We observe that current language resource tools only provide limited help for ESL/EFL writers with insufficient language knowledge. In particular, there is no convenient way for ESL/EFL writers to look for answers to the frequent questions of correct and appropriate language use. We have developed a language information retrieval method to exploit corporal resources and provide effective referential utility for ESL/EFL writing. This method involves the sequential operation of three modules, an expression element module, a retrieval module, and a ranking module. The primary design purpose is to allow flexible and easy transformation from questions to queries and to find relevant examples so that uncertainty of language use can be quickly resolved. We implemented the method and developed a prototype system called SAW (Sentence Assistance for Writing). Simulated language use problems were tested on SAW to evaluate the system's referential utility. Experimental results indicate that the proposed language information retrieval method is effective in providing help to ESL/EFL writers.
Computational Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2008, pp. 279-306