Muskan Mahajan


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BELA: Bot for English Language Acquisition
Muskan Mahajan
Proceedings of the Second Workshop on NLP for Positive Impact (NLP4PI)

In this paper, we introduce a conversational agent (chatbot) for Hindi-speaking youth called BELA—Bot for English Language Acquisition. Developed for young underprivileged students at an Indian non-profit, the agent supports both Hindi and Hinglish (code-switched Hindi and English, written primarily with English orthography) utterances. BELA has two interaction modes: a question-answering mode for classic English language learning tasks like word meanings, translations, reading passage comprehensions, etc., and an open-domain dialogue system mode to allow users to practice their language skills. We present a high-level overview of the design of BELA, including the implementation details and the preliminary results of our early prototype. We also report the challenges in creating an English-language learning chatbot for a largely Hindi-speaking population.