Exploring and quantifying semantic relatedness is central to representing language. It holds significant implications across various NLP tasks, including offering insights into the capabilities and performance of Large Language Models (LLMs). While earlier NLP research primarily focused on semantic similarity, often within the English language context, we instead investigate the broader phenomenon of semantic relatedness. In this paper, we present SemRel, a new semantic relatedness dataset collection annotated by native speakers across 14 languages:Afrikaans, Algerian Arabic, Amharic, English, Hausa, Hindi, Indonesian, Kinyarwanda, Marathi, Moroccan Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, Punjabi, Spanish, and Telugu. These languages originate from five distinct language families and are predominantly spoken in Africa and Asia -- regions characterised by a relatively limited availability of NLP resources. Each instance in the SemRel datasets is a sentence pair associated with a score that represents the degree of semantic textual relatedness between the two sentences. The scores are obtained using a comparative annotation framework. We describe the data collection and annotation processes, related challenges when building the datasets, and their impact and utility in NLP. We further report experiments for each language and across the different languages.
Large language models (LLMs) have received a lot of attention in natural language processing (NLP) research because of their exceptional performance in understanding and generating human languages. However, low-resource languages are left behind due to the unavailability of resources. In this work, we focus on enhancing the LLaMA-2-Amharic model by integrating task-specific and generative datasets to improve language model performance for Amharic. We compile an Amharic instruction fine-tuning dataset and fine-tuned LLaMA-2-Amharic model. The fine-tuned model shows promising results in different NLP tasks. We open-source our dataset creation pipeline, instruction datasets, trained models, and evaluation outputs to promote language-specific studies on these models.
We present the first Africentric SemEval Shared task, Sentiment Analysis for African Languages (AfriSenti-SemEval) - The dataset is available at https://github.com/afrisenti-semeval/afrisent-semeval-2023. AfriSenti-SemEval is a sentiment classification challenge in 14 African languages: Amharic, Algerian Arabic, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Moroccan Arabic, Mozambican Portuguese, Nigerian Pidgin, Oromo, Swahili, Tigrinya, Twi, Xitsonga, and Yor\`ub\'a (Muhammad et al., 2023), using data labeled with 3 sentiment classes. We present three subtasks: (1) Task A: monolingual classification, which received 44 submissions; (2) Task B: multilingual classification, which received 32 submissions; and (3) Task C: zero-shot classification, which received 34 submissions. The best performance for tasks A and B was achieved by NLNDE team with 71.31 and 75.06 weighted F1, respectively. UCAS-IIE-NLP achieved the best average score for task C with 58.15 weighted F1. We describe the various approaches adopted by the top 10 systems and their approaches.
This survey delves into the current state of natural language processing (NLP) for four Ethiopian languages: Amharic, Afaan Oromo, Tigrinya, and Wolaytta. Through this paper, we identify key challenges and opportunities for NLP research in Ethiopia. Furthermore, we provide a centralized repository on GitHub that contains publicly available resources for various NLP tasks in these languages. This repository can be updated periodically with contributions from other researchers. Our objective is to identify research gaps and disseminate the information to NLP researchers interested in Ethiopian languages and encourage future research in this domain.
* Accepted to Fourth workshop on Resources for African Indigenous
Languages (RAIL), EACL2023
Africa is home to over 2000 languages from over six language families and has the highest linguistic diversity among all continents. This includes 75 languages with at least one million speakers each. Yet, there is little NLP research conducted on African languages. Crucial in enabling such research is the availability of high-quality annotated datasets. In this paper, we introduce AfriSenti, which consists of 14 sentiment datasets of 110,000+ tweets in 14 African languages (Amharic, Algerian Arabic, Hausa, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Moroccan Arabic, Mozambican Portuguese, Nigerian Pidgin, Oromo, Swahili, Tigrinya, Twi, Xitsonga, and Yor\`ub\'a) from four language families annotated by native speakers. The data is used in SemEval 2023 Task 12, the first Afro-centric SemEval shared task. We describe the data collection methodology, annotation process, and related challenges when curating each of the datasets. We conduct experiments with different sentiment classification baselines and discuss their usefulness. We hope AfriSenti enables new work on under-represented languages. The dataset is available at https://github.com/afrisenti-semeval/afrisent-semeval-2023 and can also be loaded as a huggingface datasets (https://huggingface.co/datasets/shmuhammad/AfriSenti).
In this work, we present ARDIAS, a web-based application that aims to provide researchers with a full suite of discovery and collaboration tools. ARDIAS currently allows searching for authors and articles by name and gaining insights into the research topics of a particular researcher. With the aid of AI-based tools, ARDIAS aims to recommend potential collaborators and topics to researchers. In the near future, we aim to add tools that allow researchers to communicate with each other and start new projects.
Machine translation (MT) is one of the main tasks in natural language processing whose objective is to translate texts automatically from one natural language to another. Nowadays, using deep neural networks for MT tasks has received great attention. These networks require lots of data to learn abstract representations of the input and store it in continuous vectors. This paper presents the first relatively large-scale Amharic-English parallel sentence dataset. Using these compiled data, we build bi-directional Amharic-English translation models by fine-tuning the existing Facebook M2M100 pre-trained model achieving a BLEU score of 37.79 in Amharic-English 32.74 in English-Amharic translation. Additionally, we explore the effects of Amharic homophone normalization on the machine translation task. The results show that the normalization of Amharic homophone characters increases the performance of Amharic-English machine translation in both directions.
We present Sense Clustering over Time (SCoT), a novel network-based tool for analysing lexical change. SCoT represents the meanings of a word as clusters of similar words. It visualises their formation, change, and demise. There are two main approaches to the exploration of dynamic networks: the discrete one compares a series of clustered graphs from separate points in time. The continuous one analyses the changes of one dynamic network over a time-span. SCoT offers a new hybrid solution. First, it aggregates time-stamped documents into intervals and calculates one sense graph per discrete interval. Then, it merges the static graphs to a new type of dynamic semantic neighbourhood graph over time. The resulting sense clusters offer uniquely detailed insights into lexical change over continuous intervals with model transparency and provenance. SCoT has been successfully used in a European study on the changing meaning of `crisis'.