Children who need to use computer devices to speak can now hone their sense of humour, thanks to new software from Scotland that helps them make punning jokes.
Known as the System to Augment Non-speakers' Dialogue Using Puns, or Standup, the software was developed by researchers at Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh universities.
It has already been successfully tested with eight youngsters at a Glasgow school, allowing them to come up with such punning jokes as “What do you call a spicy missile? A hot shot.”
It solves one of the main problems with the computerized speech aids that already exist which, researchers say, might restrict the development of a child's language skills. The old speech aids stick to the basics and don't allow users spontaneity.
“The software makes simple puns by looking for suitable patterns in the words and phrases which are available to it,” said Graeme Ritchie of Aberdeen University's computing science department.
“In this project, the computer acts as a helper to the child by letting (him or her) browse through joke forms and try out words and phrases.”
Annalu Waller, from Dundee University's school of computing, added, “This research shows the importance of providing individuals with novel language.”
“It has been wonderful to see young people with complex communication needs taking ownership of puns and using them to take control of communication.”
The money for Standup comes from the British government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The software is planned to be ready for use by schools and speech therapists later this year.(AFP)
1. hone v.t.
琢磨 (zhuo2 mo2)
例: If you really want to hone a skill, you have to practice it often.
2. spontaneity n.
自發性 (zi4 fa1 xing4) ，心血來潮 (xin1 xie3 lai2 chao2)
例: You need more spontaneity in your life. Let's get tattoos!
3. browse v.i.
瀏覽 (liu2 lan3)
例: I love to go to bookstores and browse through the shelves.
4. novel adj.
新奇的 (xin1 qi2 de5)
例: When Tim first came to Taipei, eating plain white rice was a novel idea to him.