Linguistik online 17, 5/03

Natural language processing tools for computer assisted language learning

Anne Vandeventer Faltin (Geneva)



This paper illustrates the usefulness of natural language processing (NLP) tools for computer assisted language learning (CALL) through the presentation of three NLP tools integrated within a CALL software for French. These tools are (i) a sentence structure viewer; (ii) an error diagnosis system; and (iii) a conjugation tool. The sentence structure viewer helps language learners grasp the structure of a sentence, by providing lexical and grammatical information. This information is derived from a deep syntactic analysis. Two different outputs are presented. The error diagnosis system is composed of a spell checker, a grammar checker, and a coherence checker. The spell checker makes use of alpha-codes, phonological reinterpretation, and some ad hoc rules to provide correction proposals. The grammar checker employs constraint relaxation and phonological reinterpretation as diagnosis techniques. The coherence checker compares the underlying "semantic" structures of a stored answer and of the learners' input to detect semantic discrepancies. The conjugation tool is a resource with enhanced capabilities when put on an electronic format, enabling searches from inflected and ambiguous verb forms.


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