Spelling Correction for Dialectal Arabic Dictionary Lookup

C. Anton Rytting, David M. Zajic, Paul Rodrigues, Sarah C. Wayland, Christian Hettick, Tim Buckwalter, Charles C. Blake
2011 ACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing  
We describe a new Arabic spelling correction system which is intended for use with electronic dictionary search by learners of Arabic. Unlike other spelling correction systems, this system does not depend on a corpus of attested student errors but on student-and teacher-generated ratings of confusable pairs of phonemes or letters. Separate error modules for keyboard mistypings, phonetic confusions, and dialectal confusions are combined to create a weighted finite-state transducer that
more » ... the likelihood that an input string could correspond to each citation form in a dictionary of Iraqi Arabic. Results are ranked by the estimated likelihood that a citation form could be misheard, mistyped, or mistranscribed for the input given by the user. To evaluate the system, we developed a noisy-channel model trained on students' speech errors and use it to perturb citation forms from a dictionary. We compare our system to a baseline based on Levenshtein distance and find that, when evaluated on single-error queries, our system performs 28% better than the baseline (overall MRR) and is twice as good at returning the correct dictionary form as the top-ranked result. We believe this to be the first spelling correction system designed for a spoken, colloquial dialect of Arabic. 1 A table of SATTS equivalents can be found at
doi:10.1145/1929908.1929911 fatcat:2ndc6rch5rb3dgpla7scjdlgku