Lucy Skidmore


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Incremental Disfluency Detection for Spoken Learner English
Lucy Skidmore | Roger Moore
Proceedings of the 17th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications (BEA 2022)

Incremental disfluency detection provides a framework for computing communicative meaning from hesitations, repetitions and false starts commonly found in speech. One application of this area of research is in dialogue-based computer-assisted language learning (CALL), where detecting learners’ production issues word-by-word can facilitate timely and pedagogically driven responses from an automated system. Existing research on disfluency detection in learner speech focuses on disfluency removal for subsequent downstream tasks, processing whole utterances non-incrementally. This paper instead explores the application of laughter as a feature for incremental disfluency detection and shows that when combined with silence, these features reduce the impact of learner errors on model precision as well as lead to an overall improvement of model performance. This work adds to the growing body of research incorporating laughter as a feature for dialogue processing tasks and provides further support for the application of multimodality in dialogue-based CALL systems.