Bringing collocation prompts to text editors

author: Ana Frankenberg-Garcia, University of Surrey
published: Oct. 25, 2018,   recorded: October 2018,   views: 442


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Dictionaries have seen dramatic improvements over the past decades. Paper dictionaries focussing primarily on the meanings of words have evolved into portable electronic devices that can also help language users improve their writing. Collocation dictionaries are particularly useful in this respect, as they help writers find words that are conventionally used in combination with each other, like design+system, or successfully+achieve or purely +practical. While there are now a number readily available collocation dictionaries or general language dictionaries that contain information on collocation (at least for English!), many writers do not consult them as often as they should. The problem is not only one of collocation error. Writers may overuse certain collocations and underuse others, or they may even abandon what they were initially trying to say because they cannot find the words they need. Our solution to the problem is to bring collocation prompts to a text editor, so that writers can gain lexical assistance as and when required. In this talk, I will present an overview of how pedagogical dictionaries have evolved, and of some of the obstacles in the way of getting writers to become better users of today's highly sophisticated lexicographic tools and resources. Next, I will present the ColloCaid project, whose aim is to support writers with collocations from within a text editor. I will describe the rationale underlying our lexicographic coverage and visualisation decisions, and I will conclude with a demo of our initial prototype.

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