Arabic Text Analysis Course taught by CAMeL Lab at the Winter Institute for Digital Humanities

Jan 24, 2020

NYU Abu Dhabi’s inaugural Winter Institute in Digital Humanities (WIDH 2020) concluded last Wednesday after four intense days of lectures and hands-on tutorial sessions. With a focus on bridging technology and the humanities, CAMeL Lab was invited to teach a short course on “Text Analysis of Arabic” (Slides, Github). The course introduced participants to language-specific methods needed to explore Arabic texts computationally.  The course included a number of tools and methods for Arabic language processing tasks such as manual annotation, morphological analysis, syntactic parsing and dialectal identification.

The first two days of the course were spent on introductory lectures and hands-on exercises designed to guide participants to think computationally and discover the realm of possibilities that computational tools can uncover for research in the humanities.  Participants were also encouraged to bring in their own work into the classroom, turning the last two days of the institute into collaborative sessions in which students were able to workshop challenges specific to their own projects and receive technical help and guidance from CAMeL Lab researchers: Nizar Habash, Salam Khalifa, Dima Taji, Ossama Obeid, Go Inoue, Bashar Alhafni, and Fadhl Eryani.

The course was not only helpful to the students, but helped instructors think about the types of questions researchers in the humanities ask and the challenges they face.  In a thank you e-mail marking the end of the course, CAMeL Lab director Prof. Nizar Habash wrote “The students [were] amazing and so much fun to work with.  My team and I learned so much from [their] questions and are inspired by hearing about [their] research projects.”

Prof. Habash also presented a talk as part of the Right-to-Left Unconference in WIDH 2020 on "Revisiting Nuun: A solution to Arabic display from 20 years ago" (Slides)