Multilingual Dependency Parsing for Low-Resource African Languages: Case Studies on Bambara, Wolof, and Yoruba

Cheikh M. Bamba Dione


Abstract
This paper describes a methodology for syntactic knowledge transfer between high-resource languages to extremely low-resource languages. The methodology consists in leveraging multilingual BERT self-attention model pretrained on large datasets to develop a multilingual multi-task model that can predict Universal Dependencies annotations for three African low-resource languages. The UD annotations include universal part-of-speech, morphological features, lemmas, and dependency trees. In our experiments, we used multilingual word embeddings and a total of 11 Universal Dependencies treebanks drawn from three high-resource languages (English, French, Norwegian) and three low-resource languages (Bambara, Wolof and Yoruba). We developed various models to test specific language combinations involving contemporary contact languages or genetically related languages. The results of the experiments show that multilingual models that involve high-resource languages and low-resource languages with contemporary contact between each other can provide better results than combinations that only include unrelated languages. As far genetic relationships are concerned, we could not draw any conclusion regarding the impact of language combinations involving the selected low-resource languages, namely Wolof and Yoruba.
Anthology ID:
2021.iwpt-1.9
Volume:
Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Parsing Technologies and the IWPT 2021 Shared Task on Parsing into Enhanced Universal Dependencies (IWPT 2021)
Month:
August
Year:
2021
Address:
Online
Venues:
ACL | IJCNLP | IWPT
SIG:
SIGPARSE
Publisher:
Association for Computational Linguistics
Note:
Pages:
84–92
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.iwpt-1.9
DOI:
10.18653/v1/2021.iwpt-1.9
Bibkey:
Copy Citation:
PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/2021.iwpt-1.9.pdf