus curation workflows in the the framework of the long-term language documentation project INEL. By bringing together scientists with different levels of technical affinity in a highly interdisciplinary working environment, the project is confronted with numerous workflow related issues. Many of them result from collaborative (remote-)work on digital corpora, which, among other things, include annotation, glossing but also quality- and consistency control. In this context several steps were taken to bridge the gap between usability and the requirements of complex data curation workflows. Components of the latter such as a versioning system and semi-automated data validators on one side meet the user demands for the simplicity and minimalism on the other side. Embodying a simple shell script in an interactive graphic user interface, we augment the efficacy of the data versioning and the integration of Java-based quality control and validation tools.

Automatic Verb Classifier for Abui (AVC-abz)
Frantisek Kratochvil | George Saad | Jiří Vomlel | Václav Kratochvíl

We present an automatic verb classifier system that identifies inflectional classes in Abui (AVC-abz), a Papuan language of the Timor-Alor-Pantar family. The system combines manually annotated language data (the learning set) with the output of a morphological precision grammar (corpus data). The morphological precision grammar is trained on a fully glossed smaller corpus and applied to a larger corpus. Using the k-means algorithm, the system clusters inflectional classes discovered in the learning set. In the second step, Naive Bayes algorithm assigns the verbs found in the corpus data to the best-fitting cluster. AVC-abz serves to advance and refine the grammatical analysis of Abui as well as to monitor corpus coverage and its gradual improvement.

Dialogue Act and Slot Recognition in Italian Complex Dialogues
Irene Sucameli | Michele De Quattro | Arash Eshghi | Alessandro Suglia | Maria Simi

Since the advent of Transformer-based, pretrained language models (LM) such as BERT, Natural Language Understanding (NLU) components in the form of Dialogue Act Recognition (DAR) and Slot Recognition (SR) for dialogue systems have become both more accurate and easier to create for specific application domains. Unsurprisingly however, much of this progress has been limited to the English language, due to the existence of very large datasets in both dialogue and written form, while only few corpora are available for lower resourced languages like Italian. In this paper, we present JILDA 2.0, an enhanced version of a Italian task-oriented dialogue dataset, using it to realise a Italian NLU baseline by evaluating three of the most recent pretrained LMs: Italian BERT, Multilingual BERT, and AlBERTo for the DAR and SR tasks. Thus, this paper not only presents an updated version of a dataset characterised by complex dialogues, but it also highlights the challenges that still remain in creating effective NLU components for lower resourced languages, constituting a first step in improving NLU for Italian dialogue.

Digital Resources for the Shughni Language
Yury Makarov | Maksim Melenchenko | Dmitry Novokshanov

This paper describes the Shughni Documentation Project consisting of the Online Shughni Dictionary, morphological analyzer, orthography converter, and Shughni corpus. The online dictionary has not only basic functions such as finding words but also facilitates more complex tasks. Representing a lexeme as a network of database sections makes it possible to search in particular domains (e.g., in meanings only), and the system of labels facilitates conditional search queries. Apart from this, users can make search queries and view entries in different orthographies of the Shughni language and send feedback in case they spot mistakes. Editors can add, modify, or delete entries without programming skills via an intuitive interface. In future, such website architecture can be applied to creating a lexical database of Iranian languages. The morphological analyzer performs automatic analysis of Shughni texts, which is useful for linguistic research and documentation. Once the analysis is complete, homonymy resolution must be conducted so that the annotated texts are ready to be uploaded to the corpus. The analyzer makes use of the orthographic converter, which helps to tackle the problem of spelling variability in Shughni, a language with no standard literary tradition.

German Dialect Identification and Mapping for Preservation and Recovery
Aynalem Tesfaye Misganaw | Sabine Roller

Many linguistic projects which focus on dialects do collection of audio data, analysis, and linguistic interpretation on the data. The outcomes of such projects are good language resources because dialects are among less-resources languages as most of them are oral traditions. Our project Dialektatlas Mittleres Westdeutschland (DMW) 1 focuses on the study of German language varieties through collection of audio data of words and phrases which are selected by linguistic experts based on the linguistic significance of the words (and phrases) to distinguish dialects among each other. We used a total of 7,814 audio snippets of the words and phrases of eight different dialects from middle west Germany. We employed a multilabel classification approach to address the problem of dialect mapping using Support Vector Machine (SVM) algorithm. The experimental result showed a promising accuracy of 87%.

Exploring Transfer Learning for Urdu Speech Synthesis
Sahar Jamal | Sadaf Abdul Rauf | Quratulain Majid

Neural methods in Text to Speech synthesis (TTS) have demonstrated momentous advancement in terms of the naturalness and intelligibility of the synthesized speech. In this paper we present neural speech synthesis system for Urdu language, a low resource language. The main challenge faced for this study was the non-availability of any publicly available Urdu speech synthesis corpora. Urdu speech corpus was created using audio books and synthetic speech generation. To leverage the low resource scenario we adopted transfer learning for our experiments where knowledge extracted is further used to train the model using a relatively smaller Urdu training data set. The results from this model show satisfactory results, though a good margin for improvement exists and we are working to improve it further.

Towards Bengali WordNet Enrichment using Knowledge Graph Completion Techniques
Sree Bhattacharyya | Abhik Jana

WordNet serves as a very essential knowledge source for various downstream Natural Language Processing (NLP) tasks. Since this is a human-curated resource, building such a resource is very cumbersome and time-consuming. Even though for languages like English, the existing WordNet is reasonably rich in terms of coverage, for resource-poor languages like Bengali, the WordNet is far from being reasonably sufficient in terms of coverage of vocabulary and relations between them. In this paper, we investigate the usefulness of some of the existing knowledge graph completion algorithms to enrich Bengali WordNet automatically. We explore three such techniques namely DistMult, ComplEx, and HolE, and analyze their effectiveness for adding more relations between existing nodes in the WordNet. We achieve maximum Hits@1 of 0.412 and Hits@10 of 0.703, which look very promising for low resource languages like Bengali.

Enriching Hindi WordNet Using Knowledge Graph Completion Approach
Sushil Awale | Abhik Jana

Even though the use of WordNet in the Natural Language Processing domain is unquestionable, creating and maintaining WordNet is a cumbersome job and it is even difficult for low resource languages like Hindi. In this study, we aim to enrich the Hindi WordNet automatically by using state-of-the-art knowledge graph completion (KGC) approaches. We pose the automatic Hindi WordNet enrichment problem as a knowledge graph completion task and therefore we modify the WordNet structure to make it appropriate for applying KGC approaches. Second, we attempt five KGC approaches of three different genres and compare the performances for the task. Our study shows that ConvE is the best KGC methodology for this specific task compared to other KGC approaches.

A Digital Swedish-Yiddish/Yiddish-Swedish Dictionary: A Web-Based Dictionary that is also Available Offline
Magnus Ahltorp | Jean Hessel | Gunnar Eriksson | Maria Skeppstedt | Rickard Domeij

Yiddish is one of the national minority languages of Sweden, and one of the languages for which the Swedish Institute for Language and Folklore is responsible for developing useful language resources. We here describe the web-based version of a Swedish-Yiddish/Yiddish-Swedish dictionary. The single search field of the web-based dictionary is used for incrementally searching all three components of the dictionary entries (the word in Swedish, the word in Yiddish with Hebrew characters and the transliteration in Latin script). When the user accesses the dictionary in an online mode, the dictionary is saved in the web browser, which makes it possible to also use the dictionary offline.

An Online Dictionary for Dialects of North Frisian
Michael Wehar | Tanno Hüttenrauch

Language is an essential part of communication and culture. Documenting, digitizing, and preserving language is a meaningful pursuit. The first author of this work is a speaker of Söl’ring which is a dialect of the North Frisian language spoken on the island of Sylt in the North Frisia region of Germany. Söl’ring is estimated to have only hundreds of native speakers and very limited online language resources making it a prime candidate for language preservation initiatives. To help preserve Söl’ring and provide resources for Söl’ring speakers and learners, we built an online dictionary. Our dictionary, called, provides translations for over 28,000 common German words to Söl’ring. In addition, our dictionary supports translations for Söl’ring to German, spell checking for Söl’ring, conjugations for common Söl’ring verbs, and an experimental transcriber from Söl’ring to IPA for pronunciations. Following the release of our online dictionary, we collaborated with neighboring communities to add limited support for additional North Frisian dialects including Fering, Halligen Frisian, Karrharder, Nordergoesharder, Öömrang, and Wiedingharder.

Towards a Unified Tool for the Management of Data and Technologies in Field Linguistics and Computational Linguistics - LiFE
Siddharth Singh | Ritesh Kumar | Shyam Ratan | Sonal Sinha

The paper presents a new software - Linguistic Field Data Management and Analysis System - LiFE for endangered and low-resourced languages - an open-source, web-based linguistic data analysis and management application allowing systematic storage, management, usage and sharing of linguistic data collected from the field. The application enables users to store lexical items, sentences, paragraphs, audio-visual content including photographs, video clips, speech recordings, etc, with rich glossing and annotation. For field linguists, it provides facilities to generate interactive and print dictionaries; for NLP practitioners, it provides the data storage and representation in standard formats such as RDF, JSON and CSV. The tool provides a one-click interface to train NLP models for various tasks using the data stored in the system and then use it for assistance in further storage of the data (especially for the field linguists). At the same time, the tool also provides the facility of using the models trained outside of the tool for data storage, transcription, annotation and other tasks. The web-based application, allows for seamless collaboration among multiple persons and sharing the data, models, etc with each other.

Universal Dependencies Treebank for Tatar: Incorporating Intra-Word Code-Switching Information
Chihiro Taguchi | Sei Iwata | Taro Watanabe

This paper introduces a new Universal Dependencies treebank for the Tatar language named NMCTT. A significant feature of the corpus is that it includes code-switching (CS) information at a morpheme level, given the fact that Tatar texts contain intra-word CS between Tatar and Russian. We first outline NMCTT with a focus on differences from other treebanks of Turkic languages. Then, to evaluate the merit of the CS annotation, this study concisely reports the results of a language identification task implemented with Conditional Random Fields that considers POS tag information, which is readily available in treebanks in the CoNLL-U format. Experimenting on NMCTT and the Turkish-German CS treebank (SAGT), we demonstrate that the proposed annotation scheme introduced in NMCTT can improve the performance of the subword-level language identification. This annotation scheme for CS is not only universally applicable to languages with CS, but also shows a possibility to employ morphosyntactic information for CS-related downstream tasks.

Preparing an endangered language for the digital age: The Case of Judeo-Spanish
Alp Öktem | Rodolfo Zevallos | Yasmin Moslem | Özgür Güneş Öztürk | Karen Gerson Şarhon

We develop machine translation and speech synthesis systems to complement the efforts of revitalizing Judeo-Spanish, the exiled language of Sephardic Jews, which survived for centuries, but now faces the threat of extinction in the digital age. Building on resources created by the Sephardic community of Turkey and elsewhere, we create corpora and tools that would help preserve this language for future generations. For machine translation, we first develop a Spanish to Judeo-Spanish rule-based machine translation system, in order to generate large volumes of synthetic parallel data in the relevant language pairs: Turkish, English and Spanish. Then, we train baseline neural machine translation engines using this synthetic data and authentic parallel data created from translations by the Sephardic community. For text-to-speech synthesis, we present a 3.5-hour single speaker speech corpus for building a neural speech synthesis engine. Resources, model weights and online inference engines are shared publicly.