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Alistair Knott, Department of Computer Science


A human-machine dialogue system for computer-aided language learning


Archway 2 - 1:00 pm, Friday 12 September


In this talk, I will describe a web-based language learning system which a colleague (Peter Vlugter) and I have been developing over several years. The system uses natural language processing techniques to allow a language learner to engage in a relatively free ranging dialogue with computer-played characters. The characters can ask and answer questions, and tell the student about themselves, and the student can do likewise.

While most language learning software teaches students through a range of well structured exercises, the aim of our system is to place students in a relatively unstructured conversational situation, where learning opportunities arise naturally. Of course, it is very hard to build a system which can respond to unrestricted free text in the language being learned, even assuming the reduced grammar and vocabulary of a learner. I'll give a demo of a recent version of our system which is configured for English language learning, and try to assess how far we have got.

Last modified: Wednesday, 10-Sep-2008 08:12:58 NZST

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