On detection of malapropisms by multistage collocation testing
Malapropism is a (real-word) error in a text consisting in unintended replacement of one content word by another existing content word similar in sound but semantically incompatible with the context and thus destructing text cohesion, e.g.: they travel around the word. We present an algorithm of malapropism detection and correction based on evaluating the cohesion. As a measure of semantic compatibility of words we consider their ability to form syntactically linked and semantically admissible word combinations (collocations), e.g: travel (around the) world. With this, text cohesion at a content word is measured as the number of collocations it forms with the words in its immediate context. We detect malapropisms as words forming no collocations in the context. To test whether two words can form a collocation, we consider two types of resources: a collocation DB and an Internet search engine, e.g., Google. We illustrate the proposed method by classifying, tracing, and evaluating several English malapropisms.
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