Major Abu Dhabi international conference recommends way forward for enhanced role of Arabic in computational linguistics
Abu Dhabi on October 31, 2022
The “Computational Linguistics and the Arabic Language: Perceptions, Aspirations and Challenges” conference organized by the Center of Excellence in Arabic Language at Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities concluded successfully in Abu Dhabi, putting forth key recommendations to enhance role of the Arabic language in the field of computational linguistics.
The international conference, participated in by researchers and academics from around the world, was organized as part of the university’s efforts to develop the Arabic language, enhance the institution’s global reputation and coordinate research efforts that will be further benefit the advancement of Arabic.
The recommendations focused on strengthening the role of the Arabic language to keep pace with the rapid research and developments in the field of advanced computational linguistics through the development of technical platforms and applications as well as building partnerships with global and local entities to utilize technology in a way that will be beneficial to the Arabic language.
In addition, conference attendees proposed conceptualizing a journal on computational linguistics and applied linguistics in Arabic to be spearheaded by the Center of Excellence in Arabic Language; as well as initiating collaborative projects in the computerization of the language, sponsoring authorship and publications of articles in the field of computational linguistics, and forming teams to conduct solid research published in prestigious, peer-reviewed publications.
Dr. Khaled Al Dhaheri, chancellor of the university, stressed that the conference achieved great success in accomplishing its objectives, acknowledging the invaluable inputs and insights of renowned international scholars and experts in Arabic language who participated in the event. “The recommendations that the conference came out with will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the future of the Arabic language in the field of computational linguistics and in digital transformation in general; as well as provide a good reference and benchmark for scholars and researchers. We at the university will be very keen to follow up on the recommendations and ensure their implementation on the ground based on the action plans proposed by the conference attendees to pave the way for a better future for the Arabic language and its usage in smart solutions, information technology and modern science.”
He also credited the UAE’s leaders for strengthening the status of the Arabic language to be on par with international languages in terms of influence and usage as well as in its ability to keep pace with the accelerating developments in linguistics and technology.
The conference featured presentations from distinguished researchers and scholars who reviewed the latest academic and applied studies and research in teaching Arabic using modern software and technologies as well as explored prospects for research and application in the field of linguistics. In addition, ideas were presented on the latest methodologies and techniques for teaching Arabic to non-native speakers, identifying the challenges related to employing technology in teaching Arabic, facilitating exchanges between specialists and researchers in computational linguistics Arabic language throughout the Arab world and the rest of the international community, as well as creating practical solutions that will further advance the growth and development of the Arabic language.
On the second day of the conference, 18 research papers were submitted by 20 researchers from a number of countries. Graduate students from Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities, under the supervision of Dr. Haitham Zeinhom, presented projects related to automated language processing at the university.
The first session began with an honorary speech by Dr. Risa Tokunaga, a visiting and participating professor at the Research Institute of Ancient Civilizations and Cultural Resources at Kanazawa University in Japan, during which a variety of topics were discussed, including applied studies of the Qur’an, the language processing and applications that serve the Islamic Holy Book, as well as Hosni’s scientific paper “LEXICOLSEM”, exploring the multi-relationship analysis model and semantics for extracting the Quranic concept. It was moderated by Prof. Dr. Nizar Qabilat, Head of the Master’s Programs Department at Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities.
During the session, Iraqi researcher Akram Zaki presented a paper titled “Thematic classification of the Arabic text using unbalanced classification: the topics of the Holy Quran as a model.” From Saudi Arabia, Dr. Afrah Al-Tamimi presented a scientific paper exploring the performance of the improved automated Tamimi model of grammatical marking on a surah from the Qur’an. And from Tunisia, Sundus Krona shared insights from his research “Problems of automatic processing of the Arabic language and the prospects for its development, the Arabic tree bank as a model.”
The second session, which was moderated by Dr. Haitham Zeinhom, associate professor at the university, opened with a presentation from Dr. Al-Moamen Abdullah, Professor of Japanese Studies and Comparative Linguistics, Tokai University, Japan on “Machine translation scandals: an applied study on selected texts”. This was followed by a presentation from Professor Afaf Batayneh titled “Google translation from English to Arabic: its advantages and shortcomings and strategies for its improvement”, as well as a presentation on “The phonemes of the Arabic language and the extraction of its descriptors automatically in order to detect pronunciation errors using deep learning” by Ms. Ilham Mohamed and Dr. Omaima El Dakkak from Syria.
The third session focused on education and technology and was moderated by Prof. Dr. Abdullah Al-Shdeifat from Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities, during which Mohammed Al-Ghalidh from Egypt presented a paper titled “Arabic Voices and their Teaching to Non-Native Speakers Application Arabic Phonetics a Model on Mobile Phones iPhone/iPad Presentation and Analysis”. Professor Salem Al-Mandhari from Jordan then presented a paper titled “Technical Standards in Building Arabic Language Teaching Platforms (Al-Khalil Platform as a Model)”.
The closing session of the conference was moderated by Dr. Moza Al-Kaabi, Director of the Center for Excellence in Arabic Language at the university, which was followed by a presentation by Dr. Badriya Al-Enezi from Saudi Arabia titled: “Preparing a Digital Dictionary for Verbal Conjugations, a Suggested Idea” and another paper by Dr. Shaiq Abdel Rahman from Morocco titled “Quiet Expressions in Language” Arabic from linguistic description to automated processing.”
Professors of Mohamed Bin Zayed University for Humanities also made valuable contributions to the conference, by presenting a number of scientific papers that included: “Digitizing the Arabic language and the challenges of engaging in the world of artificial intelligence for a digital revolution in Arabic” by Professor Belkasim Al-Jatari; “A general framework of reference for the employment of technology in teaching and learning Arabic” by Professor Issa Al-Hammadi; “Computational characterization of Arabic for non-native speakers” by Professor Muhammad Al-Omeirini; “Computer Morphological Addressing in the Arabic Language” by Dr. Abdullah Al-Shdeifat; “Artificial Intelligence Techniques in Refining Arabic Language Skill for Speakers: An Applied Study” by Dr. Muhammad Al-Sayed; “Arabic Morphological Representations and their Teaching by Computer in the Light of an Analysis of Applied Text Examples” by Professor Hossam El-Din Samir; and “Using digital technology and multimedia in the service of teaching Arabic and the Qur’an for students with special needs” by Professor Fadi Mahmoud.