Computer-ondersteund talenonderwijs
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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In second language teaching a great deal of attention is paid to the learning of communicative skills. The computer program PRESTIGE (Productive and Receptive English, a Smart Tutor and Intelligent Generator of Exercises) subscribes to the views currently held in communicative language teaching. Among these are learning the meaning of a word through deduction of the word's meaning from contexts, and emphasizing the use of productive language. The computer program PRESTIGE, written in PROLOG, consists of several parts:A parser, which checks if syntax, spelling and inflection of pupils' input sentences, words, and verbs are correct. The parser is the heart of the program, and is capable of analysing most English sentence structures which are used in the first years of secondary education.A database of descriptions of words and context sentences in everyday English (taken from Collins COBUBLD English Language Dictionary). Both databases can be consulted by the pupil at any moment and thus constitute an extensive help facility.A database of texts. These texts are taken from a method called "Notting Hill Gate" (Malmberg).A generator of exercises. The program is able to generate exercises for both receptive and productive language use.Receptive: a story fragment is selected from the database. For every word, pupils can ask for a description (in English) or for a context sentence in which the word is used.Productive: several different exercises can be generated. They vary from cloze texts: the parser leaves out words that belong to a certain grammatical class (adjectives, prepostions, etc.), to free language productions: writing a composition. Furthermore, exercises can be generated in which interrogative or negative sentences have to be made. When the pupil is writing a composition, the parser checks whether the sentences are grammatically correct. Here as well, all help options from the databases are available.Pupil registration. For every pupil the program keeps track of the words that (s)he has studied, what kind of help (s)he has asked for, and what the results of the exercises are.The advantage of PRESTIGE over existing courseware for second language teaching is the open structure of the program, which makes free input of language possible. In the article the possibilities of the parser are shown and illustrated by examples. The article concludes with a discussion of the uses of PRESTIGE as an intelligent generator of exercises, and some plans for further research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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