The Impact of Lexical Simplification by Verbal Paraphrases for People with and without Dyslexia

  • Luz Rello
  • Ricardo Baeza-Yates
  • Horacio Saggion
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7817)


Text simplification is the process of transforming a text into an equivalent which is easier to read and to understand, preserving its meaning for a target population. One such population who could benefit from text simplification are people with dyslexia. One of the alternatives for text simplification is the use of verbal paraphrases. One of the more common verbal paraphrase pairs are the one composed by a lexical verb (to hug) and by a support verb plus a noun collocation (to give a hug). This paper explores how Spanish verbal paraphrases impact the readability and the comprehension of people with and without dyslexia dyslexia. For the selection of pairs of verbal paraphrases we have used the Badele.3000 database, a linguistic resource composed of more than 3,600 verbal paraphrases. To measure the impact in reading performance and understandability, we performed an eye-tracking study including comprehension questionnaires. The study is based on a group of 46 participants, 23 with confirmed dyslexia and 23 control group. We did not find significant effects, thus tools that can perform this kind of paraphrases automatically might not have a large effect on people with dyslexia. Therefore, other kinds of text simplification might be needed to benefit readability and understandability of people with dyslexia.


Lexical simplification verbal paraphrases readability understandability eye-tracking dyslexia 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luz Rello
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ricardo Baeza-Yates
    • 1
    • 3
  • Horacio Saggion
    • 2
  1. 1.Web Research Group, Dept. of Information and Communication TechnologiesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Natural Language Processing Research Group, Dept. of Information and Communication TechnologiesUniversitat Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Yahoo! ResearchBarcelonaSpain

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