SOLD: Sinhala offensive language dataset

Tharindu Ranasinghe*, Isuri Anuradha, Damith Premasiri, Kanishka Silva, Hansi Hettiarachchi, Lasitha Uyangodage , Marcos Zampieri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The widespread of offensive content online, such as hate speech and cyber-bullying, is a global phenomenon. This has sparked interest in the artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) communities, motivating the development of various systems trained to detect potentially harmful content automatically. These systems require annotated datasets to train the machine learning (ML) models. However, with a few notable exceptions, most datasets on this topic have dealt with English and a few other high-resource languages. As a result, the research in offensive language identification has been limited to these languages. This paper addresses this gap by tackling offensive language identification in Sinhala, a low-resource Indo-Aryan language spoken by over 17 million people in Sri Lanka. We introduce the Sinhala Offensive Language Dataset (SOLD) and present multiple experiments on this dataset. SOLD is a manually annotated dataset containing 10,000 posts from Twitter annotated as offensive and not offensive at both sentence-level and token-level, improving the explainability of the ML models. SOLD is the first large publicly available offensive language dataset compiled for Sinhala. We also introduce SemiSOLD, a larger dataset containing more than 145,000 Sinhala tweets, annotated following a semi-supervised approach.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Resources and Evaluation
Early online date6 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

Copyright © The Author(s) 2024. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

Data Access Statement

Data is available at Code is available at


  • Offensive language identification
  • Low-resource languages
  • Deep learning
  • Transformers


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