Oddbjørn Hove


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Estimating Lexical Complexity from Document-Level Distributions
Sondre Wold | Petter Mæhlum | Oddbjørn Hove
Proceedings of the 2024 Joint International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC-COLING 2024)

Existing methods for complexity estimation are typically developed for entire documents. This limitation in scope makes them inapplicable for shorter pieces of text, such as health assessment tools. These typically consist of lists of independent sentences, all of which are too short for existing methods to apply. The choice of wording in these assessment tools is crucial, as both the cognitive capacity and the linguistic competency of the intended patient groups could vary substantially. As a first step towards creating better tools for supporting health practitioners, we develop a two-step approach for estimating lexical complexity that does not rely on any pre-annotated data. We implement our approach for the Norwegian language and verify its effectiveness using statistical testing and a qualitative evaluation of samples from real assessment tools. We also investigate the relationship between our complexity measure and certain features typically associated with complexity in the literature, such as word length, frequency, and the number of syllables.