Special Interest Group: Under-resourced Languages (SIGUL)

Created in April 2017, SIGUL is a joint Special Interest Group of the ELRA Language Resources Association (ELRA) and of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA).

In October 2016, ELRA had setup the Workgroup on Less-Resourced Languages (LRL), convened by Claudia Soria, with the mission to support the maintenance of linguistic diversity through technology and ICT. Since Language Resources and technologies represent a key component for any language-based technology, this special interest group intends to focus on the particular needs and requirements of less-resourced languages.

Through its participation in the Special Interest Group on Under-resourced Languages, ELRA reasserts its active involvement in contributing to enhance the support for the languages with little or no technological support.

To join SIGUL, please contact Sakriani Sakti (NAIST, Nara, Japan) or Maite Melero (Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain).

Register to SIGUL mailing-list: https://bit.ly/2PYhM66


SIGUL intends to bring together a number of professionals involved in the development of language resources and technologies for under-resourced languages. Its main objective is to build a community that not only supports linguistic diversity through technology and ICT but also commits to increase the lesser-resourced languages (regional, minority, or endangered) chances to survive the digital world through language and speech technology.


Porting a NLP system (for instance a speech recognition system or a syntactic parser) to a lesser-resourced language requires techniques that go far beyond the basic re-training of the models.
Indeed, processing a new language often leads to new challenges (special phonetic and phonological systems, word segmentation problems, fuzzy grammatical structure, unwritten language, etc.). The lack of resources requires, on its side, innovative data collection methodologies (via community sourcing for instance) or models for which information is shared between languages (e.g. multilingual acoustic models) or even approaches that do not need annotated data (e.g. zero-resource or zero-shot methods). In addition, some social and cultural aspects related to the context of the targeted language bring additional problems: languages with many dialects in different regions, code-switching phenomena, massive presence of non-native speakers. It is also important to bridge the gap between language experts, native speakers and technology experts. Finally, digital humanities offer new opportunities to work on ancient languages which are inherently under-resourced. Therefore, the main goal of this SIG will be to increase interaction between researchers interested in all the above topics.

  • Chair and ISCA liaison representative: Sakriani Sakti (NAIST, Nara, Japan)
  • Co-chair and ELRA liaison representative: Claudia Soria (CNR-ILC, Pisa, Italy)
  • Secretary: Maite Melero (Barcelona Supercomputing Center, Spain)
  • Gilles Adda, LIMSI-CNRS
  • Victoria Arranz, ELRA/ELDA
  • Laurent Besacier, LIG-IMAG
  • Khalid Choukri, ELRA/ELDA
  • Thierry Declerck, DFKI
  • Vera Ferreira, CIDLES
  • Mikel Forcada, Universitat d’Alacant
  • John Judge, ADAPT DCU
  • Valérie Mapelli, ELRA/ELDA
  • Yohei Murakami, Kyoto University
  • Joseph Mariani, LIMSI-CNRS
  • Sakriani Sakti, NAIST
  • Claudia Soria, ILC-CNR
International Advisory Group
  • Tunde Adegbola, African Languages Technology Initiative, Nigeria
  • Shyam Agrawal, KIIT Group of Colleges, India
  • Antti Arppe, University of Alberta, Canada
  • Steven Bird,  Charles Darwin University, Australia
  • Pushpak Bhattacharyya, IIT Bombay, India
  • Chris Cieri, LDC, USA
  • Dafydd Gibbon, Bielefeld University, Germany
  • Andras Kornai, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary
  • Lori Levin, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
  • Girish Nath Jha, JNU, India
  • Guy de Pauw, Textgain, Belgium
  • Laurette Pretorius, University of South Africa, South Africa
  • Kevin Scannell, Saint Louis University, Missouri, USA
  • Francis Tyers, UiT Norgga árktalaš universitehta, Norway

Reports on the SIGUL activities are available below: