Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Evaluating the language resources of chatbots for their potential in English as a second language
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This paper investigates the linguistic worth of current ‘chatbot’ programs – software programs which attempt to hold a conversation, or interact, in English – as a precursor to their potential as an ESL (English as a second language) learning resource. After some initial background to the development of chatbots, and a discussion of the Loebner Prize Contest for the most ‘human’ chatbot (the ‘Turing Test’), the paper describes an in-depth study evaluating the linguistic accuracy of a number of chatbots available online. Since the ultimate purpose of the current study concerns chatbots' potential with ESL learners, the analysis of language embraces not only an examination of features of language from a native-speaker's perspective (the focus of the Turing Test), but also aspects of language from a second-language-user's perspective. Analyses indicate that while the winner of the 2005 Loebner Prize is the most able chatbot linguistically, it may not necessarily be the chatbot most suited to ESL learners. The paper concludes that while substantial progress has been made in terms of chatbots' language-handling, a robust ESL ‘conversation practice machine’ (Atwell, 1999) is still some way off being a reality.


This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 20, Issue 1.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page