Cibu Johny


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Extensions to Brahmic script processing within the Nisaba library: new scripts, languages and utilities
Alexander Gutkin | Cibu Johny | Raiomond Doctor | Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Brian Roark
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

The Brahmic family of scripts is used to record some of the most spoken languages in the world and is arguably the most diverse family of writing systems. In this work, we present several substantial extensions to Brahmic script functionality within the open-source Nisaba library of finite-state script normalization and processing utilities (Johny et al., 2021). First, we extend coverage from the original ten scripts to an additional ten scripts of South Asia and beyond, including some used to record endangered languages such as Dogri. Second, we augment the language layer so that scripts used by multiple languages in distinct ways can be processed correctly for more languages, such as the Bengali script when used for the low-resource language Santali. We document key changes to the finite-state engine required to support these new languages and scripts. Finally, we add new script processing utilities, including lightweight script-level reading normalization that (unlike existing visual normalization) does not preserve visual invariance, and a fixed-input transliteration mechanism specifically tailored to Brahmic text entry with ASCII characters.

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Criteria for Useful Automatic Romanization in South Asian Languages
Isin Demirsahin | Cibu Johny | Alexander Gutkin | Brian Roark
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper presents a number of possible criteria for systems that transliterate South Asian languages from their native scripts into the Latin script, a process known as romanization. These criteria are related to either fidelity to human linguistic behavior (pronunciation transparency, naturalness and conventionality) or processing utility for people (ease of input) as well as under-the-hood in systems (invertibility and stability across languages and scripts). When addressing these differing criteria several linguistic considerations, such as modeling of prominent phonological processes and their relation to orthography, need to be taken into account. We discuss these key linguistic details in the context of Brahmic scripts and languages that use them, such as Hindi and Malayalam. We then present the core features of several romanization algorithms, implemented in a finite state transducer (FST) formalism, that address differing criteria. Implementations of these algorithms have been released as part of the Nisaba finite-state script processing library.

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Beyond Arabic: Software for Perso-Arabic Script Manipulation
Alexander Gutkin | Cibu Johny | Raiomond Doctor | Brian Roark | Richard Sproat
Proceedings of the The Seventh Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop (WANLP)

This paper presents an open-source software library that provides a set of finite-state transducer (FST) components and corresponding utilities for manipulating the writing systems of languages that use the Perso-Arabic script. The operations include various levels of script normalization, including visual invariance-preserving operations that subsume and go beyond the standard Unicode normalization forms, as well as transformations that modify the visual appearance of characters in accordance with the regional orthographies for eleven contemporary languages from diverse language families. The library also provides simple FST-based romanization and transliteration. We additionally attempt to formalize the typology of Perso-Arabic characters by providing one-to-many mappings from Unicode code points to the languages that use them. While our work focuses on the Arabic script diaspora rather than Arabic itself, this approach could be adopted for any language that uses the Arabic script, thus providing a unified framework for treating a script family used by close to a billion people.


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Finite-state script normalization and processing utilities: The Nisaba Brahmic library
Cibu Johny | Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Alexander Gutkin | Brian Roark
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: System Demonstrations

This paper presents an open-source library for efficient low-level processing of ten major South Asian Brahmic scripts. The library provides a flexible and extensible framework for supporting crucial operations on Brahmic scripts, such as NFC, visual normalization, reversible transliteration, and validity checks, implemented in Python within a finite-state transducer formalism. We survey some common Brahmic script issues that may adversely affect the performance of downstream NLP tasks, and provide the rationale for finite-state design and system implementation details.


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Processing South Asian Languages Written in the Latin Script: the Dakshina Dataset
Brian Roark | Lawrence Wolf-Sonkin | Christo Kirov | Sabrina J. Mielke | Cibu Johny | Isin Demirsahin | Keith Hall
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

This paper describes the Dakshina dataset, a new resource consisting of text in both the Latin and native scripts for 12 South Asian languages. The dataset includes, for each language: 1) native script Wikipedia text; 2) a romanization lexicon; and 3) full sentence parallel data in both a native script of the language and the basic Latin alphabet. We document the methods used for preparation and selection of the Wikipedia text in each language; collection of attested romanizations for sampled lexicons; and manual romanization of held-out sentences from the native script collections. We additionally provide baseline results on several tasks made possible by the dataset, including single word transliteration, full sentence transliteration, and language modeling of native script and romanized text.

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Open-source Multi-speaker Speech Corpora for Building Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu Speech Synthesis Systems
Fei He | Shan-Hui Cathy Chu | Oddur Kjartansson | Clara Rivera | Anna Katanova | Alexander Gutkin | Isin Demirsahin | Cibu Johny | Martin Jansche | Supheakmungkol Sarin | Knot Pipatsrisawat
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

We present free high quality multi-speaker speech corpora for Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu, which are six of the twenty two official languages of India spoken by 374 million native speakers. The datasets are primarily intended for use in text-to-speech (TTS) applications, such as constructing multilingual voices or being used for speaker or language adaptation. Most of the corpora (apart from Marathi, which is a female-only database) consist of at least 2,000 recorded lines from female and male native speakers of the language. We present the methodological details behind corpora acquisition, which can be scaled to acquiring data for other languages of interest. We describe the experiments in building a multilingual text-to-speech model that is constructed by combining our corpora. Our results indicate that using these corpora results in good quality voices, with Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) > 3.6, for all the languages tested. We believe that these resources, released with an open-source license, and the described methodology will help in the progress of speech applications for the languages described and aid corpora development for other, smaller, languages of India and beyond.