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Outline The Ways Computing Can Aid The Language Learner. How Significant Is The Computer's Role?"

915 words - 4 pages

Today, computers help us with almost anything. The internet especially has drastically increased in size and usage since the first concept in the early 60's. As bandwidth size has increased during the years, the amount of data that can be sent has increased. The world wide web, which really took off in the early nineties, is a major part of the internet. It is probably one of the most useful things one can do with a computer and a modem. Texts are of course now frequently available in electronic (machine readable) form. They can be easily acquired from sources such as the ESRC Data Archive, or, quality of text permitting, can be read into a computer via an optical character reader (OCR). To research a topic on the internet, all one needs to do is type in the query on a search engine, (a program which finds data over the whole of the world wide web) such as yahoo.com, and then all the links required are shown. For the language learner, he or she can research a topic further, find links to foreign web sites, translate words and sentences and even chat to a foreign person across the world! Personally, I have found the internet especially useful when I want to find out more about a subject studied in lectures. It is so simple to just type in the keyword of the subject and then all the relevant links appear. The internet can also be used purely to read foreign articles, news, current affairs, etc. to improve reading and vocabulary, which is invaluable.Today, it is difficult to escape from the Net. We constantly read, see and hear about it in the news, and more recently, many adverts on the television encouraging us to visit their sites. It won't be long before we see language aiding internet sites that advertise on the television.Thousands and thousands of language aiding programs have been written for the computer. Again, in the early nineties, multimedia took off, which incorporates sound and vision on the computer. With a single CD-ROM, a whole encyclopaedia can be accessed, for a fraction of the price and space of twenty books. It is multimedia which has made learning on the computer so much more interesting than from textbooks. The language learner (in my case) has a set of headphones and a microphone, and he or she can record their voice into the computer, and the answer can be checked and played back with the correct sentence. Texts can be drawn from the internet, then grammar and structural excercises can be used on the text to improve language skills. I currently use programs on the Royal Holloway language computers called "GramEx" and "GramDef". These programs have pre-built in...

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