Computer Aided Language Learning Computer aided language learning, or


Computer aided language learning, or ‘CALL’ which started to flourish in the 1980’s, continues to be a very beneficial field of research. Now in the 21st Century there is an endless list of possible resources that are constantly improving due to the research done by programmers and computer linguists. While the Personal Computer industry was developed in English speaking countries, computers are more readily available internationally because of the integrated diacritics found in foreign alphabets.

There is an extensive list of programs that provide suitable language lessons, games, and tests. These learning programs have been tried, tested and proved to have true methodologies that guarantee success. Many websites have also dedicated their principles to offer such methods online for a monthly price, or limited lessons free of charge. Researchers using authentic foreign documents have the option to use online integrated translators, such as “Babel fish”. “While the methods used for translation are advanced, the service makes no claim to produce a perfect translation: the best that is claimed is that it can show the gist of a page or text.”

A wide range of recognized forums, such as “Englishforums.com”, are available online with dedicated members who offer their help and knowledge of the language to those in need. One can also subscribe to receive informative email newsletters that offer tips and tricks for learning and teaching. A variety of electronic media such as e-books and audio books are available online for purchase and download for the learner who is on the go with business or a busy college or university life.

The advanced learner can use ‘Encarta’ Encyclopedia for research in a variety of languages. The package includes dictionary software with an additional translation dictionary. The accuracy in today’s word processors spell and grammar check options are great ways to fine tune ones knowledge of the language being learned. Those who are disabled have the ability to control their computer by saying common commands. Practicing pronunciation is made easy with the use of speech recognition software like “Dragon Naturally Speaking” as one of the many examples available today. With these programs, a person can have their words converted into text while making a report, or writing an e-mail. The system is understandable, in theory: “The computer converts the audio into a digital format; the speech recognition software divides a word into phonemes and compares them to words in a built-in dictionary. The computer then decides which word is the best match and then displays it on the screen.”

Once a person becomes more comfortable with all of these available resources, the self taught speaker can move into real time communication with other speaker’s world wide with the use of online chat-rooms with the topic based around the English language itself. Here the learner will encounter formal and informal language, grammar and structure, vocabulary, jokes and idioms, to slang used around the world. Technology today allows chatters to use their microphones and web camera’s to create a more personal environment if they choose to do so.

A choice of e-learning and to take online courses in the language is available. Like the chat room, “whole-class teaching with interactive whiteboards, and the use of ‘blogs’ and ‘podcasts’” create a learning conference that can take place at a set time to connect with people around the country using your PC in the comfort of your own home.

In the near future, with the help of CALL, language learners could be self taught and highly achieved in the areas of foreign languages. As the price of computers and other technologies become more and more affordable, classrooms could become more integrated into the CALL philosophy as an effective, modern teaching method.