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Computational Linguistics

At its simplest, Computational Linguistics (or CL) is all about trying to create a computer which uses language in the same way as a human does. The Holy Grail would be a human having a conversation with a computer but thinking they were talking to a another human.

But this is just the tip of a giant linguistic dark continent which has never been fully mapped and since it…

Authoring for Computer Assisted Language Learning

Authoring is the term used to describe the ability to change the content in a CALL computer program.

For example, some off-the-shelf CALL programs come supplied with a bank of questions in English. However, these may not quite be suitable for a class in terms of level and content.

An authorable program, however, will allow the teacher to write their own questions and set different levels, etc. These questions…

AntConc‏‎ (CALL Software)

AntConc is a freeware concordancer and is very useful for searching through large swathes of texts to look for patterns of usage and so on.

As an example, the screenshot on the right shows a concordance search for the word, word. The program has searched through a number of corpora (collections of texts) and displays where the word word has occurred in context (known as KWIC or KeyWord in…

Rosetta Stone (CALL Software)

Rosetta Stone is the name of proprietary piece of software for language learning. The name comes from the Rosetta Stone, a large carved stone from Ancient Egypt‏‎ with a single text in 3 languages which was used as an aid to translation.

The principle of the Rosetta Stone software is the Audio-Lingual Method, that is using set phrases over and over again until they are drilled into the brain…

Action Mazes in TEFL

In an Action Maze students are put in a difficult situation and they need to decide what to do next. Often they’ll be given a few options to choose from.

As a result of their choice, the students are then faced with the next situation in the story and with other sets of options to choose from. Working through this branching tree is like negotiating a maze…