Conjugation-based compression for Hebrew texts

Yair Wiseman, Irit Gefner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional compression techniques do not look deeply into the morphology of languages. This can be less critical in languages like English where most of the sequences are illegal according to the grammatical rules of the language, for example, zx, bv or qe; hence the morphology can add a little information that can be beneficial for the compression algorithm. However, this negligence can be a significant flaw in languages like Hebrew where the grammatical rules allow much more freedom in the sequences of letters and, except tet after gimel, any pair is legal; hence compressing without taking the morphological rules into account can yield a poorer compression ratio. This article suggests a tool that optimizes the Burrows-Wheeler algorithm which is an unaware morphological rules compression method. It first preprocesses a Hebrew text file according to the Hebrew conjugation rules, and, after that, it provides the Burrows-Wheeler algorithm with this preprocessed file so that can be compressed better. Experimental results show a significant improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1227854
JournalACM Transactions on Asian Language Information Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Burrows-Wheeler algorithm
  • Hebrew text analysis
  • Root conjugations
  • Semitic languages
  • Text compression


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