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LINGUIST List 23.4003

Thu Sep 27 2012

Diss: Applied Ling/ Comp Ling/ General Ling/Psycholing/ Text/Corpus Ling/Translation/ English: Temnikova: 'Text Complexity and Text Simplification...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 26-Sep-2012
From: Irina Temnikova <irina.temnikovagmail.com>
Subject: Text Complexity and Text Simplification in the Crisis Management domain
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Institution: University of Wolverhampton
Program: School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Irina Temnikova

Dissertation Title: Text Complexity and Text Simplification in the Crisis Management domain

Dissertation URL: http://clg.wlv.ac.uk/papers/temnikova-thesis.php#abstract

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Computational Linguistics
                            General Linguistics
                            Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Ruslan Mitkov
Richard Evans
Le An Ha

Dissertation Abstract:

Due to the fact that emergency situations can lead to substantial
losses, both financial and in terms of human lives, it is essential that
texts used in a crisis situation be clearly understandable.

This thesis is concerned with the study of the complexity of the crisis
management sub-language and with methods to produce new, clear
texts and to rewrite pre-existing crisis management documents which
are too complex to be understood. By doing this, this interdisciplinary
study makes several contributions to the crisis management field. First,
it contributes to the knowledge of the complexity of the texts used in
the domain, by analysing the presence of a set of written language
complexity issues derived from the psycholinguistic literature in a novel
corpus of crisis management documents. Second, since the text
complexity analysis shows that crisis management documents indeed
exhibit high numbers of text complexity issues, the thesis adapts to the
English language controlled language writing guidelines which, when
applied to the crisis management language, reduce its complexity and
ambiguity, leading to clear text documents. Third, since low quality of
communication can have fatal consequences in emergency situations,
the proposed controlled language guidelines and a set of texts which
were re-written according to them are evaluated from multiple points of
view. In order to achieve that, the thesis both applies existing
evaluation approaches and develops new methods which are more
appropriate for the task. These are used in two evaluation experiments
â€" evaluation on extrinsic tasks and evaluation of users' acceptability.

The evaluations on extrinsic tasks (evaluating the impact of the
controlled language on text complexity, reading comprehension under
stress, manual translation, and machine translation tasks) show a
positive impact of the controlled language on simplified documents and
thus ensure the quality of the resource. The evaluation of users'
acceptability contributes additional findings about manual simplification
and helps to determine directions for future implementation.

The thesis also gives insight into reading comprehension, machine
translation, and cross-language adaptability, and provides original
contributions to machine translation, controlled languages, and natural
language generation evaluation techniques, which make it valuable for
several scientific fields, including Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, and a
number of different sub-fields of NLP.

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