A Preliminary Look at Using Word Prediction Software with L2 Writers of English: November 18th

Date: November 18, 2012
Time: 2 PM
Location: Room 811, Faculty of Education, Saiwai Campus, Kagawa University, Takamatsu.

Abstract: This presentation will introduce a commercially-available word prediction system and describe a very preliminary investigation into whether the use of such systems may offer benefits to L2 writers of English.

Word prediction systems attempt to predict what word a user is trying to write, or what word they might want to write next. The user is typically presented with a list of predictions that is updated as they type, and given the option of selecting any of the predictions for insertion into the text. Such systems have been widely used for people who have learned English natively but still struggle with writing, and have been used in mobile devices where typing can be difficult and users can benefit from using fewer keystrokes. Word prediction has not been widely used for L2 writers, though it is reasonable to suspect that certain systems may offer some benefits. In this talk, I will explain the motivation for believing that word prediction may benefit L2 writers, as well as explain some of the reasons for believing that its benefits may be limited. Lastly, I will offer some initial impressions on recent, informal trials of word prediction software with Japanese university students.

Speaker Bio: Robert Swier is a lecturer in English as a foreign language at Kagawa University. His background is in computational linguistics, and he holds degrees in computer science from the University of Rochester and the University of Toronto.

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