Designing interactive, automated dialogues for L2 pragmatics learning

Veronika Timpe-Laughlin, Keelan Evanini, Ashley Green, Ian Blood, Judit Dombi, Vikram Ramanarayanan


This paper describes an approach to designing interactive, automated dialogues for L2 pragmatics learning. It first outlines advantages and challenges of using automated multi-turn conversations to help learners practice pragmatic moves. In order to deal with a particular challenge--—excessive variability in users' pragmatic performances—--an interactive dialogue aimed at eliciting requests was deployed via a crowdsourcing platform. A total of 328 completed conversations, with both L1 and L2 English speakers, were collected and analyzed with regard to number of turns and requests as well as request strategies elicited in the conversations. Requests were coded based on head acts as direct (D), conventionally indirect (CI), and hint (H). The results revealed interesting patterns in both L1 and L2 speaker responses. For example, even though they were speaking to the same interlocutor, L1 speakers tended to use different request strategies for two distinct requests, dependent on the interaction sequence and prompts within the dialogue. Moreover, further culture-specific variability was identified. Finally, the implications of the findings for the design and use of systematic feedback on pragmatics in computer-assisted language learning applications is discussed.


 DOI: 10.21437/SemDial.2017-13

Cite as: Timpe-Laughlin, V., Evanini, K., Green, A., Blood, I., Dombi, J., Ramanarayanan, V. (2017) Designing interactive, automated dialogues for L2 pragmatics learning. Proc. SEMDIAL 2017 (SaarDial) Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue, 116-125, DOI: 10.21437/SemDial.2017-13.


@inproceedings{Timpe-Laughlin2017,
  author={Veronika Timpe-Laughlin and Keelan Evanini and Ashley Green and Ian Blood and Judit Dombi and Vikram Ramanarayanan},
  title={Designing interactive, automated dialogues for L2 pragmatics learning},
  year=2017,
  booktitle={Proc. SEMDIAL 2017 (SaarDial) Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue},
  pages={116--125},
  doi={10.21437/SemDial.2017-13},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SemDial.2017-13}
}