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Improving Yorùbá Diacritic Restoration

by   Iroro Orife, et al.
Universität Saarland
Carnegie Mellon University
berkeley college

Yorùbá is a widely spoken West African language with a writing system rich in orthographic and tonal diacritics. They provide morphological information, are crucial for lexical disambiguation, pronunciation and are vital for any computational Speech or Natural Language Processing tasks. However diacritic marks are commonly excluded from electronic texts due to limited device and application support as well as general education on proper usage. We report on recent efforts at dataset cultivation. By aggregating and improving disparate texts from the web and various personal libraries, we were able to significantly grow our clean Yorùbá dataset from a majority Bibilical text corpora with three sources to millions of tokens from over a dozen sources. We evaluate updated diacritic restoration models on a new, general purpose, public-domain Yorùbá evaluation dataset of modern journalistic news text, selected to be multi-purpose and reflecting contemporary usage. All pre-trained models, datasets and source-code have been released as an open-source project to advance efforts on Yorùbá language technology.


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