Sámi dialogue based language learning system: Requirements document


(See the plan in the application)

Purposes and objectives

(See the plan in the application)

Project team

(See the plan in the application)

Project overview, the most important features

(See the plan in the application)

Description of the problem

Why the software is needed. General considerations of the pedagogical issues. Something we have to keep in mind when developing the program (See the plan in the application)

Description of the software

(See the plan in the application)

Features and functional capacities

Table listing the features and their priority.

Other requirements

Platforms, web, tools


There is a web-pased interface. Other usability considreations, plans for user manuals etc.

Long-term plans and maintenance

Prototypical conversations

Examples of how the conversation could proceed.

Dialogue 1. Oahpásmuvvan.

  • M: Buorre beaivi!
  • S: Ipmel atti! / Buorre beaivi! / Buorre beaivi fal!
  • M: Gii don leat?
  • S: Mun lean Anne. / Anne. (The question allows also this kind of answer: Mun lean studeanta. The machine could compare to the Prop-lex? If it can´t handle it, we could use "Mii du namma lea?")
  • M: Mun lean Risten. Suohtas deaivat du, Anne. Gos don orut? (demands Loc)
  • S: Mun orun Romssas.
  • M: Gos don leat eret? (demands Loc)
  • S: Mun lean Omasvuonas eret./ Omasvuonas.
  • M: Leat go barggus?
  • S: De lean. (pos > question(s) about work)
  • S: In leat. / (In.) (mainverb should be compulsory)
  • M: Gos don barggat? (demands Loc)
  • S: Mun barggan skuvllas. / Skuvllas.
  • M: Leago dus biila?
  • S: De lea. / Mus lea (biila/Ford). / Lea. / Ii leat. / Mus ii leat biila.
  • More tricky answers: Mus leamaš biila. Mus lei biila ovdal.

Question types

What kind of questions the computer asks together with different types of answers. Two kinds of questions, Wh- and go-questions. Wh-questions: Case of wh-word tells which case the noun should have in the answer. If the student uses wrong case, then she gets response, and she gets the same question again. And then she gets a new question with the same kind of wh-word so she learns it better.

Go-questions: In some dialogs a positive answer will lead to a new section of questions, f.i. if the student answer that she has got a car, then the machine asks 3-4 questions about the car, before the machine continue. The questions about the car, can be single questions (like how old the car is, what kind of, what colour, is it a good car), so it is not important for the machine to "understand" the answer. Go-questions are especially for training verb-inflection, so the main verb can be compulsory, so the student has to train it.


Jugatgo gáfe? (demands presence and Acc)

Different possible answers together with comments:

  • Jugan / Mun jugan / De jugan / Juo, mun jugan. (verbinflection is the same)
  • In. (mainverb should be compulsory for ped. reasons)
  • In juga. / In juga gáfe / In juga maidege. (verbinflection is the same, "maidege" is Acc)
  • In juga gáfe, mun jugan deaja. (neg pres. verb + Acc, pos pres. verb + Acc)


Maid don jugat? (demands presence and Acc)

  • Bruvssa. (Acc - mainverb should be compulsory for ped. reasons)
  • Mun jugan bruvssa. (presence and Acc)
  • In juga maidege (neg pres + Acc).


The questions are grouped in settings, we could also have settings with pictures, and ask about things the student will see in the picture, f.i. articles in a shop with prices, and ask the students what she will buy, what it will cost and so on.. or a map and ask the student about travelling, training place-cases.

Other responses to the user.

The other things that the computer says, like "I like coffee too", followed by the next question. These are described in more detail in each dialogue, but something general guidlines, ideas, situations where the computer can comment the user could be listed here.

Comment type 1.

The computer should have a personality and it´s own "lifestory", like name, age, where she/he lives, kind of work and so on, and could make comments like: "I live in Tromsø. Where do you live?" "I am 30 years old. How old are you?" It will make the conversation more natural, and also be good teaching because the student will get a model for her own answer, especially when the computer is introducing a new kind of question. We could use this way of conversation also in the settings, like in the store: "I want to buy a book. What do you want to buy?" "My book costs 50 kr. How much does your pencil cost?" With a map: "I will go to Rovaniemi. Where will you go?"

A "personality" will make it possible for the computer to give some funny comments about herself. It will also give the impression of a two-way communication, the student will get information about the other part. And it should have f.i. four alternative personalities. When the student begins, she has to fill out a form, about sex and what kind of school she is at, or if she is an adult. It the computer is a young boy, then the computer is a boy with hobby like football, and the computer will not ask: "Do you hav a car?", and so on.

Tutorial dialogue

(I just write here some of my considerations, please rewrite where needed) The system gives feedback and makes suggestions on the basis of errors produced by the user. The language of the feedback? If we have feedback only in Sámi, then it must be really simple (avoid grammatical terms). (Should it avoid grammtical terms? If the users are pupils/students, then there should be grammatical terms. Lene). It is not difficult to do different versions of feedback for different languages, since the sentences that are used in feedback are static.

The tutorial dialogue can be implemented as part of the general dialogue as: -What did you buy? - I buy bread. - Did you mean: You bought bread? (perhaps alternatives) - Yes ... Or the tutorial dialogue can be separate from the actual dialogue, it can be a pop-up window or something more pleasant: a side bar that contains the feedback, or.. (should be separated from the actual dialogue. Lene)

Altenative (Lene). The tutorial dialogue should be in a pop-up window/side bar and not implemented as part of the general dialogue. Every time the student type an incorrect answer, she gets help from the sidebar/pop-up, and then she has to type again. When she has succeeded to type a correct answer, then the computer continue. But there should be a kind of "emergency exit" after f.i. 4 feedbacks.

The feedback could even be personalised, so that there is a "teacher" correcting.

There are different kinds of errors and feedback:

Orthographical error - the computer doesn´t know the word. The computer runs the standard spellchecking test, with a large editing distance (3!), (delete, add, exchange 1,2,3... times) but on a limited set of words:

1. orthographical error

  • a. common answering words for all dialogues
  • b. dialogue-specific words for each dialogue
  • Mus lea brufssa
  • 1. feedback: "Wrong word form. Let´s try again.".
  • 2. feedback: "Did you mean bruvssa?" or "Did you mean bruvssa or __?"

If the student uses a word (correct spelling) which is not in the computers lexicon/set, then it coul be like:

  • Minulla on konjakkia
  • Tarkotatko että sinulla on kotikaljaa?

2. verbinflection or case error - the question demands special kind of verbinflection and case.

  • Maid don jugat? (demands Acc)
  • Mun jugan gáffe. (wrong case)
  • 1. feedback: "Slightly wrong case. Let´s try again."
  • 2. feedback: "Answer should be in accusative."
  • 3. feedback. "Do you want to learn about accusative? (link) Try again."
  • 4. feedback: "Try to use ......."
  • 5. feedback: "Let´s change subject...." or something nicer....

If the user fails then give the correct alternatives "Perhaps you meant __ or __?". It would be an idea to use sets, f.i. LIQUIDS. So if the student spell "brufssa" instead of "bruvssa", then she first get as responce that there is a wrong spelling, second would be correct alternatives, but only from the LIQUID set. The speller of today, gives also alternative like "Bruåsa"..... We have already some sets in the sme-dis.rle, and I could improve them (also good for the sme-dis.)

How the user responds to the feedback? Does she merely choose from the list or is she required to write the sentence again? (Lene: The student should write again, and then afterwards get 1-2 questions of the same grammatical kind so she get training.)

The form of the feedback is created beforehand. The feedback is different in different situations. We probably want to "teach" the user, give grammatical information, reasons why the form she used is wrong, etc. The types of feedback have to be thought carefully. (I just add couple of examples, please fill in the list of feedback sentences in desired languages.)

Word was not recognized, there is a spelling error.

  • 1. feedback: "Wrong word form".
  • 2. feedback: "Did you mean __?" or "Did you mean __ or __?"

Word is recognized, but it's not in the correct form.

  • 1. feedback: "Wrong word form".
  • 2. feedback: "The word __ is in __ form, but this sentence requires __ form which is __"

(Next type..)

Comparison with the existing approaches

(Did you find any? links and comments here)