Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, 2011, 4, 522-526
doi:10.4236/jsea.2011.49060 Published Online September 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSEA
The Enhancement of Arabic Stemming by Using
Light Stemming and Dictionary-Based Stemming
Yasir Alhanini, Mohd Juzaiddin Ab Aziz
School of Computer Science, Faculty of Information Science and Technology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Malaysia.
Received August 9th, 2011; revised September 2nd, 2011; accepted September 9th, 2011.
Word stemming is one of the most important factors that affect the performance of many natural language processing
applications such as part of speech tagging, syntactic parsing, machine translation system and information retrieval
systems. Computational stemming is an urgent problem for Arabic Natural Language Processing, because Arabic is a
highly inflected language. The existing stemmers have ignored the handling of multi-word expressions and identifica-
tion of Arabic names. We used the enhanced stemming for extracting the stem of Arabic words that is based on light
stemming and dictionary-based stemming approach. The en hanced stemmer includes the hand ling of multiword expres-
sions and the na med entity recogn ition. We ha ve used Arabic corpu s that consists of ten docu ments in order to evalua te
the enhanced stemmer. We reported the accuracy values for the enhanced stemmer, light stemmer, and dictionary-
based stemmer in each document. The results obtain shows that the average of accuracy in enhanced stemmer on the
corpus is 96.29%. The experimental results showed that the enhanced stemmer is better than the light stemmer and dic-
tionary-based stemmer that achieved highest accuracy values.
Keywords: Di ctionary-B ased Stemmer, Arabic Morphological Analyzer, Named Entity Recognition
1. Introduction
Word stemming is one of the most important factors that
affect the performance of many natural language proc-
essing applications such as part of speech tagging, syn-
tactic parsing, machine translation system and informa-
tion retrieval systems. In Arabic, there are two main ap-
proaches for stemming: light stemming and diction-
ary-based stemming. The light stemming is the affix re-
moval approach that refers to a process of stripping off a
small set of prefixes and/or suffixes to find the root of the
word. There are some recent works that used the light
stemming to extract the root or stem of Arabic words
[1-5]. The main disadvantage of these works is that they
ignore the identification of Arabic names that increase
the ambiguity rate of the stemmer. Although light stem-
ming can correctly generate the root or stem for many
variants of words, but it fails to find the root of many
words. For example, the broken (irregular) plurals for
nouns do not get conflated with their singular forms, and
past tense verbs do not get conflated with their present
tense forms. On the other hand, the dictionary-based
stemming is the morphological approach that depends on
set of lexicons of Arabic stems, prefixes, and suffixes to
extract the stem of words. This stemming can find the
stem of the broken (irregular) plurals for nouns and ir-
regular verbs, because the stem of these irregular words
had been entered. Many researchers shed the light on the
dictionary-based stemming to find the stem of Arabic
words [6-9]. Although works have advantages and dis-
advantages, the main problem of this stemming is that it
cannot deal with the words that are not found in the lexi-
con of stems. The dictionary-based stemming has the
ambiguity in which it may give more than stems for the
same word. The multi-word expressions are more com-
plicated expression which undergoes inflections and
lexical variation when words are being understood com-
positionally; their meaning is lost and adds to ambiguity
problem, as component may be separately ambiguous.
However, the most of existing works [8-12] do not han-
dle the multiword expression before extracting the stem
of the words. The handling of the multiword expressions
is to avoid the needless analysis of structure, and to re-
duce the stemming ambiguity and time of stemming.
2. Related Work
For Arabic word stemming, there are two main method-
The Enhancement of Arabic Stemming by Using Light Stemming and Dictionary-Based Stemming 523
ologies: the dictionary-based stemming and the light
stemming. Dictionary-based stemmers match every word
with a word on a proper digitalized dictionary, corre-
spond each word to its stem. For example, [4,13,14],
proposed three strategies for Arabic language morpholo-
gies development which depend on the level of analysis.
Firstly, it involves the analysis of Arabic at the level of
the stem, and the use of a regular concatenation. Stem is
the form least remarkably in one word, that is, without a
word uninflected, suffixes proclitics, prefixes or enclitics.
Arabic, and this is usually perfective, person, singular
verb, in the case of nouns and adjectives are in the form
of the singular indefinite. Secondly, analyzed Arabic
words consist of roots, pattern as well as concatenations.
A root is a series of three also seldom two or four char-
acters that are called root, pattern and template of vowels
or a combination of consonants and vowels with slots
and the inclusion of radicals from the root. Thirdly, ana-
lyzed Arabic words also consist of root, template and
vocalization, in addition concatenations. Reference [8]
has developed broad-coverage lexical resource to im-
prove the accuracy of their morphological analyzer. It
was constructed by analyzing 23 established Arabic lan-
guage dictionaries. This morphological analyzer refer-
ences on a detailed lists of affixes, clitics and patterns,
which were extracted from authoritative Arabic grammar
books and were then cross-checked by analyzing words
of three corpora: the Qur’an, the Corpus of Contempo-
rary Arabic, and Penn Arabic Treebank and Sawalha and
Atwell lexicon base. The morphological analyzer uses
novel algorithms that generate the correct pattern of the
words, deal with the orthographic issues of the Arabic
language and other word derivation issues, such as the
elimination or substitution of root letters, tokenize the
word into proclitics, prefixes, stem or root, suffixes and
enclitics, generate all possible vowelizations of the proc-
essed word, and assign morphological features tags for
the word’s morphemes. A light stemmer is not dictionary
dependent, for that reason it is not able to use a criterion
that an affix can be removed only if what remains is an
existing Arabic word. For example, [13] proposed to
extracted trilateral Arabic roots by provided an effective
way to removed suffix and prefix from the inflected
words. After that, match letters of roots to removed each
infixes in the patterns. In this algorithm, followed many
steps such as normalized corpus by remove stops words
and punctuation also it mach with the patterns. Although
this algorithm resolved many problems, however some
words cannot used same rules when remove Fa ف or
waw و from single prefix because it be original letter.
For example, سرﺎﻓ, ﺪﺣاو and درو. The accuracy from the
corpus about 92% by used 10582 words from 72 ab-
stracts. Furthermore, [12] performed equivalently similar
khoja stemmer without root dictionary by used Arabic
Trec-2001 collection. Taghva criticized Khoja stemmer
firstly; root of the dictionary requires maintenance to
ensure that words are newly discovered stem correctly.
An addition, replaced a weak letters such as و ي أ with و
sometimes produce a root which not related with original
words by removed part of root. Instance word تﺎﻤﻈﻨﻣ
(containers) is stemmed to ﺄﻤﻇ (Thirsty) instead of ﻢﻈﻧ.
For this algorithm defied set of diacritical mark that re-
moved by stemmer and defined some sets of patterns.
They employed four stemmers Arabic TREC collection
Composed of 383,872 news stories to compared three
approaches khoja, ISRI and light, with not stemming.
The find ISRI, khoja and light stemmers were much bet-
ter than no stemming. Also light stemmer has been a
higher precision for the higher ranked documents. The
precision for light stemmer on the shorter title queries
was 0.480; description was 0.424 and narrative 0.282.
Reference [2] proposed a new stemming algorithm which
depend on Arabic morphology and creation lemmatizer
in linguistics by assumed which lemmatization will be
more Efficiency in tokenizing Arabic document which
stemming by overcoming the stemming errors and re-
duced stemming cost by reducing unnecessary.
3. Materials and Method
This section describes the enhancement of Arabic mor-
phological analyzer that uses the light stemming and dic-
tionary-based stemming. In the enhancement make use of
hybrid method so that the light stemmer is applied to
identify the stem of the word without using Arabic stems
or roots. Despite the fact that light stemmer is efficient in
most cases, but it cannot deal with the irregular word in
Arabic. In addition, it gives the wrong stems in some
words. After applying the light stemmer for the word, the
verification is applied in order to check whether the iden-
tified stem is the real stem or not. There are two prob-
abilities of output of light stemmer. The first probability,
the stem is null (the light stemmer cannot identify the
stem of the word). The second probability, the stem is
not null, but it has less than three original letters. The
third probability is the stem is not null and have more
than three original letters. For the first probability, there
is no more process. For others probabilities, the diction-
ary-based stemmer is applied to extract the stem of the
3.1. Light Stemming
The steps of light stemming: common words identifica-
tion, word segmentation, and matching the patterns. The
first step is to identify the common words ( ﺮﺠﻟا فوﺮﺣ
ﺐﺼﻨﻟا فوﺮﺣ ,ءاﺪﻨﻟا تاودأ,) and the non-derivational nouns
(ﻢﻠﻋ ,ﺲﻨﺟ ﻢﺳا ). This step is very important task in stemmer
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSEA
The Enhancement of Arabic Stemming by Using Light Stemming and Dictionary-Based Stemming
in order to reduce the stemming time. The second step is
the word segmentation. Arabic word is composed of stem
of word and affix that indicate the tense, gender, number.
Also the clitics are attached to the word. Some clitics are
attached to beginning of the word (prepositions and con-
junctions) while others, such as, pronouns at the end. This
stage is to segment the word into its components (affix,
stem, and clitics) according to Arabic rules. The main
formula of Arabic words is defined as the following:
clitics + prefix + stem + suffix + clitics
where, the clitics, prefix, and suffix are attached to word
optionally. The final step (matching the patterns) is to
extract the stem and root of the word by matching the
word without its affixes to the Arabic patterns. This step
is applied to extract the stem and the root of word as fol-
lows. Let Len is the length of word after removing the
prefixes and suffixes, the patterns that their lengths equal
to Len have been selected. For each selected pattern, the
stem will be matched with the particular pattern to com-
pute the similarity between them. The pattern that its
similarity with the stem equals to Len-3 will be selected
as the form of this stem. For example, the segmentations
of the word “ﺔﻌﻗاﻮﻟﺎﺑ” are the “لﺎﺑ” as prefix, and the “ﻊﻗاو
as a stem, and the “ة” as suffix. The stem “ﻊﻗاو”will select
the pattern”ﻞﻋﺎﻓ” and the root of this word is “ﻊﻗو”.
3.2. Dictionary-Based Stemming
The dictionary-based stemming is the process of finding
the stem of word based on the linguistic lexicons. The
first step of this stemming is pre-processing. The func-
tion of the pre-processing is to identify the sentences
boundaries, to split the running text into tokens so that it
can be fed into morphological analyser and parser proc-
essing. This step is to remove redundant and misspelled
space. It also to resolve the orthographic variation in
Arabic writing which can be change or unchanged the
meaning but always affect the NLP system, such as:
Uses of
(Yeh vs. Alif Maqsura)
Uses of
(Heh vs. Taa Marbuta)
Initial Alif Variations: (
MWE cover expressions that are traditionally classified
as idioms (e.g. down the drain), prepositional verbs (e.g.
rely on), verbs with particles (e.g. give up), compound
nouns (e.g. book cover) and collocations (e.g. do a favor).
According to [10], the collocation is defined as “the two
or more words which appear together and always seems
as comrades”. The final step of this stemmer is identify-
cation of stem. This step is to use the Arabic lexicons
(suffixes, prefixes, and stems) for extracting the stem of
the word. These procedures require some linguistic in-
formation of Arabic such as, Arabic stems, prefixes, suf-
fixes, and clitics. From LDC, the lexicon file stems that
were collected by [14] have been selected as the database
of the current system. The stems in this file are in
Romanic, for this reason, they need to transliterate to
Arabic with ignoring diacritics before using them. Before
using this file, all stems have been transliterated from
Romanic to Arabic and collapsed the entries that have the
same stem and same morphological category. This step
consists of the following procedures:
1) Select the stems from lexicon that are contained in
the word.
2) Match the stems to the word in order to identify the
affixes (prefix and suffix) of word.
3) If the identified prefix exists in the Arabic prefixes,
and the identified suffix exists in the Arabic suffixes,
then check the contradiction of affixes.
4) Select the stem that has the shortest length.
This step is to look for all possible stems for the word
that are contained in the word. The Arabic word may
have more than two stems that can construct the word.
From the stems lexicon, all stems that construct the word
and their length more than 2 have been selected as the
candidates of stem. For example, the word “ﺔﻴﻘﻴﺒﻄﺘﻟا” has
the following stems: “ﻖﻴﺒﻄﺗ”, “ﻲﻘﻴﺒﻄﺗ”, and “ﻲﺒﻃ”. Table 1
shows all possible segmentations of the word “ﺔﻴﻘﻴﺒﻄﺘﻟا”.
From Table 1, the procedure three checks whether the
prefix and suffix exist in the prefix and suffix lexicons
respectively. The prefix and suffix that do not exist in the
lexicon will be ignored. After that, only the stems that
their affixes have no contradiction of affixes will be se-
lected as the real stems. For example, the stem “ﻲﺒﻃ” will
be ignored because its prefix and suffix do not exist in
the prefix and suffix lexicons respectively. The proce-
dure four is to select one stem from the candidates of
stem for the word that have shortest length. For example,
in Table 1, the candidates of stems for the word “ﺔﻴﻘﻴﺒﻄﺘﻟ
The second step is the named entity recognition. The
main purpose of this step is to identify Arabic names
using some heuristic also some lists of special verbs that
are identified as introducing person names and descrip-
tives that are identified to be linked to person names. The
general idea behind this process is that most of the Ara-
bic names are real words that frequently used. The proc-
ess of identification them early prevents the system from
manipulating them as other Arabic words. The third step
is multi-word expression (MWE) identification. Multi-
word Expressions (MWEs) are two or more words that
act like a single word syntactically and semantically [4].
Table 1. Segmentations of the word “ﺔﻴﻘﻴﺒﻄﺘﻟا”.
prefix stem suffix
لا ﻖﻴﺒﻄﺗ ﺔﻳ
لا ﻲﻘﻴﺒﻄﺗ ة
ﺖﻟا ﻲﺒﻃ ﺔﻴﻗ
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSEA
The Enhancement of Arabic Stemming by Using Light Stemming and Dictionary-Based Stemming 525
are “ﻖﻴﺒﻄﺗ”, and “ﻲﻘﻴﺒﻄﺗ”. The stem “ﻖﻴﺒﻄﺗ” will be
selected because it has shortest length.
4. Results
In our experiment, we have used the Arabic corpus. Our
corpus is an electronic corpus of Modern Standard Arabic
that was collected from online Arabic newspaper archives.
This corpus includes ten documents with different sizes
(the number of words). Table 2 provides the numerical
details about the Arabic corpus used in the method for
word stemming.
5. Evaluation
The main objective of this experiment is to evaluate the
enhanced stemmer in ten documents that compose the
corpus. The enhanced stemmer is applied on each docu-
ment to extract the stem of words and compute the accu-
racy of this stemmer.
The experiment shows that the ten documents can easily
be combined into a single table, which then provides a
complete picture of the differences between the accuracy
of the stemmer. Table 3 depicted that the highest accuracy
value (97.12%) was achieved by the second document
with number of words equal to 7146. In contrast, the low-
est accuracy value (95.56%) was achieved by the hybrid
steemer in the sixth document with number of words equal
to 3649.
Also, the light stemmer and dictionary-based stemmer
are applied on the same corpus to extract the stem of words.
This experiment is to compare the precision values of the
three stemmers (light, dictionary-based, and enhanced
stemmer). Table 4 contains all the documents in the
corpus with the accuracy values for each stemmer in each
The evaluation graph (Figure 1) can present the same
Table 2. Statistics on the corpus used in stemming.
Statistics Value
Size (KB) 242
Documents 10
Words 71.935
Sentences 3.596
Table 3. The accuracy of enhanced stemmer.
Doc Words Stop-words Names MWE Not StemmedAccuracy
1 1317 298 62 17 43 0.9674
2 7146 1266 210 115 206 0.9712
3 9183 2310 215 70 320 0.9652
4 7079 1376 227 93 265 0.9626
5 3879 733 139 31 160 0.9588
6 3649 692 118 33 162 0.9556
7 7172 1520 249 87 257 0.9642
8 2034 439 47 20 75 0.9631
9 12657 2541 440 100 484 0.9618
10 17114 3361 561 149 689 0.9597
Table 4. The evaluation graph for three stemmer on ten
No of Dec. LS DBS ES
1 0.86 0.8747 0.9674
2 0.8756 0.9022 0.9712
3 0.8551 0.9014 0.9652
4 0.8706 0.8874 0.9626
5 0.8361 0.8711 0.9588
6 0.8415 0.8797 0.9556
7 0.8567 0.8989 0.9642
8 0.8531 0.8835 0.9631
9 0.8599 0.8823 0.9618
10 0.8502 0.8821 0.9597
information in the evaluation table in moreintuitive and
readable way. In any evaluation graph, the x-axis repre-
sents all documents; the y-axis gives the corresponding
accuracy. The corresponding accuracy for the stemmers
can be determined from the intersection of each vertical
line with the respective precision graphs, allowing the
reader to reconstruct the detailed information provided in
the evaluation table.
6. Discussion
Figure 1 shows the enhanced stemmer clearly outper-
forms the others stemmers (light stemmer and diction-
ary-based stemmer). It achieved the highest accuracy
values in all documents in the corpus. The accuracy values
of enhanced stemmer had been increased in all documents
in the corpus when they compared with the accuracy
values in light and dictionary-based stemmer. This im-
provement of accuracy values is due to the solving the
problems in light stemmer and dictionary-based stemmer.
The irregular words that are exempted from stemming in
the light stemmer had been stemmed by the diction-
ary-based stemmer; in contrast, the words that are not
found in the lexicon of the dictionary-based stemmer have
been stemmed by light stemmer. Furthermore, the dic-
tionary-based stemmer is better than the light stemmer
that achieved the highest accuracy values in all documents
Figure 1. The evaluation graph for three stemmer on ten
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSEA
The Enhancement of Arabic Stemming by Using Light Stemming and Dictionary-Based Stemming
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JSEA
in the corpus, with accuracy ranging from 87.11% in the
fifth document to 90.22% in the second document. In the
evaluation of stemmers, the accuracy value of the stem-
mer is affected by the following factors:
1) The type of approach: the stemmers have different
precision values with different types of approaches in the
same data.
2) The corpus: the size and composition of the corpus
that is used for evaluation plays an important role in in-
creasing or decreasing the precision values for the stem-
3) The pre-processing: this includes some linguistic
tools such as the tokenization, identification of Arabic
stop-words, named entity recognition, and handling of
Arabic multi-word expressions. These linguistic tools are
used to reduce the ambiguity of words in order to in-
crease the accuracy and effectiveness of the stemmer.
7. Conclusions
In this study, we have presented the enhanced stemming
for extracting the stem and root of Arabic words. The
enhanced stemming was designed to overcome the dis-
advantages of the light stemming and dictionary-based
stemming. The problem of the broken (irregular) plurals
for nouns and irregular verbs that cannot be solved by the
light stemmer has been identified by the dictionary-based
stemmer. In contrast, the words that cannot be stemmed
in the dictionary-based stemmer because they are not
found in the lexicon of Arabic stems have been handled
by the light stemmer. In order to evaluate the enhanced
stemmer, we applied our method for an in-house col-
lected corpus from Arabic newspaper archives. In our
experiment, the average of accuracy in enhanced stem-
mer on the corpus is 96.29%. The accuracy values of
enhanced stemmer had been increased in all documents
in the corpus when they compared with the accuracy
values in light stemmer (85.5%) and dictionary-based
stemmer (88.63%). The accuracy value of stemmer de-
pends on many factors, including the type of stemming
approach, the size and composition of the corpus, and
pre-processing (such as tokenization, identification of
Arabic stop-words, named entity recognition, and han-
dling of Arabic multi-word expressions). The enhanced
stemming method that had been demonstrated for ex-
tracting the root and stem of Arabic words can be
straightforwardly expanded to identify the linguistic
category of the word.
[1] Al. Hajjar, M. Hajjar and K. Zreik, “A New System for
Evaluation of Arabic Root Extraction Methods,” Pro-
ceedings of the 5th International Conference on Internet
and Web Applications and Services, ICIW, Barcelona,
Spain, 9-15 May 2010, pp. 506-512.
[2] E. Al-Shammari and J. Lin, “A Novel Arabic Lemmatiza-
tion Algorithm,” Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on
Analytics for Noisy Unstructured Text Data, Singapore,
24 July 2008.
[3] B. Al-Salemi and M. J. Ab Aziz, “Statistical Bayesian
Learning for Automatic Arabic Text Categorization”,
Journal of Computer Science, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011, pp.
39-45. doi:10.3844/jcssp.2011.39.45
[4] K. R. Beesley and L. Karttunen, “Finite-State Mor-
phology: Xerox Tools and Techniques,” CSLI, Stanford,
[5] K. Shaalan, M. Magdy and A. Fahmy, “Morphological
Analysis of Ill-Formed Arabic Verbs in Intelligent Lan-
guage Tutoring Framework,” Proceedings of the Twenty-
Third International Florida Artificial Intelligence Re-
search Society Conference, 19-21 May 2010, pp. 277-
[6] M. A. Attia, “An Ambiguity Controlled Morphological
Analyzer for Modern Standard Arabic Modeling Finite
State Networks,” Proceedings of the Challenge of Arabic
for NLP/MT Conference, The British Computer Society,
London, 2006.
[7] A. Boudlal, R. Belahbib, A. Lakhouaja and A. Mazroui,
“A Markovian Approach for Arabic Root Extraction,”
The International Arab Journal of Information Techno-
logy, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2009, pp. 13-20.
[8] M. Sawalha and E. Atwell, “Adapting Language Gram-
mar Rules for Building Morphological Analyzer for Ara-
bic Language,” Proceedings of the Workshop of Morpho-
logical Analyzer Experts for Arabic language, organized
by Arab League Educational, 2009.
[9] R. Sonbol, N. Ghneim and M. S. Desouki, “Arabic Mor-
phological Analysis: A New Approach. Information and
Communication Technologies: From Theory to Applica-
tions,” The 3rd International Conference on Information
& Communication Technologies: From Theory to Appli-
cations, 7-11 April 2008, pp. 1-6.
[10] A. A. Mohd Juzaiddin, A. Fatimah, A. A. Abdul Azim
and M. Ramlan, “Pola Grammar Technique to Identify
Subject and Predicate in Malaysian Language,” The Sec-
ond International Joint Conference on Natural Language
Processing, 11-13 October 2005, pp. 185-190.
[11] A. M. Saif and M. J. A. Aziz, “An Automatic Collocation
Extraction from Arabic Corpus,” Journal of Computer
Science, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2011, pp. 6-11.
[12] K. Taghva, R. Elkoury and J. Coombs, “Arabic Stemming
without a Root Dictionary,” International Conference on
Information Technology: Coding and Computing (ITCC
05), 4-6 April 2005, pp. 152-157.
[13] R. Alshalabi, “Pattern-Based Stemmer for Finding Arabic
Roots” Asian Network for Scientific Information Tech-
nology Journal, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2005. pp. 38-43.
[14] T. Buckwalter, “Issues in Arabic Orthography and Mor-
phology Analysis,” The Workshop on Computational
Approaches to Arabic Script-Based Languages, COLING
Geneva, 2004, pp. 31-34.