Computer support for second language learners’ free text production-Initial Studies- O. Knutsson, T. Cerratto Pargman & K. Severinson Eklundh Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm - Sweden
Outline • Introduction • Background • Theoretical Framework • User Study • The computer program : Granska • Research questions • Data collection and methods • Preliminary findings • Discussion
Introduction • Interest in the use of computer support for learning Swedish as a second language • Focus on the use of computer-language tools for writers who can fluently write and speak in their mother tongue • Goals : • to study how writers develop their writing practices in the context of learning Swedish as a second language • to contribute to improving the design of existing language tools for writing in learning contexts
Writing in the acquisition of second language • Writing turns speech and language into objects of reflection and analysis (Vygotsky, 1962; Luria, 1976) • Far from transcribing speech, writing creates the categories in terms of which we become conscious of speech (Olson, 1995)
Language tools for second language writers • Computer language programs supporting free text production available in Swedish have been developed for native speakers: • the grammar checker in Microsoft Word (Lingsoft) • the research prototype Scarrie (Uppsala University) • the prototype GRANSKA (Royal Institute of Technology) • Most of the computer aided language learning programs available on the market rarely analyze learners’ written or spoken productions
Second-language learning processes • The acquisition and development of a second language is regarded as a complex processes requiring the interplay of motivation, identity, context, culture, intellectual competence (Sjögren, 1996) • Second-language learning is viewedas a combination ofspontaneous, inductive learning with systematic, deductive learning strategies (Laurillard, 1993)
A developmental perspective on the use of language tools • Language tools are viewed as artifacts that become instruments through the writer’s activity (Rabardel, 1995) • Language errors are a source for the understanding of how writers make sense and construct a new symbolic system (Scott, 2001) • Written feedback is an important resource for the writers’ language understanding and construction of a new symbolic system (Cohen and Cavalcanti, 1990)
Pilot study on the use of Granska in second-language writing environments Aims : • to study how the grammar checker, Granska, should be adapted to second language writers’ needs • to develop a method for assessing the use of Granska in a naturalistic environment
Granska - a Swedish Grammar Checker • It provides different functions such as grammar checking and proofreading, linguistic editing functions, language rules and help system • It supports detection, diagnosis and correction of language errors in the writer’s revision process • It combines statistical and rule-based methods
Research questions • Does Granska support second language writers’ revision process? • What parts of Granska are most important to improve and develop further? • Which are the research methods suitable for studying second language writers’ free text production?
Method • Focus on free text production during the revision process • Instructions to the users : • ”Use Granska whenever you want and when you think it will help you” • ”Save the original text and the final version revised with Granska” • Analysis of users’ judgment of Granska’s alarms, detections, diagnoses and correction proposals • Analysis of interviews with second language teachers
Example : two versions of the same text for the study of users’ actions Version 1 : • Hon skulle komma hit och träffas oss för att prata om våra gemensamma intresse.Diagnosis: Om våra syftar på intresse är det kongruensfelProposals: vårt gemensamma intresse våra gemensamma intressenVersion 2 : • Hon skulle komma hit och träffas oss för att prata om våra gemensamma intresser.Diagnosis: Okänt ord Proposals: intressen intressera
Teachers’ views of errors and written feedback • The type of errors depends much on the level of the language reached • Common errors are : syntactical errors, word order, verb inflection, agreement and use of prepositions • Different approaches on written feedback • Immediate written feedback and support for drafting processes could become useful for writers
Preliminary findings cont’ • Users repaired spelling errors without feedback from the program • Users followed Granska’s advice if correctional proposal was provided • Users mentioned to be satisfied with the program’s correction proposals • Users could not understand some of the diagnoses presented when correction proposal was not provided
Discussion • When should we start to adapt/redesign Granska from what we know from the users studies ? • Which types of users should we focus on ? • How should we improve methods for collecting and analyzing writer’s free text production?
Information about the project • www.nada.kth.se/theory/projects/xcheck/ • www.nada.kth.se/theory/projects/granska/demo.html Welcome! to contact us : • firstname.lastname@example.org • email@example.com