Chinese Intelligent Language Learning (CHILL)

Using Grammar Engineering Models for Automated Error Detection

Main Events and Milestones:

(2022.11.02-04) Invited talk at the Final Sinophone Conference: "What is Hua?" UPOL, Olomouc, Czech Republic.:
I was invited to participate in a panel on Language Diversity — Promoting Cantonese in and through the Digital World. This panel was led by Joanna Sio, my MSCA supervisor. Joanna and I gave a joint talk titled "The Cantonese Wordnet: Recent Development and Challenges". This panel also included other talks from esteemed colleagues, such as a talk by Andy Chi-on Chin (The Education University of Hong Kong) titled "From Humanities to Digital Humanities: Cantonese Studies in the Big Data Era" and a talk by Zoe Lam and Raymond Pai (University of British Columbia) on "Cantonese Language Curriculum Design for a Diverse Student Population: A Case study of a Canadian University". This was a great opportunity for networking. A joint publication summarizing the discussion we had in this panel (authored by all panelists) is planned for the near future.

(2022.11.03) Invited talk at We Connect 2022. Innovation & Business Sustainability. Ris3ok. Olomouc, Czech Republic.:                            

I was invited by the Innovation Center of the Olomouc Region to participate in this conference directed at researchers, businesses and policymakers. The conference aimed at discussing various areas of Innovation & Business Sustainability being actively researched/developed in the Olomouc region (where UPOL is situated). I gave a joint (bilingual) talk with Francis Bond and Frantisek Kratochvil. Our talk was titled "Machines that Understand and Teach Us" (Czech title: "Stroje, které nám rozumí a učí nás"). We received a lot of positive attention, and it was a great venue to network.

(2022.11.01) Invited Seminar for the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, City University of Hong Kong (CUHK), China.:
I had the honor of being invited to participate in the renowned Seminar Series hosted by the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, City University of Hong Kong. In a joint talk with my supervisor, Joanna Sio, we discussed our goals and experience in developing the Cantonese Wordnet Project. We also discussed some key aspects of digital lexicology, such as data formats/curation/sharing in view of sustainability, corpus-based lexicography, and some potential applications of wordnets in education. It was a very productive seminar, gathering support from attendees — many of whom showed interest in future collaborations.

(2022.07.18-31) DELPH-IN 2022 and visit to University of Washington, Seattle, USA:
I was happy to attend DELPH-IN 2022, which took place in Fairhaven, Washington, USA. This annual meeting focuses on all matters of grammar engineering — from linguistics to high level technical discussions of parsing and language modeling. I gave a talk titled "Learner Treebanks and CHILL (Chinese Intelligent Language Learning)", focusing on the core topic of my fellowship, and gathering a lot of attention and useful insights from the attendees. I extended my stay in the US to visit colleagues at the University of Washington, where I spent time with Francis Bond, Dan Flickinger and Olga Zamaraeva working, among other topics, on treebanks and the Spanish Resource Grammar. As always, DELPH-IN conferences are a great way to keep up to date with the latest research surrounding grammar engineering, and a great place to network among peers, which often lead to many forms of collaboration.

(2022.07.11-15) Research Visit and Invited talk University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada:

Joanna Sio and I were invited to vist the Department of Asian Studies and the Department of Language & Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. Our hosts were Raymond Pai and Zoe Lam, two UBC faculty members working on the preservation and teaching effors of Cantonese. We had multiple meetings during the week, discussing aspects of Cantonese education and plans for future collaboration. At the end of the week we gave a public talk at a workshop organized for our visit. The workshop was titled "Chinese Language Technology for Research and Education", and counted with the participation of a few other faculty members of UBC. This workshop was held in person and streamed online. Among the online participants was Bernice Chan, a freelance journalist who later invited us for an interview about Cantonese and its uncertain future. This interview was eventually pulished (in paper and

(2022.06.20-25) LREC 2022, Marseille, France:
I participated in the 13th Edition of the Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2022), and in the 18th Joint ACL-ISO Workshop on Interoperable Semantic Annotation (ISA-18 2022). I presented two papers at LREC 2022: "The Tembusu Treebank: An English Learner Treebank", co-authored with with Francis Bond and Roger Winder, and "Enriching Linguistic Representation in the Cantonese Wordnet and Building the New Cantonese Wordnet Corpus", co-authored with Joanna Sio. I also presented a third paper at ISA-18 2022, also co-authored with Joanna Sio -- "Multilingual Reference Annotation: A Case between English and Mandarin Chinese". During the conference I was also invited to participate in a Global Wordnet Association meeting, with Piek Vossen, German Rigau, Bolette Pedersen and Francis Bond. In this meeting we discussed many topics concerning the future of the association, and how to keep it relevant for the future. Finally, among many other interesting discussions, I reconnected with Kiril Simov and Petya Osenova (both from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences), who showed a lot of interest in future collaboration.

(2022.05.13) Workshop at the Department of Asian Studies (UPOL):
I was happy to run a workshop entitled "Learner Treebanks: Building Richer Error Detection Models through Learner Corpora", where I covered some topics concerning the future direction of computer assisted language education. This workshop was hosted for colleagues from the Faculty of Arts. I discussed some previous work on the development and exploitation of learner corpora in automatic error-detection and the production of automatic corrective feedback. I've also discussed how my MSCA project aligned within these larger goals. I was happy to have participants from different departments, and also from UPOL's Language Learning Center and UPLift. I was particularly happy to have met Dr. Silvie Válková, from UPOL's Language Learning Center, with whom I discussed potential lines of collaboration in the near future.

(2022.03.28-2022.04.02) Invited Talk at CCCM's "Spring Conferences: on China": :
I presented a paper at the Spring Conferences on China organized by the Macao Scientific and Cultural Centre (CCCM). My presentation was in Portuguese, which was an effective communication strategy to reach non-English speaking audiences. My presentation was titled "Gramáticas computacionais e a deteção automática de erros gramaticais em Mandarim" (Computational Grammars and Automatic Grammatical Error Detection in Mandarin). During the conference period I also met privately with Prof. Carmen Amado Mendes, President of the Macao Scientific and Cultural Centre (CCCM). We agreed to foster new collaborations with UPOL (including grant writing), and even explored the idea of me joining the CCCM team after my MSCA grant finishes. In addition, I also met with Prof. Antonio Barrento, current Director of the Asian Studies Program at University of Lisbon. In the same spirit, we discussed future possibilities of collaboration, including the possibility of trying to join the Asian Studies department at University of Lisbon after the conclusion of my MSCA. All in all, it was a very productive trip that included a full research and networking agenda.

(2022.03.17) MSCA seminar for future supervisors of MSCA Fellows (UPOL/MUNI): :
I took part in an online seminar looking to promote Postdoctoral Fellowships within the context of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions. The workshop's main goal was to coach potential future supervisors of MSCA Postdoctoral Fellows (MSCA PF) on best practices and on what to expect from the process (from ideation to supervision of MSCA PF projects). The workshop was a joint effort between Masaryk University and Palacký University Olomouc. I participated, with Joanna Sio (my supervisor), to provide a successful example on how to approach MSCA PFs by sharing our experience.

(2022.03.02) Leadership skills for Researchers (Czech Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association):
I attended a workshop entitled 'Leadership skills for researchers', organized by the Czech Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association. The workshop was led by Radka Pittnerová, targeting specifically current and alumni MSCA researchers, and discussed essential tools and concepts related to leadership and HR management, preparing researchers who wished to pursue their academic career by setting up their own research lab.

(2022.01.19-20) Invited talk at the International Forum on Education of the English Language and Literature in the New Normal Era (INU):

I had the privilege of being invited to attend and give an invited talk at the International Forum on Education of the English Language and Literature in the New Normal Era. This international forum was organized by the Department of English Language and Literature, Incheon National University (INU). The forum's central topic was on the recognition of the need to define new goals and use new methodologies for teaching language at university level, with particular interest in English. My talk was entitled "Learner Treebanks. Building Richer Error Detection Models through Learner Corpora". This talk summarized some of my previous research, and motivated the current direction of my MSCA project -- presenting computational grammars as invaluable resources for computer assisted language education.

(2021.12.27) Meeting with Assist. Prof. Hugo Cardoso (U.Lisbon): :
I met Dr. Hugo Cardoso in Lisbon. Dr. Cardoso is an Assistant Professor and the Coordinator of the Grammar & Resources research cluster at CLUL, School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon. We explored common research interests and discussed the possibility of future collaboration (both during and after my MSCA). Dr. Cardoso's research revolves around Portuguese-based creoles of Asia since 2004, which is aligned with my work on Kristang (a Portuguese-based creole spoken mostly in Malaysia and Singapore). We discussed the possibility of writing up an ERC grant looking into language documentation/revitalization, as well as other future employment opportunities in Portugal (e.g. through the "Concurso Estímulo ao Emprego Científico", funded by the Portuguese National Research Foundation). We will follow up on these plans and, when possible, schedule another visit to the U.Lisbon.

(2021.11.01) The official start of my MSCA project (UPOL):
I officially started my MSCA project. I was welcomed by the Department of Asian Studies, at the Faculty of Arts, Palacký University Olomouc. My spacious office is located at třída Svobody 26, in a recently renovated building hosting several departments of the Faculty of Arts. This building also hosts the Sinophone Borderlands project (SINOFON) -- a large interdisciplinary project looking at cultural, political and linguistic interactions between China and its neighbors. I share my office with Sedláková Renáta -- a SINOFON media sociologist focused on analyzing the representation of minority groups in the media.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No.101028782.