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Advanced language learners can test their English, German or Spanish proficiency in 3.5 minutes here using Exhale

2014/05/23 4 comments

Update: A new version of the Spanish vocabulary test is here, and the English vocabulary test has been updated here.

Go here and click English or German, or  (also requiring only 3.5 minutes to take, but more for  manually grading your test with this answer key) go here for Spanish, if you want to to take a simple quick vocabulary test that has been shown to correlate well with general proficiency.  You can find more info here on English and German, and here on Spanish.

Paper @ CALICO 2014: Using NLP Platforms for Language Learning Material Production

…has been accepted for inclusion in the program for CALICO 2014, May 9-10 at Ohio University, (Athens, OH) and was presented on May 9: Here are abstract and slide deck:

How to install and use a free dictionary/encyclopedia app in MS-Word 2013

Installing is easy (our example is Wikipedia): Right-click a word, pick “define” from the  context menu, the click download in the side pane for the app you choose.

image

Usage is also easy: To look up phrases, select, right-click and choose define: imageimage

To look up individual words, you can also just double-click the word: image

You can also click “Expand”: image

To install more dictionaries after the first one, click Insert / Apps for Office. imageimage

You can search for your L2 (too many to list): image

It works for base forms: image

But I cannot lemmatize (ouch): image

I found out that when I go to Insert/ My Apps/ See all : image, I can show more than one app in the side pane.

image

However,how o I change the default lookup that happens on double click on a word?

Example 5: Watch how you can dictate to Windows speech-recognition (e.g. in English) and correct results in MS-Word

  1. Important: Listen carefully: I am not a native speaker, but have a reasonably low amount of errors, because it enunciate, speak clearly and slowly, and separate the words.
  2. Consider it part of the exercise that you will have to re-read and re-type some your output – use track changes in MS-Word:
    1. Make it a game: How good can you get?
    2. If you get really good at it, make a screencast like this one and include it in your Mahara ePortfolio  as authentic evidence of your foreign language proficiency.
  3. Overall, it’s like how I refer to cycling: Beats walking. Anytime. Smiley

A first look at the Google Dictionary extension for Chrome

  1. We
    1. have not pre-installed in the LRC (for that the extension would need to be more manageable by the teacher during face-to-face classes, which include exams),
    2. but can (with some reservations) recommend the Google Dictionary extension (even though it is only available for Chrome). Here is why:
  2. Google dictionary extension provides an interface to Google define and translate
    1. that is convenient (as quickly accessed like glosses) for reading activities in many languages (Q: is the privileged word sense displayed here intelligently chosen?)
    2. while (for some languages more than for others) providing access to additional word senses, usage examples and historical background information
  3. Interface 1: Tooltip,
    1. for English with audio image
    2. for other languages without audio (even though audio pronunciation may be available in Google translate for that language): image
    3. convenient access (I have been loving the tooltip interface since Google toolbar days)
    4. limited, but useful  information,
      1. a word sense – not that this is still not contextually intelligent (Cannot blame them here!) and hence more than one word sense should be offered (here I must blame them: Boo!!): E.g.  here “arch” should at show more than the most common word sense: imageimage
      2. including pronunciation (not IPA, but audio)
    5. Interface 2 (“more”)
      1. For English, a click on “more” leads to the Google “define”search operator (the related etymology search operator has been reviewed here before): image
      2. Interface 3: unfold the search results by clicking on the down arrow at the bottom to access additional information:image =
        1. additional word sense entries
        2. historical:
          1. etymology
          2. frequency data
        3. translation/dictionary entry:
          1. for our learners of languages other than English, the translation appears right in the tool tip, see above;
          2. for our ESL learners, this seems a few too many steps for accessing this information, although a monolingual dictionary is useful in many instances also.
    6. For languages other than English, a click on more leads to Google translate, which (should get its own article, but for what it is worth) can be
      1. more limiting than “define”: While you are given multiple word senses for
        1. Spanish: image
        2. and to a lesser extent, for
          1. Arabic: image
          2. Hindi: image
      2. for many languages the results are much more limiting:
        1. Even if you look up German or French, you revert back to the (pedagogically terrible) single word-sense original “translation” interface ) image
        2. For East Asian languages, you get Roman alphabet transcriptions
          1. e.g. Chinese with Pinyin: image
          2. e.g. Japanese: image
  4. Still no per-user tracking? Here it would make sense for the user.

LRC Faculty Showcase: Enhancing reading fluency in Spanish through Online Courses

  1. The videos of the presentation by Maria Mahaffey, Emily Kristoff and Shaun Stone on SPAN2200, using Hot Potatoes exercises in Moodle, and the ensuing discussion, are available on the intranet:
  2. PowerPoint screencast with audio: “S:\CLAS\LCS\MYDEPT\mahaffey\span2200\showcase\SLP_2014_PowerPoint.wmv” (size: 130MB).
  3. Video with presenter and PowerPoint on projector: “S:\CLAS\LCS\MYDEPT\mahaffey\span2200\showcase\showcase-SLP-2014.mp4” (size:410MB).

How to workaround AntWordProfiler error “Cannot open the file”

  1. Seems a little bug in this otherwise great program. I started getting this on Windows 7 64-bit with
  2. clip_image003for all files, no matter which size.
  3.   It occurred to me to go to menu: Settings/ global settings / file settings / show full pathnames
  4. Here is what you see: Note the duplicate path to the file.
  5. clip_image001
  6. How did I get there? Seems like you cannot take my usual preferred shortcut and paste the full file path into the browse dialogue.
  7. If I browse to the file and select, the same botched up double path does not appear:
  8. clip_image002
  9. I can then process the file fine. image