DESIGN OF A WORD TO SENTENCE GENERATOR FOR AUGMENTATIVE COMMUNICATION

S. Bhattacharya and A. Basu

Keywords

Augmentative communication, compansion, queryresponse model, semanticosyntactic unit

Abstract

Augmentative communication aids are used to assist persons with severe speech and motor disabilities in their natural communication. Motion impaired users operate computer-based communication aids with alternate input methods instead of mouse or keyboard, which makes the communication process slow. A word to sentence generation technique called Compansion was proposed to improve communication rate of augmentative communication users. In Compansion, a sequence of root words was converted to a grammatically well-formed sentence. To perform the conversion, Compansion required significant linguistic knowledge. This requirement limits applicability of Compansion to languages for which such knowledge do not exist. Moreover, the issues of pre(post)position attachment, morphology synthesis and word ordering need to be addressed to apply Compansion to languages other than English. We propose enhancements to make Compansion work for non-English languages. Based on the proposed enhancements, we have developed a word to sentence generator. The word to sentence generator is used in Sanyog – an augmentative communication system in Bengali, a language spoken primarily in Eastern India and Bangladesh. Evaluation of Sanyog shows that our word to sentence generator helps in increasing communication rate without putting significant physical or cognitive load on users. Development and evaluation of our word to sentence generator is described in this paper.

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