Interactive Word Sense Disambiguation in Foreign Language Learning


  • Jasper Degraeuwe LT3 / MULTIPLES, Ghent University
  • Patrick Goethals LT3 / MULTIPLES, Ghent University



word sense disambiguation, interactive vocabulary learning, Spanish as a foreign language, contextualised word embeddings


“Word sense awareness” is a feature which is not yet implemented in most corpus query tools, Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning (ICALL) environments or computer-readable didactic resources such as graded word lists (Alfter and Graën, 2019; Pilán et al., 2016; Tack et al., 2018). The present paper aims to contribute to filling this lacuna by presenting a word sense disambiguation (WSD) method for ICALL purposes. The method, which is targeted at Spanish as a foreign language (SFL), takes a few prototypical example sentences as input, converts these sentences into “sense vectors”, and integrates part of the training data collection process into interactive vocabulary exercises. The evaluation of the method is based on a selection of 50 ambiguous items related to the domain of economics and compares different types of input data. With a top weighted F1 score of 0.8836, the present study shows that the currently available NLP tools, resources and methods provide all the necessary building blocks for developing a WSD method which can be integrated into interactive ICALL environments.