Aseel Addawood


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Tracking And Understanding Public Reaction During COVID-19: Saudi Arabia As A Use Case
Aseel Addawood | Alhanouf Alsuwailem | Ali Alohali | Dalal Alajaji | Mashail Alturki | Jaida Alsuhaibani | Fawziah Aljabli
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on NLP for COVID-19 (Part 2) at EMNLP 2020

The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has a huge impact on economies and societies around the world. While governments are taking extreme measures to reduce the spread of the virus, people are getting affected by these new measures. With restrictions like lockdown and social distancing, it became important to understand the emotional response of the public towards the pandemic. In this paper, we study the reaction of Saudi Arabia citizens towards the pandemic. We utilize a collection of Arabic tweets that were sent during 2020, primarily through hashtags that were originated from Saudi Arabia. Our results showed that people had kept a positive reaction towards the pandemic. This positive reaction was at its highest at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and started to decline as time passes. Overall, the results showed that people were so supportive of each other through this pandemic. This research can help researchers and policymakers in understanding the emotional effect of a pandemic on societies.


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Constrained Sequence-to-sequence Semitic Root Extraction for Enriching Word Embeddings
Ahmed El-Kishky | Xingyu Fu | Aseel Addawood | Nahil Sobh | Clare Voss | Jiawei Han
Proceedings of the Fourth Arabic Natural Language Processing Workshop

In this paper, we tackle the problem of “root extraction” from words in the Semitic language family. A challenge in applying natural language processing techniques to these languages is the data sparsity problem that arises from their rich internal morphology, where the substructure is inherently non-concatenative and morphemes are interdigitated in word formation. While previous automated methods have relied on human-curated rules or multiclass classification, they have not fully leveraged the various combinations of regular, sequential concatenative morphology within the words and the internal interleaving within templatic stems of roots and patterns. To address this, we propose a constrained sequence-to-sequence root extraction method. Experimental results show our constrained model outperforms a variety of methods at root extraction. Furthermore, by enriching word embeddings with resulting decompositions, we show improved results on word analogy, word similarity, and language modeling tasks.


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Telling Apart Tweets Associated with Controversial versus Non-Controversial Topics
Aseel Addawood | Rezvaneh Rezapour | Omid Abdar | Jana Diesner
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on NLP and Computational Social Science

In this paper, we evaluate the predictability of tweets associated with controversial versus non-controversial topics. As a first step, we crowd-sourced the scoring of a predefined set of topics on a Likert scale from non-controversial to controversial. Our feature set entails and goes beyond sentiment features, e.g., by leveraging empathic language and other features that have been previously used but are new for this particular study. We find focusing on the structural characteristics of tweets to be beneficial for this task. Using a combination of emphatic, language-specific, and Twitter-specific features for supervised learning resulted in 87% accuracy (F1) for cross-validation of the training set and 63.4% accuracy when using the test set. Our analysis shows that features specific to Twitter or social media, in general, are more prevalent in tweets on controversial topics than in non-controversial ones. To test the premise of the paper, we conducted two additional sets of experiments, which led to mixed results. This finding will inform our future investigations into the relationship between language use on social media and the perceived controversiality of topics.


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“What Is Your Evidence?” A Study of Controversial Topics on Social Media
Aseel Addawood | Masooda Bashir
Proceedings of the Third Workshop on Argument Mining (ArgMining2016)