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Customizing Language Tool by Learner L1

(James Dev) #1

Hello, allow me to briefly introduce myself. I am an academic writing teacher in Japan and have recently discovered Language Tool through a link on Paul Rein’s site Apps4EFL. I can hardly express the extent of my enthusiasm for the project - for years I have been dreaming of this kind of tool for my learners and wondering if it existed. Now I know that it does, well at least sort of…

Allow me to explain. I spend my evenings teaching academic writing to Japanese learners of English preparing to take the IELTS test here. I see the same errors day in and day out and I wish I could get them to type up their essays on a modified version of Language Tool before submitting them to me so it could catch a lot of them. The profile of errors that Japanese students make is remarkably predictable (which I attribute to the remarkable similarity of teaching materials that they use - many of which contain fossilized errors of faulty English that are reprinted and become thought to be fact).

What I want to do is create a specialized version of LT for IELTS tasks 1 and 2 for Japanese learners of English. I also want to know if it’s possible to create versions of LT that apply only for certain questions that I choose from the IELTS test. If I were to do this then I think I could predict errors based on getting students to actually write and submit the questions and build up a kind of learner corpus of errors for LT to look for.

In order to achieve this do I need to learn to program in Java? Is it possible to make my own mods of LT without programming? Or do these have to be submitted to the new version that is compiled every 3 months?

Thanks in advance.

(Jan Schreiber) #2

Whether Java knowledge is required depends on the type of error you want to detect. Many errors can be detected by adding simple rules to an XML file. Please have a look at the rule editor (watch the video introduction) and tell us if you think it is powerful enough for your purposes.
An easy way would be to add your own IELTS category to the English grammar.xml file and copy it after every upgrade of LT.

(Tiago F. Santos) #3

Hi James (@freeway),

It is great to have another specialist being interested on this tool.
LanguageTool development is always constrained by developers/maintainers personal life and available time for development. It is also not easy to find people that are able to produce — or even know — rules that fit academic standards. This is specially true, for language teams that prefer to have very high detection correction in exchange for lower detection rates.
Try the basics with test rules, and read thoroughly the “Part of Speech” section, in order to understand better how LT encodes base form information.

Solid language rules use to apply to all levels of English and LanguageTool also allows you to test the rules that you may lecture.
If you are able to create solid rules (rules that do not have many unhandled exceptions), please share them here, so they may be included in the main branch and increase LanguageTool rate of development.
Many of us — me included — will appreciate.

Thank you for your interest.
Best regards.

(Mike Unwalla) #4

As an alternative to a specialized version of LT for IELTSs tasks, why don’t you deselect the rules (or tell your students to deselect the rules) that you don’t want to use?

To create a specialized version of LT that contains only the rules you want, delete all the rules from grammar.xml and add your rules. Also, you could keep your rules in an external file (

As others have written, if you develop good rules, please share them with the LT community.

(James Dev) #5

Please excuse my tardy reply. I think I could offer Lang Tool something (hopefully, a lot!) and will be looking into the advice that you gave me. Thanks and I’ll be back here in the future…