FlexLex: supporting alphabetic writing

Writing grammatically correct sentences is not something you are born with, it has to be learned. Symbol users often not only have to deal with symbols, but with alphabetical text as well. If the goal is to learn to write alphabetical text, Flexlex can offer the necessary support. The module Flexlex comprises three parts: grammar support, word prediction and translation of symbols into text. These components are explained below:

Grammar support

The goal of WWAAC (World Wide Augmentative and Alternative Communication), the European project with Handicom as a project manager, was to search for a method to help symbol users make grammatically correct texts. The results of this project have been used to design the Flexlex component Grammar Support. When used in a program, the Grammar Support is situated in the vocabulary window and is shaped as a vocabulary page. The first page is the grammar starting page. On this page, the symbol user has to indicate whether they want to

Then the program shows a number of possibilities to start the sentence. After each choice a number of grammatically logical choices are shown. The user doesn't have to figure out on their own which phrase has to follow the preceding words. The thinking is in the card that is used for Grammar Support.

Word Prediction

Word prediction is started up as soon as in the vocabulary a "word prediction"page is selected. When the user selects a letter, a number of words appear in a column on the left. If three dots follow a word, this means this word can have different conjugations. When selected, all conjugations are shown. A word can be accepted with or without a space behind it. Without a space, composite words can be written easily and quickly. It is possible to add words in a separate list. The words in this list get priority over the words in the other vocabularies the Word prediction works with.

Translating symbols into text

FlexLex can translate a series of symbols into fluent text. "Why" + "to have" + "past tense" becomes "Why had?". This can be used with Grammar Support, but it can also be used in other programs, like the Document Maker. Flexlex is programmed to conjugate words on the condition that the words are entered in the correct order.