Language Matters Past Events

Reord: An Old English Screen-Reader for Visually Disabled Language Learners”

Britt Mize & Rebecca Baumgarten (ENGL)

February 12, 2021

View presentation here.

Screen-reading software, which creates a computerized voice output for digital text, is widely used by people who do not see written text well enough to work with it in that format.  However, existing screen readers cannot handle Old English, making the study of the Old English language almost impossible for visually disabled students.  Our project was to develop a speech-synthesizer computer interface that could audibly represent texts written in Old English for learning purposes.  This is not the same as listening to a recording of a text read aloud; what’s essential for historical language study is the ability to navigate freely through a text, isolating individual words or spellings, and to move easily back and forth between the primary text and learning tools such as glossaries and grammars.  Our solution, an interactive software plugin which we call Reord, was developed during summer 2020 and was used successfully in a fall 2020 graduate Old English seminar.

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