The AmbiDYS research project (LS2N/READi Design Lab/Mobidys) focuses on the detection and visualisation of textual ambiguities which could cause problems for learners with reading difficulties (in the context of using digital tablets). Various types of textual ambiguity are studied from a phonetic, lexical and anaphoric viewpoint.
Winner of the 2016 call for research projects
- READi Design Lab
About the project
The AmbiDYS research project studies the detection and visualisation of textual ambiguities which could cause problems for learners with reading difficulties. Our context focuses on digital tablets and texts for children, with the aim of improving the reading experience for young learners facing the challenges of dyslexia. Various types of textual ambiguity will be studied: phonetic (the French word “fils” for example can be translated as the singular noun “son” or the plural noun “threads” and is also pronounced differently in both cases), lexical (set and figurative expressions such as “prendre une veste” which translates literally as “to take a jacket” but actually means to suffer a defeat); and anaphoric (as in “il parle”/ “he speaks”). The team will study ways of visualising such ambiguities in a specially adapted interface and come up with new interactive modes that combine gestural, sound, vibratory and visual interactions.
For the detection of textual ambiguities, the team concentrated on anaphora. Anaphoric pronouns and their nominal groups were annotated in six children’s texts by a 4th-year speech therapy student. Two computer science Masters students worked on distinguishing impersonal pronouns from anaphoric pronouns and on resolving anaphora for the French pronouns “il” and “elle” (which can mean “he”, “she” or “it”). They also developed a method for assessing the difficulty of resolving anaphoric pronouns, taking into account the distance between the pronoun and its referent, the number of referents and the number of characters amongst the possible referents. Initial tests have shown promising results for distinguishing between impersonal and anaphoric pronouns and for anaphora resolution. A student internship in visualising ambiguities is currently under way at the READi Design Lab.
Publications and/or communications
Nathalie Chappey, Solen Quiniou, Béatrice Daille, Grégoire Cliquet. “L’apprentissage de la lecture face à la dyslexie” [learning to read with dyslexia], NumAccess Conference 2017 – poster presented.
Solen Quiniou, Béatrice Daille. “Towards a Diagnosis of Textual Difficulties for Children with Dyslexia”, LREC 2018 (Language Resources and Evaluation Conference) – under submission
Detection of the impersonal pronoun “il”, which can mean “he” or “it”, is based on rules which indicate contexts in which “il” is impersonal. Selection of the correct referent for each anaphoric pronoun is based on the Mitkov algorithm which allocates a score to each potential referent, chosen from nominal groups in the two phrases preceding the pronoun. The methodology used to develop prototypes for visualising ambiguities follows an iterative principle.
Phase 1: detection of textual ambiguities using automated approaches and by creating a model of textual ambiguity types
Phase 2: visualisation of textual ambiguities and interaction, by creating a visualisation prototype
Phase 3: dissemination of results by publishing scientific articles and taking part in conferences and exhibitions
The project could be expanded to include the development of diagnostic tools for assessing difficulty levels in texts or parts of texts, based on detection of the ambiguities present. The team intends to submit a project proposal with a more extensive scope, including a thesis on computer science and design, at RFI West Creative Industries’ next call for projects. In the longer term, there are also plans to submit a project to the European Commission funded Horizon 2020 initiative.