I would like to offer a test for the seriousness of the claim that a computer has a conscience. I will only accept this claim from someone who is willing to give a present to a computer. If he answers: “But that’s impossible!” I will reply: “Indeed! The computer does not have a world but only pieces of information that it processes by means of pre-programmed procedures, which it can do much better than us. In comparison, we can be quite appalled upon realizing that we act like a computer program, without sense or reason, and without any consideration of the world in which we live.” (Schröder, 1998)1


The concept of intelligence as applied to Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL2) have been a source of contention since the early 1980s. The actual and potential contributions of Artifi cial Intelligence research and techniques to CALL has been exaggerated (O’Brien, 1993), misunderstood (Last, 1989), and doubted (Salaberry, 1996). At the same time, areas of Artifi cial Intelligence which are relevant to CALL, such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), Student Modeling (SM), and Intelligent Language Tutoring Systems (ILTSs) have played a signifi cant role in the development of our thinking about CALL, its design and implementation. For instance, Nerbonne (2003), in his chapter on NLP in CALL in the Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistics, argues that recent advances in NLP have much to contribute to CALL. Borin et al. (2003) put forward a similar argument in their proposal to the European Union to establish a Network of Excellence (Supporting Second Language Acquisition with Human Language Technology (SLAinTe)). They ascertain that there is a need for research in this area because recent research in language technology has had little impact on approaches in CALL.