The Collocaid project aims to develop an intuitive writing assistant for users of academic English. Its specific focus is on helping writers with the collocations of academic English in real time. Although there are dictionaries and tools that help with collocation, writers are often unaware of them, or simply do not remember to use them. But even if writers get used to consulting these resources, the fact that they have to interrupt their writing to look up a collocation can disrupt the flow of their words. Thus we propose to develop a tool for bringing help with collocation to the user rather than expecting the user to go and find it. Our research involves investigating user needs, lexicographic data, the visualisation of collocations and human-computer interaction issues.
Collocaid is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council for a period of 36 months (AH/P003508/1). The project is led by Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia, School of Literature and Languages, University of Surrey, UK, with close collaboration from Professor Robert Lew, Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland; and Professor Jonathan C. Roberts, School of Computer Science, Bangor University, UK.
What are collocations?
Collocations are words which are conventionally used together (e.g. collect data, change dramatically, highly significant, etc.). Violating collocation conventions can result in errors (e.g. *depend of something) or awkward, non-idiomatic text (e.g. *a large mistake). This affects not only writing, but also reading, since texts with collocation problems are more difficult to process.