MOLKI A SOFTWARE TO FACILITATE ITALIAN CHILDREN IN LEARNING ENGLISH

G. Città1, L. Collerone1, C. Castriciano1, G. Buttafuoco2

1University of Messina (ITALY)
2Neomedia s.r.l. (ITALY)
The goal of this work is to show the theoretical basis and the most important steps in the realization of an educational software named MOLKI (MOre Language for KIds) that can help the children of the first classes of the Italian primary school to learn English.

The theoretical basis of the implementation of such software is the research on the acquisition of language and the neurobiology of language related to phenomena closely linked to cognitive development such as the attention. A research that takes into account the information from the various approaches of Cognitive Science.

Starting from linguistic corpora of native English-speaking children, taken from CHILDES (Child Language Data Exchange System), a list of high-frequency content words has been extracted following both syntactic and semantic criteria.

For each high-frequency word a list of all the expressions in which it occurs in the language input was drafted. In particular this list will act as a linguistic input with which the child, at school, by means of MOLKI will interact through a digital reader and a set of adequate representations of the contexts of use in which the expressions occur.

Our ultimate purpose therefore is to create an educational device that can improve the learning of a foreign language from the actual use of words. A software that will start from the way in which the high-frequency words are usually uttered, perceived, used and acquired by children on the basis of the input they receive.