Prof. Dr. Walt Detmar Meurers
Natural Language Processing and Language Learning


Detmar Meurers


Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, edited by Carol A. Chapelle. Blackwell: Oxford. 2013. 4193–4205.


This article explores the relevance and uses of NLP in the context of language learning, focusing on written language. As a concise characterization of this emergent subfield, the discussion will focus on motivating the relevance, characterizing the techniques, and delineating the uses of NLP; more historical background and discussion can be found in Nerbonne (2003) and Heift and Schulze (2007).


One can distinguish two broad uses of NLP in this context: On the one hand, NLP can be used to analyze learner language, i.e., words, sentences, or texts produced by language learners. This includes the development of NLP techniques for the analysis of learner language by tutoring systems in Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning (ICALL), automated scoring in language testing, as well as the analysis and annotation of learner corpora.


On the other hand, NLP for the analysis of native language can also play an important role in the language learning context. Applications in this second domain support the search for and the enhanced presentation of native language reading material for language learners, they provide targeted access to relevant examples from native language corpora, or they support the generation of exercises, games, and tests based on native language materials.



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Note: The electronic versions of the publications linked on this page are the last versions I had the copyright for. Where a publisher copyedited and/or typeset the papers, the electronic copies linked here are NOT identical to the officially published version, which should be used for any quotes, references to page numbers, etc.



Bibtex entry:

   author = 	 {Detmar Meurers},
   title = 	 {Natural Language Processing and Language Learning},
   booktitle = 	 {Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics},
   editor =      {Carol A. Chapelle},
   publisher =   {Blackwell},
   year     =    {2013},
   pages       = {4193--4205},                  
   url =         {}