3. Language learning and learning disabilities

Key ILSP researchers

  • Dr. Maria Tzevelekou
  • Dr. Athanassios Protopapas
  • Dr. Frieda Charalabopoulou

Past activities

Computer technology provides valuable ingredients in the set up of a comprehensive approach to language learning, inasmuch as it allows quantitative methods to be used in order to understand the mechanisms of language acquisition. This knowledge serves as a basis for a host of efficient activities in the field of language development, such as assessment of children’s and adults’ language proficiency in various skills in both first and second language, Computer Assisted Language Learning systems (CALL), independent evaluation of language learning interventions, design of language policies, etc. Moreover, in recent years focus has been placed on speech and language disorders in children, since they can cause pervasive lifelong impairments that have an impact on many aspects of life such as learning, education, behaviour, relationships and self-esteem. Therefore, special emphasis is given to early assessment and intervention, aiming at providing a smooth integration of these children in the educational system.

ILSP has been actively engaged in all the above fields. However, the Institute seeks to reinforce and expand the empirical connection between typical/atypical language development research and methods for language assessment and intervention. In other words, these methods, whether assessment batteries or educational material, in order to be valid and efficient need to be constantly revisited and revised in the light of current research on language development mechanisms and on various parameters, social or cognitive, that affect this development.

The focus lies in the collection and synthesis of data relevant for cognitive and language development and for monitoring language learning progress in educational environments. To this end it is necessary to:

  • systematically collect learner’s language input in order to expand the already existing learner’s corpus and analyze patterns of linguistic performance of typically and atypically developing children and adults learning Greek as a native or as an additional language
  • develop metrics to identify and quantify deficits in cognitive and linguistic domains

The results of the above research activities will be exploited to develop targeted assessment and remediation procedures in the corresponding context of school, language class, special education, or speech and language therapy. Moreover, ILSP’s CALL activities (educational software design and development) will take into account research results on language acquisition and development. These may eventually lead to remedial or educational interventions that would meet the individualized needs of learners.

On the technical side, an additional topic in the field of CALL which is of particular interest to ILSP is automatic pronunciation assessment of accented L2 (second language) learners. Since limited time is usually available for developing pronunciation skills in class and given the unfavourable teacher-student ratios in a traditional L2 setting, Computer-Assisted Pronunciation Training (CAPT) systems may be deployed as a viable alternative to circumvent such problems . These systems may address individual pronunciation difficulties by indicating errors, providing rating of the learners’ oral input, enabling self-practice, and thus, they may assist non-native speakers master the phonetic and phonological system of the target language. Know-how in this topic will be sought through a partnering organization specializing in tuning speech technologies to CALL requirements.

Related news

To Iνστιτούτο Επεξεργασίας του Λόγου και το Ερευνητικό Κέντρο Αθηνά διοργανώνει Ανοιχτή Εκδήλωση στην Ξάνθη

«25 χρόνια Έρευνας και Καινοτομίας στις Τεχνολογίες Γλώσσας, Πολιτισμού και Περιεχομένου» είναι ο τίτλος της Ανοικτής Εκδήλωσης που διοργανώνει το Ινστιτούτο Επεξεργασίας του Λόγου (ΙΕΛ) -ένα από τα Ινστιτούτα του Ερευνητικού Κέντρου «Αθηνά»- στην Ξάνθη, την Δευτέρα 25 Μαΐου 2015 (18.00 – 21.00), στο ξενοδοχείο Elisso. Το ακαδημαϊκό/επιστημονικό, επιχειρηματικό, εκπαιδευτικό και ευρύτερο κοινό της Ξάνθης [...]

Posted in Activities, Info Days, Language learning and learning disabilities, Multimedia processing, Multimodal communication, Open Days, Text mining | Comments Off

Incoming visits: Centre for English Corpus Lingustics (CECL)

Sylviane Granger from the Centre for English Corpus Lingustics  (CECL) was invited to present a talk at the “Learner Corpora for less commonly taught languages: Design, processing and prospects for Second Language Acquisition and Education” organized by ILSP. The talk title was”Towards more and better learner corpora for educational applications”. The host researcher was Maria [...]

Posted in Activities, Language learning and learning disabilities, Scientific Presentations, Visits | Comments Off

Info Day: Language and Content Processing Technologies @ ILSP / “Athena” RIC

Το Ερευνητικό Κέντρο “Αθηνά” έχει τη χαρά να συμμετάσχει στο Athens Science Festival 2015 από τις 17 έως τις 22 Μαρτίου στην Τεχνόπολη του Δήμου Αθηναίων. Το Athens Science Festival έχει στόχο να καταστήσει τις επιστήμες πιο φιλικές στο ευρύ κοινό και να παρέχει ερεθίσματα και κίνητρα σε άτομα κάθε ηλικίας να ανακαλύψουν την επιστήμη [...]

Posted in Activities, Info Days, Language learning and learning disabilities, Multimedia processing, Multimodal communication, Priority Research Axes, Project news, Text mining | Comments Off

[Scientific Presentation] Towards more and better learner corpora for educational applications, Sylviane Granger (CECL)

April 8, 2014 Sylviane Granger Director of the Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) at the Université catholique de Louvain and President of the Board of the Learner Corpus Association Learner corpora are electronic collections of written or spoken data produced by second or foreign language learners. At first limited to one language – English [...]

Posted in Language learning and learning disabilities, Scientific Presentations | Comments Off

The Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics at the Colloquim on Learner Corpora organized by ILSP

Jirka Hana, senior researcher at the Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics (Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University in Prague), was invited to present a talk at the Colloquim on Learner Corpora organized by ILSP. The aim of this Colloquium was to examine and reflect on concepts, principles and perspectives of Learner Corpus research [...]

Posted in Activities, Language learning and learning disabilities, Scientific Presentations, Visits | Comments Off