Vukosi Marivate


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Prompting towards Alleviating Code-Switched Data Scarcity in Under-Resourced Languages with GPT as a Pivot
Michelle Terblanche | Kayode Olaleye | Vukosi Marivate
Proceedings of the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Under-resourced Languages @ LREC-COLING 2024

Many multilingual communities, including numerous in Africa, frequently engage in code-switching during conversations. This behaviour stresses the need for natural language processing technologies adept at processing code-switched text. However, data scarcity, particularly in African languages, poses a significant challenge, as many are low-resourced and under-represented. In this study, we prompted GPT 3.5 to generate Afrikaans–English and Yoruba–English code-switched sentences, enhancing diversity using topic-keyword pairs, linguistic guidelines, and few-shot examples. Our findings indicate that the quality of generated sentences for languages using non-Latin scripts, like Yoruba, is considerably lower when compared with the high Afrikaans–English success rate. There is therefore a notable opportunity to refine prompting guidelines to yield sentences suitable for the fine-tuning of language models. We propose a framework for augmenting the diversity of synthetically generated code-switched data using GPT and propose leveraging this technology to mitigate data scarcity in low-resourced languages, underscoring the essential role of native speakers in this process.


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Unsupervised Cross-lingual Word Embedding Representation for English-isiZulu
Derwin Ngomane | Rooweither Mabuya | Jade Abbott | Vukosi Marivate
Proceedings of the Fourth workshop on Resources for African Indigenous Languages (RAIL 2023)

In this study, we investigate the effectiveness of using cross-lingual word embeddings for zero-shot transfer learning between a language with an abundant resource, English, and a languagewith limited resource, isiZulu. IsiZulu is a part of the South African Nguni language family, which is characterised by complex agglutinating morphology. We use VecMap, an open source tool, to obtain cross-lingual word embeddings. To perform an extrinsic evaluation of the effectiveness of the embeddings, we train a news classifier on labelled English data in order to categorise unlabelled isiZulu data using zero-shot transfer learning. In our study, we found our model to have a weighted average F1-score of 0.34. Our findings demonstrate that VecMap generates modular word embeddings in the cross-lingual space that have an impact on the downstream classifier used for zero-shot transfer learning.

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Preparing the Vuk’uzenzele and ZA-gov-multilingual South African multilingual corpora
Richard Lastrucci | Jenalea Rajab | Matimba Shingange | Daniel Njini | Vukosi Marivate
Proceedings of the Fourth workshop on Resources for African Indigenous Languages (RAIL 2023)

This paper introduces two multilingual government themed corpora in various South African languages. The corpora were collected by gathering South African government speeches (ZA-gov-multilingual), as well as the South African Government newspaper (Vuk’uzenzele), that are translated into all 11 South African official languages. The corpora can be used for a myriad of downstream NLP tasks. The corpora were created to allow researchers to study the language used in South African government publications, with a focus on understanding how South African government officials communicate with their constituents. In this paper we highlight the process of gathering, cleaning and making available the corpora. We create parallel sentence corpora for Neural Machine Translation tasks using Language-Agnostic Sentence Representations (LASER) embeddings. With these aligned sentences we then provide NMT benchmarks for 9 indigenous languages by fine-tuning massively multilingual pre-trained language model.

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MasakhaPOS: Part-of-Speech Tagging for Typologically Diverse African languages
Cheikh M. Bamba Dione | David Ifeoluwa Adelani | Peter Nabende | Jesujoba Alabi | Thapelo Sindane | Happy Buzaaba | Shamsuddeen Hassan Muhammad | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Perez Ogayo | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Catherine Gitau | Derguene Mbaye | Jonathan Mukiibi | Blessing Sibanda | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Andiswa Bukula | Rooweither Mabuya | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Fatoumata Ouoba Kabore | Amelia Taylor | Godson Kalipe | Tebogo Macucwa | Vukosi Marivate | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Mboning Tchiaze Elvis | Ikechukwu Onyenwe | Gratien Atindogbe | Tolulope Adelani | Idris Akinade | Olanrewaju Samuel | Marien Nahimana | Théogène Musabeyezu | Emile Niyomutabazi | Ester Chimhenga | Kudzai Gotosa | Patrick Mizha | Apelete Agbolo | Seydou Traore | Chinedu Uchechukwu | Aliyu Yusuf | Muhammad Abdullahi | Dietrich Klakow
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

In this paper, we present AfricaPOS, the largest part-of-speech (POS) dataset for 20 typologically diverse African languages. We discuss the challenges in annotating POS for these languages using the universal dependencies (UD) guidelines. We conducted extensive POS baseline experiments using both conditional random field and several multilingual pre-trained language models. We applied various cross-lingual transfer models trained with data available in the UD. Evaluating on the AfricaPOS dataset, we show that choosing the best transfer language(s) in both single-source and multi-source setups greatly improves the POS tagging performance of the target languages, in particular when combined with parameter-fine-tuning methods. Crucially, transferring knowledge from a language that matches the language family and morphosyntactic properties seems to be more effective for POS tagging in unseen languages.


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Findings of the WMT’22 Shared Task on Large-Scale Machine Translation Evaluation for African Languages
David Adelani | Md Mahfuz Ibn Alam | Antonios Anastasopoulos | Akshita Bhagia | Marta R. Costa-jussà | Jesse Dodge | Fahim Faisal | Christian Federmann | Natalia Fedorova | Francisco Guzmán | Sergey Koshelev | Jean Maillard | Vukosi Marivate | Jonathan Mbuya | Alexandre Mourachko | Safiyyah Saleem | Holger Schwenk | Guillaume Wenzek
Proceedings of the Seventh Conference on Machine Translation (WMT)

We present the results of the WMT’22 SharedTask on Large-Scale Machine Translation Evaluation for African Languages. The shared taskincluded both a data and a systems track, alongwith additional innovations, such as a focus onAfrican languages and extensive human evaluation of submitted systems. We received 14system submissions from 8 teams, as well as6 data track contributions. We report a largeprogress in the quality of translation for Africanlanguages since the last iteration of this sharedtask: there is an increase of about 7.5 BLEUpoints across 72 language pairs, and the average BLEU scores went from 15.09 to 22.60.

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LiSTra Automatic Speech Translation: English to Lingala Case Study
Salomon Kabongo Kabenamualu | Vukosi Marivate | Herman Kamper
Proceedings of the Workshop on Dataset Creation for Lower-Resourced Languages within the 13th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

In recent years there has been great interest in addressing the data scarcity of African languages and providing baseline models for different Natural Language Processing tasks (Orife et al., 2020). Several initiatives (Nekoto et al., 2020) on the continent uses the Bible as a data source to provide proof of concept for some NLP tasks. In this work, we present the Lingala Speech Translation (LiSTra) dataset, release a full pipeline for the construction of such dataset in other languages, and report baselines using both the traditional cascade approach (Automatic Speech Recognition - Machine Translation), and a revolutionary transformer based End-2-End architecture (Liu et al., 2020) with a custom interactive attention that allows information sharing between the recognition decoder and the translation decoder.

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MasakhaNER 2.0: Africa-centric Transfer Learning for Named Entity Recognition
David Adelani | Graham Neubig | Sebastian Ruder | Shruti Rijhwani | Michael Beukman | Chester Palen-Michel | Constantine Lignos | Jesujoba Alabi | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Peter Nabende | Cheikh M. Bamba Dione | Andiswa Bukula | Rooweither Mabuya | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Blessing Sibanda | Happy Buzaaba | Jonathan Mukiibi | Godson Kalipe | Derguene Mbaye | Amelia Taylor | Fatoumata Kabore | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Anuoluwapo Aremu | Perez Ogayo | Catherine Gitau | Edwin Munkoh-Buabeng | Victoire Memdjokam Koagne | Allahsera Auguste Tapo | Tebogo Macucwa | Vukosi Marivate | Mboning Tchiaze Elvis | Tajuddeen Gwadabe | Tosin Adewumi | Orevaoghene Ahia | Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

African languages are spoken by over a billion people, but they are under-represented in NLP research and development. Multiple challenges exist, including the limited availability of annotated training and evaluation datasets as well as the lack of understanding of which settings, languages, and recently proposed methods like cross-lingual transfer will be effective. In this paper, we aim to move towards solutions for these challenges, focusing on the task of named entity recognition (NER). We present the creation of the largest to-date human-annotated NER dataset for 20 African languages. We study the behaviour of state-of-the-art cross-lingual transfer methods in an Africa-centric setting, empirically demonstrating that the choice of source transfer language significantly affects performance. While much previous work defaults to using English as the source language, our results show that choosing the best transfer language improves zero-shot F1 scores by an average of 14% over 20 languages as compared to using English.


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Practical Approach on Implementation of WordNets for South African Languages
Tshephisho Joseph Sefara | Tumisho Billson Mokgonyane | Vukosi Marivate
Proceedings of the 11th Global Wordnet Conference

This paper proposes the implementation of WordNets for five South African languages, namely, Sepedi, Setswana, Tshivenda, isiZulu and isiXhosa to be added to open multilingual WordNets (OMW) on natural language toolkit (NLTK). The African WordNets are converted from Princeton WordNet (PWN) 2.0 to 3.0 to match the synsets in PWN 3.0. After conversion, there were 7157, 11972, 1288, 6380, and 9460 lemmas for Sepedi, Setswana, Tshivenda, isiZulu and isiX- hosa respectively. Setswana, isiXhosa, Sepedi contains more lemmas compared to 8 languages in OMW and isiZulu contains more lemmas compared to 7 languages in OMW. A library has been published for continuous development of African WordNets in OMW using NLTK.


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Investigating an Approach for Low Resource Language Dataset Creation, Curation and Classification: Setswana and Sepedi
Vukosi Marivate | Tshephisho Sefara | Vongani Chabalala | Keamogetswe Makhaya | Tumisho Mokgonyane | Rethabile Mokoena | Abiodun Modupe
Proceedings of the first workshop on Resources for African Indigenous Languages

The recent advances in Natural Language Processing have only been a boon for well represented languages, negating research in lesser known global languages. This is in part due to the availability of curated data and research resources. One of the current challenges concerning low-resourced languages are clear guidelines on the collection, curation and preparation of datasets for different use-cases. In this work, we take on the task of creating two datasets that are focused on news headlines (i.e short text) for Setswana and Sepedi and the creation of a news topic classification task from these datasets. In this study, we document our work, propose baselines for classification, and investigate an approach on data augmentation better suited to low-resourced languages in order to improve the performance of the classifiers.

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Participatory Research for Low-resourced Machine Translation: A Case Study in African Languages
Wilhelmina Nekoto | Vukosi Marivate | Tshinondiwa Matsila | Timi Fasubaa | Taiwo Fagbohungbe | Solomon Oluwole Akinola | Shamsuddeen Muhammad | Salomon Kabongo Kabenamualu | Salomey Osei | Freshia Sackey | Rubungo Andre Niyongabo | Ricky Macharm | Perez Ogayo | Orevaoghene Ahia | Musie Meressa Berhe | Mofetoluwa Adeyemi | Masabata Mokgesi-Selinga | Lawrence Okegbemi | Laura Martinus | Kolawole Tajudeen | Kevin Degila | Kelechi Ogueji | Kathleen Siminyu | Julia Kreutzer | Jason Webster | Jamiil Toure Ali | Jade Abbott | Iroro Orife | Ignatius Ezeani | Idris Abdulkadir Dangana | Herman Kamper | Hady Elsahar | Goodness Duru | Ghollah Kioko | Murhabazi Espoir | Elan van Biljon | Daniel Whitenack | Christopher Onyefuluchi | Chris Chinenye Emezue | Bonaventure F. P. Dossou | Blessing Sibanda | Blessing Bassey | Ayodele Olabiyi | Arshath Ramkilowan | Alp Öktem | Adewale Akinfaderin | Abdallah Bashir
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2020

Research in NLP lacks geographic diversity, and the question of how NLP can be scaled to low-resourced languages has not yet been adequately solved. ‘Low-resourced’-ness is a complex problem going beyond data availability and reflects systemic problems in society. In this paper, we focus on the task of Machine Translation (MT), that plays a crucial role for information accessibility and communication worldwide. Despite immense improvements in MT over the past decade, MT is centered around a few high-resourced languages. As MT researchers cannot solve the problem of low-resourcedness alone, we propose participatory research as a means to involve all necessary agents required in the MT development process. We demonstrate the feasibility and scalability of participatory research with a case study on MT for African languages. Its implementation leads to a collection of novel translation datasets, MT benchmarks for over 30 languages, with human evaluations for a third of them, and enables participants without formal training to make a unique scientific contribution. Benchmarks, models, data, code, and evaluation results are released at