Evaluating Lexical Simplification and Vocabulary Knowledge for Learners of French: Possibilities of Using the FLELex Resource

Tack, Anaïs, François, Thomas, Ligozat, Anne-Laure, & Fairon, Cédrick
Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation
This study examines two possibilities of using the FLELex graded lexicon for the automated assessment of text complexity in French as a foreign language learning. From the lexical frequency distributions described in FLELex, we derive a single level of difficulty for each word in a parallel corpus of original and simplified texts. We then use this data to automatically address the lexical complexity of texts in two ways. On the one hand, we evaluate the degree of lexical simplification in manually simplified texts with respect to their original version. Our results show a significant simplification effect, both in the case of French narratives simplified for non-native readers and in the case of simplified Wikipedia texts. On the other hand, we define a predictive model which identifies the number of words in a text that are expected to be known at a particular learning level. We assess the accuracy with which these predictions are able to capture actual word knowledge as reported by Dutch-speaking learners of French. Our study shows that although the predictions seem relatively accurate in general (87.4% to 92.3%), they do not yet seem to cover the learners’ lack of knowledge very well.