A grapheme-based approach to accent restoration in Gĩkũyũ

TitleA grapheme-based approach to accent restoration in Gĩkũyũ
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWagacha, Peter W., De Pauw Guy, and Githinji P. W.
BooktitleProceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation
DateMay, 2006
LocationGenoa, Italy
Keywordsdiacritics, encoding, Gĩkũyũ, machine learning

The orthography of Gĩkũyũ includes a number of accented characters to represent the entire vowel system. These characters are however not readily available on standard computer keyboards and are usually represented as the nearest available character. This can render reading and understanding written texts more difficult. This paper describes a system that is able to automatically place these accents in Gĩkũyũ text on the basis of local graphemic context. This approach avoids the need for an extensive digital lexicon, typically not available for resource-scarce languages. Using an extended trigram based approach, the experiments show that this method can achieve a very high accuracy even with a limited amount of digitally available textual data. The experiments on Gĩkũyũ are contrasted wit experiments on French, German and Dutch.

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