What is EasyTalk?

EasyTalk is a writing assistance tool for fast and correct typing in „Leichte Sprache“ (LS; Easy-to-Read German) which is largely based on linguistic processing by computer.

Why are we developing EasyTalk?

Simplified languages are instruments for inclusion aiming to overcome language barriers. Leichte Sprache (LS), for instance, is a variety of German with reduced complexity (cf. Basic English). So far, LS is mainly provided for, but rarely written by, its target groups, e.g. people with cognitive impairments or learning difficulties and/or low literacy skills.
One reason may be the lack of technical support during the process from message conceptualization to sentence realization.

What can EasyTalk do?

EasyTalk uses real time natural-language processing to offer efficient prediction and interactive, context-sensitive grammar support as well as customizable AAC symbols and read-out-functionality.

What’s the science behind EasyTalk?

EasyTalk uses a paraphrase generator based on a lexicalized, unification-based Performance Grammar, which deploys psycholinguistical concepts of language production. It uses feature unification to provide the user with a context-sensitively filtered prediction list of syntactically correct word forms and wh-word-cues for grammatical guidance.

For more details, see our work referring to an earlier prototype of the system.

How does EasyTalk work?

EasyTalk is organized as follows:
Located at the very top is a menu for customizing the vocabulary or export the text with or without symbols for further use.
Below, there are three interaction Panels:
At the top, Panel 1 displays previously typed text. The sentences can be read out by clicking on a line.
In Panel 2(a) in the center the sentences are typed and then connected to each other in Panel 2(b). The sentence constituents are indicated with wh-words as cues for their grammatical function. Active elements and constituents are highlighted in light blue. At the bottom, in Panel 3, the possible choices for wordforms are displayed in a filterable, context-sensitive completion list. Activating wh-cues at the top of Panel 3 filters the list to only display the correctly inflected wordforms for the selected constituent.

A snapshot of EasyTalk – a system for fast and correct typing in Leichte Sprache.
1) Add next word to Panel 2(a) by selecting word by word from the suggestion list offering inflected forms;
2) Choose ✓ to finish the sentence (X deletes last word) à Step 3 in parallel to flipping Panel 2 to (b) (cf. step 4);
3) The competed sentence moves to Panel 1 (it can be read out loud and/or exported for further use);
4) Select connection of the next sentence à The system flips back to Panel 2(a) for next sentence:
5) In empty Panel 2 (a) clue „./?/“ is provided (click button to change; declarative is the default.).
An active text production session in EasyTalk.
The user just finished the verb and is now filtering the completion list to display only choices inflected for the wh-cue „Wen“ / ‚Whom‘
representing the direct object.

At the beginning of a sentence, the user can sets the sentence mode (declaration, question, imperative sentence) by clicking on the punctuation sign. Declarative mode is set by default. To write the sentence, the user selects word by word from the completion list.
Each word is linguistically processed and put into context. In case of ambiguities, the user is presented a choice dialog containing the same wh-cues used in Panel 1 and Panel 3. By eliciting this choice the system creates awareness of the grammatical context and ensures the syntactic correctness of the sentence through in an intuitive, dialog-like manner.

See EasyTalk in action!

The video above shows how a text is written EasyTalk.

The video above shows how a text is written EasyTalk.

Do you want to learn more about EasyTalk?

If you are interested in learning more about EasyTalk and/or try the system yourself – feel welcome to contact us: contact@inasteinmetz.de
We are happy to get in touch with you!