This paper investigates the role of text categorization in streamlining stopword extraction in natural language processing (NLP), specifically focusing on nine African languages alongside French. By leveraging the MasakhaNEWS, African Stopwords Project, and MasakhaPOS datasets, our findings emphasize that text categorization effectively identifies domain-agnostic stopwords with over 80% detection success rate for most examined languages. Nevertheless, linguistic variances result in lower detection rates for certain languages. Interestingly, we find that while over 40% of stopwords are common across news categories, less than 15% are unique to a single category. Uncommon stopwords add depth to text but their classification as stopwords depends on context. Therefore combining statistical and linguistic approaches creates comprehensive stopword lists, highlighting the value of our hybrid method. This research enhances NLP for African languages and underscores the importance of text categorization in stopword extraction.
* A Project Report for the Masakhane Research Community
African languages have far less in-language content available digitally, making it challenging for question answering systems to satisfy the information needs of users. Cross-lingual open-retrieval question answering (XOR QA) systems -- those that retrieve answer content from other languages while serving people in their native language -- offer a means of filling this gap. To this end, we create AfriQA, the first cross-lingual QA dataset with a focus on African languages. AfriQA includes 12,000+ XOR QA examples across 10 African languages. While previous datasets have focused primarily on languages where cross-lingual QA augments coverage from the target language, AfriQA focuses on languages where cross-lingual answer content is the only high-coverage source of answer content. Because of this, we argue that African languages are one of the most important and realistic use cases for XOR QA. Our experiments demonstrate the poor performance of automatic translation and multilingual retrieval methods. Overall, AfriQA proves challenging for state-of-the-art QA models. We hope that the dataset enables the development of more equitable QA technology.
We present the findings of our participation in the SemEval-2023 Task 10: Explainable Detection of Online Sexism (EDOS) task, a shared task on offensive language (sexism) detection on English Gab and Reddit dataset. We investigated the effects of transferring two language models: XLM-T (sentiment classification) and HateBERT (same domain -- Reddit) for multi-level classification into Sexist or not Sexist, and other subsequent sub-classifications of the sexist data. We also use synthetic classification of unlabelled dataset and intermediary class information to maximize the performance of our models. We submitted a system in Task A, and it ranked 49th with F1-score of 0.82. This result showed to be competitive as it only under-performed the best system by 0.052% F1-score.
We present the findings of SemEval-2023 Task 12, a shared task on sentiment analysis for low-resource African languages using Twitter dataset. The task featured three subtasks; subtask A is monolingual sentiment classification with 12 tracks which are all monolingual languages, subtask B is multilingual sentiment classification using the tracks in subtask A and subtask C is a zero-shot sentiment classification. We present the results and findings of subtask A, subtask B and subtask C. We also release the code on github. Our goal is to leverage low-resource tweet data using pre-trained Afro-xlmr-large, AfriBERTa-Large, Bert-base-arabic-camelbert-da-sentiment (Arabic-camelbert), Multilingual-BERT (mBERT) and BERT models for sentiment analysis of 14 African languages. The datasets for these subtasks consists of a gold standard multi-class labeled Twitter datasets from these languages. Our results demonstrate that Afro-xlmr-large model performed better compared to the other models in most of the languages datasets. Similarly, Nigerian languages: Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba achieved better performance compared to other languages and this can be attributed to the higher volume of data present in the languages.