Google Research

POS Tagging for Improving Code-Switching Identification in Arabic

  • Mohammed Attia
  • Ahmed Abdelali
  • Ali Elkahky
  • Hamdy Mubarak
  • Kareem Darwish
  • Younes Samih
Workshop on Arabic Natural Language Processing -- ACL 2019, Florence, Italy (2019)


When speakers code-switch between their native language and a second language or language variant, they follow a syntactic pattern where words and phrases from the embedded language are inserted into the matrix language. This paper explores the possibility of utilizing this pattern in improving code-switching identification between Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Egyptian Arabic (EA). We try to answer the question of how strong is the POS signal in word-level code-switching identification. We build a deep learning model enriched with linguistic features (including POS tags) that outperforms the state-of-the-art results by 1.9% on the development set and 1.0% on the test set. We also show that in intra-sentential code-switching, the selection of lexical items is constrained by POS categories, where function words tend to come more often from the dialectal language while the majority of content words come from the standard language.

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