Appel: LLREC 2010 Workshop, LRs and HLT for Semitic Languages

Thierry Hamon thierry.hamon at UNIV-PARIS13.FR
Tue Jan 26 21:06:53 UTC 2010

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 16:42:00 +0100
From: info at
Message-ID: <4B5F0D48.9030508 at>

[apologies for cross-postings]

*Workshop on Language Resources (LRs) and Human Language Technologies 
(HLT) for Semitic Languages - Status, Updates, and Prospects
To be held in conjunction with the 7th International Language
Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2010)

*17 May 2010, Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valetta, Malta*

*Deadline for submission: 26 February 2010


The Semitic family includes languages and dialects spoken by a large
number of native speakers (around 300 million). Prominent members of
this family are Arabic (and its varieties), Hebrew, Amharic, Tigrinya,
Aramaic, Maltese and Syriac. Their shared ancestry is apparent through
pervasive cognate sharing, a rich and productive pattern-based
morphology, and similar syntactic constructions.  In addition, there
are several languages which are used in the same geographic area such
as Amazigh or Coptic, which, while not Semitic, have common features
with Semitic languages, such as borrowed vocabulary.

The recent surge in computational work for processing Semitic
languages, particularly Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Modern Hebrew
(MH), has brought modest improvements in terms of actual empirical
results for various language processing components (e.g.,
morphological analyzers, parsers, named entity recognizers, audio
transcriptions, etc.).  Apparently, reusing existing approaches
developed for English or French for processing Semitic language
text/speech, e.g., Arabic parsing is not as straightforward as
initially thought. Apart from the limited availability of suitable
language resources, there is increasing evidence that Semitic
languages demand modeling approaches and annotations that deviate from
those found suitable for English/French.  Issues such as the
pattern-based morphology, the frequently head-initial syntactic
structure, the importance of the interface between morphology and
syntax, and the difference between spoken and written forms
(especially in Colloquial Arabic(s)) exemplify the kind of challenges
that may arise when processing Semitic languages. For language
technologies, such as information retrieval and machine translation,
these challenges are compounded by sparse data and often result in
poorer performance than for other languages.

This Workshop intends to follow on topics of paramount importance for
Semitic-language NLP that were discussed at previous events (LREC,
MEDAR/NEMLAR Conferences, the workshops of the ACL Special Interest
Group for Semitic languages, etc.) and which are worth revisiting.

The workshop will bring together people who are actively involved in
Semitic language processing in a mono- or cross/multilingual context,
and give them an opportunity to update the community through reports
on completed or ongoing work as well as on the availability of LRs,
evaluation protocols and campaigns, products and core technologies (in
particular open source ones). We also invite authors to address other
languages spoken in the Semitic language area (languages such as
Amazigh, Coptic, etc.).  This should enable participants to develop a
common view on where we stand and to foster the discussion of the
future of this research area.  Particular attention will be paid to
activities involving technologies such as Machine Translation and
Cross-Lingual Information Retrieval/Extraction, Summarization,
etc. Evaluation methodologies and resources for evaluation of HLT will
be also a main focus.
We expect to elaborate on the HLT state of the art, identify problems
of common interest, and debate on a potential roadmap for the Semitic
languages. Issues related to sharing of resources, tools, standards,
sharing and dissemination of information and expertise, adoption of
current best practices, setting up joint projects and technology
transfer mechanisms will be an important part of the workshop.

Topics of Interest

This full-day workshop is not intended to be a mini-conference, but as
a real workshop aiming at concrete results that should clarify the
situation of Semitic languages with respect to Language Resources and
Evaluation. We expect to launch at least two evaluation campaigns:
Comparative evaluation of Morphology taggers and Named Entities

Among the many issues to be addressed, below follow a few suggestions:

? Issues in the design, the acquisition, creation, management,
  access, distribution, use of Language Resources, in particular in a
  bilingual/multilingual setting (Standard Arabic, Hebrew, Colloquial
  Arabic, Amazigh, Coptic, Maltese, etc.)

? Impact on LR collections/processing and NLP of the crucial issues
  related to "code switching" between different dialects and languages

? Specific issues related to the above-mentioned languages such as the
  role of morphology, named entities, corpus alignment, etc.

? Multilinguality issues including relationship between Colloquial and
  Standard Arabic

? Exploitation of LR in different types of applications

? Industrial LR requirements and community's response

? Benchmarking of systems and products; resources for benchmarking and
  evaluation for written and spoken language processing;

? Focus on some key technologies such as MT (all approaches e.g.
  Statistical, Example-Based, etc.), Information Retrieval, Speech
  Recognition, Spoken Documents Retrieval, CLIR, Question-Answering,
  Summarization, etc.

? Local, regional, and international activities and projects and
  needs, possibilities, forms, initiatives of/for regional and
  international cooperation.

We invite submissions on computational approaches to processing
text/speech in all Semitic and Semitic-area languages. The call is
open for all kinds of computational work, e.g., work on computational
linguistic processing components (e.g., analyzers, taggers, parsers),
on state-of-the-art NLP applications and systems, on leveraging
resource and tool creation for the Semitic language family, and on
using computational tools to gain new linguistic insight. We
especially welcome submissions on work that crosses individual
language boundaries, heightens awareness amongst Semitic-language
researchers of shared challenges and breakthroughs, and highlights
issues and solutions common to any subset of the Semitic languages

Workshop general chair:  
Khalid Choukri, Choukri at, ELRA/ELDA, Paris, France

Workshop co-chairs:  
Owen Rambow, Columbia University, New York, USA 
Bente Maegaard , University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Ibrahim A. Al-Kharashi, Computer and Electronics Research Institute, 
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia

Organizing Committee information
The Organizing, Program, and the Scientific Committees will be listed
on the web pages.

Important Dates

Deadline for abstract submissions:    26 February 2010
Notification of acceptance:        15 March 2010
Final version of accepted paper:    11 April 2010
Workshop full-day:            17 May 2010

Submission Details

Submissions should comply with LREC standards (including the LREC Map
initiative) and must be in English. Abstracts for workshop
contributions should not exceed Four A4 pages (excluding
references). An additional title page should state: the title;
author(s); affiliation(s); and contact author's e-mail address, as
well as postal address, telephone and fax numbers.

Submission will use the LREC START facility:
Expected deadline is 26 February 2010.

Submitted papers will be judged based on relevance to the workshop
aims, as well as the novelty of the idea, technical quality, clarity
of presentation, and expected impact on future research within the
area of focus.

Registration to LREC'2010 will be required for participation, so
potential participants are invited to refer to the main conference
website for all details not covered in the present call

Formatting instructions for the final full version of papers will be
sent to authors after notification of acceptance and will be identical
to LREC main conference instructions.

/When submitting a paper through the START page, authors will be
kindly asked to provide relevant information about the resources that
have been used for the work described in their paper or that are the
outcome of their research. For further information on this new
initiative, please refer to

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