[s][h][a][r][e] language

Introduction to Computers, Language & Literacy

Speech Accent Archive - is an interesting web site which I have examined from the perspective of a language teacher.
  • Target Language - English
  • The purpose of this web site would be to examine the pronunciation of a paragraph of text by second language students from many different native languages. This site would help the language teacher gain insights as to how native languages influence the pronunciation of English as a second language. The site presents an audio file of readers from many different first languages. Each reader's bio is displayed for the user to examine. The bio indicates the speaker's birthplace, native language, age, age of English onset, the method through which the reader learned English (academic or naturalistic), English residence and length of English residence. A phoenetic transcription is included next to the spoken text.
  • This would be a valuable resource for an ESL teacher to prepare to teach a new student. If the student is coming from a background that they had not previously encountered, they could gain insights as to how this student might pronounce English words based on the pronunciation of their native tongue.

Babel Fish Translator - I particularly love this web site because you can imbed HTML in your web site which will link to Babel Fish which translates your web site's text into nine different languages! This is useful for a language learner, a language teacher or a linguist. Click on a flag in the box below to try it! It will redisplay this page in the language you select.
  • For the language learner - you can toggle back and forth between the English that this site is written in and a language that you are learning. If the student's native language is one of the eight provided for translation, then they can toggle back and forth between their translated native language and the English that they are learning. Babel Fish can be accessed directly at the address http://babelfish.altavista.com/babelfish/. The Babel site allows you to choose any web site to be translated to a selected language. Yes, a clever language learner could input an English paragraph and generate their homework. My comment listed below under precautions shows that a generated translation is not necessarily the vernacular being reinforced in the classroom.
  • For the language teacher - a wiki or webquest can be created in one language and translated into another by the student. Phrases, paragraphs, poems or even chapters of a book could be studied through the use of the Babel link.
  • For the linguist, I believe that the Babel site provides a constructivist approach to language learning. The student can build their knowledge at their own pace by toggling back and forth between two languages. A behaviorist exercise of drill and practice could be implemented by providing a page of vocabulary words on a wiki page. The student could edit their translation of the word onto the page and then Babel the results to test their work. Click here for an example.
  • There are several precautions to be considered in the use of the Babel website. The translations generated through this site are very literal in nature. For example, I list two questions in the BabelVocab page. One is "What is your name?" and the other is "How are you called?" By just listing the first question, the translater does not generate the apppropriate vernacular question. In French, the generated response is "Quel est votre nom?". This is literally, "What is your name?" In French, however, the question is actually, "How are you called?" This generates the correct vernacular question, "Comment vous appelez-vous?" This, however, can be worked into the lesson plan to properly teach the vernacular of the question and the customs of the country being studied. I believe that the Babel website provides a great "springboard" for language learning.

Middle School Success - Interactive Picture Dictionary of Languages
This software package, entitled EuroTalk Mult-Media Dictionary, is a very pretty presentation of vocabulary and clear image examples of the word to be learned. From a linguist's point of view, this is a Behaviorist approach. Points are given when you click and drag the word to the slot beneath the picture. Clear audio pronunciation is provided. The screenshot shown below is an easy level quiz provided by the software.