CoWriting Kazakh: Transitioning to a New Latin Script using Social Robots

Anton Kim, Meruyert Omarova, Adil Zhaksylyk, Thibault Asselborn,Wafa Johal, Pierre Dillenbourg, Anara Sandygulova

In the Republic of Kazakhstan, the transition from Cyrillic towards Latin alphabet raises challenges to teach the whole population a new script. This paper presents a CoWriting Kazakh system that aims to implement an autonomous behaviour of a social robot that would assist children in learning the new script. Considering the fact that the current generation of primary school children has to be fluent in both Kazakh scripts, this exploratory study aims to investigate which learning approach provides a better outcome. Participants were asked to teach a humanoid robot NAO how to write Kazakh words using one of the scripts, Latin vs Cyrillic.

We hypothesise that it is more effective when a child converts the word to Latin rather than having the robot perform the conversion itself. The findings reject this hypothesis, but further research is needed as it is suggested that the way the pre-test was performed might have caused the results.