Corpus-Based Diacritic Restoration for South Slavic Languages

In computer-mediated communication, Latin-based scripts users often omit diacritics when writing. Such text is typically easily understandable to humans but very difficult for computational processing because many words become ambiguous or unknown. Letter-level approaches to diacritic restoration generalise better and do not require a lot of training data but word-level approaches tend to yield better results. However, they typically rely on a lexicon which is an expensive resource, not covering non-standard forms, and often not available for less-resourced languages. In this paper we present diacritic restoration models that are trained on easy-to-acquire corpora. We test three different types of corpora (Wikipedia, general web, Twitter) for three South Slavic languages (Croatian, Serbian and Slovene) and evaluate them on two types of text: standard (Wikipedia) and non-standard (Twitter). The proposed approach considerably outperforms charlifter, so far the only open source tool available for this task. We make the best performing systems freely available.

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