Christian Khairallah (Cayralat)
I'm currently a Speech Technology Scientist as part of the Machine Translation team at AppTek! Joined recently and I am very excited.
Just before that, I was a full-time research assistant at the Computational Approaches to Modeling Language (CAMeL) Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi, under the supervision of Prof. Nizar Habash. Currently I am affiliated to NYUAD as a researcher with the same lab [page].
I graduated with distinction in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut (AUB) with a minor in English Language, and with a double Master of Science in Computational Linguistics from Charles University in Prague and Saarland University in Germany, where I attended both as part of the Language and Communication Technologies (LCT) Erasmus Mundus Master's program.
During my Master's, I focused on processing spontaneous orthography in Dialectal Arabic, which is the result of it lacking any standard orthography, working on tasks such as morphological analysis and segmentation, character-level neural machine translation, spelling correction, and taxonomy and dataset creation.
On the personal level, I am a big language enthusiast, and I am currently especially interested in the history of Semitic languages, and more specifically in the Arabic branch and how current variants came to co-exist with Classical Arabic in a diglossic relationship. I am natively fluent in Arabic, French, and English, beginner-level in German, and I am currently learning Italian. In my spare time, I am an avid mélomane and I am interested in the history of music in general, I mostly go hiking, cycle, swim, play ping pong, practice yoga, cook, and father a crew of insufferable indoor plants.
In my work, I focused on computational approaches aiming to reconcile the disparity between Modern Standard Arabic and Dialectal Arabic, both in terms of resource creation and processing tools. In addition to leveraging the latest computational methods to solve current NLP problems, I took a keen interest in dialectal and standard Arabic morphology and syntax over the span of two years. Here are the things I worked on (or am still involved in):
Camel Morph Project
Maintained the Camel Morph repository which is a project aiming to build large open-source morphological models for Arabic and its dialects across many genres and domains [github].
Co-supervised final-year capstone students on extracting dialectal Arabic lexicons in a semi-supervised way.
Worked on morphological analyzers/generators for Modern Standard Arabic, Egyptian, Gulf, Levantine and Tunisian Arabic.
Worked on updating the Conventional Orthography for Dialectal Arabic (CODA*) guidelines [paper]
Morphotactic Modeling in an Open-source Multi-dialectal Arabic Morphological Analyzer and Generator
Nizar Habash, Reham Marzouk, Christian Khairallah, Salam Khalifa
In Proceedings of the Nineteenth SIGMORPHON Workshop co-located with NAACL (Seattle, 2022)