Bot Talk e apprendimento linguistico. L’uso dei Chatbot per lo sviluppo della competenza comunicativa nella lingua straniera

Francesca Mazzilli


The purpose of this study is to identify the potential of chatbots in the academic foreign language learning. A chatbot is a software which is capable of chatting with other human and non-human users in a natural language. Even though this technology is mostly used in the business world, its relevance in the field of Digital Humanities has constantly grown recently. After a brief introduction to the chatbot technology, the study focuses on the main characteristics of human-computer interaction (HCI). Phenomena such as quasi-coherence, computer (or bot) talk, and quasi-alignment play a very important role in HCI, which is shown by several examples of interactions with two chatbots: Elbot and Cleverbot. Starting from these characteristics, the study considers the potential of chatbots in the language learning process by answering the following question: in what way does language education change if chatbots intervene in the learning/teaching process? The study describes the reconfiguration of the relationship studentlanguage-teacher through the intervention of technology as interlocutor. The traditional configuration of the didactic triangle turns into a didactic tetrahedron. In comparison to the triangle, the tetrahedron has three dimensions and is more flexible and multidirectional. At the end, a didactic proposal for enhancing communicative competence by interacting with a chatbot in an academic context is described, also with reference to disabled (especially visually impaired) students.


language acquisition; chatbot; digital humanities

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