CALL in Second Language Acquisition: Introducing a German



CALL in Second Language Acquisition: Introducing a German
CALL in Second Language Acquisition: Introducing a German
Textbook Based Translation Game in a Geneva Middle School Class
Claudia Baur
Université de Genève (Switzerland)
[email protected]
This paper will present the results of a preliminary study that aims at the evaluation of the benefit that
can be achieved by introducing CALL-SLT in Second Language Acquisition. CALL-SLT is a webbased CALL application, based on Wang and Seneff’s Translation Game. The language learner is
confronted with an abstract sentence, which has to be uttered in the second language (cf. Table 1).
The speech recogniser and the machine translation system then process the utterance and analyse if
it is grammatically correct and if it corresponds to the sense of the initially presented sentence.
Additionally, according feedback is given to the learner, as can be seen in the screenshot below.
Abstract sentences
Dis ce que tu fais : BADMINTON
Dis où tu aimes aller : CINÉMA
Dis quand arrête la fête : 11H
Examples of covered utterances
- Ich spiele Badminton.
- Ich spiele Federball.
- Ich gehe gern ins Kino.
- Ich mag gern ins Kino gehen.
- Gern gehe ich ins Kino.
- Die Party hört um elf Uhr auf.
- Um elf hört die Party auf.
- Das Fest hört um elf Uhr auf.
Table 1
Screenshot of the CALL-SLT application
The CALL-SLT application has already been tested with positive results for various language pairs
and domains. The research project at hand now aims at the integration of CALL-SLT in Geneva
middle schools in order to supplement regular German school instruction. The distinguishing
characteristic of the study is that it is based on a German textbook, which allows for an evaluation of
the value added by CALL in Second Language Acquisition in a specific setting. The evaluation topics
include improvement in linguistic performance, such as grammar, vocabulary, oral fluency and
pronunciation, as well as the overall satisfaction and the increase in motivation to learn German as a
foreign language with CALL. For this study 12-year old pupils of a German language class were
introduced to CALL-SLT and were asked to use the application on a regular basis for a period of three
month. A written placement test was repeated in the end of the study to keep track of the pupils’
written skills. The oral productive skills are measured by recording the pupils’ performance when using
the CALL application. The final paper will summarize the results of this preliminary study and will show
how CALL-SLT can motivate pupils to learn a foreign language and how NLP integrated in CALL can
help them practice not only written, but more importantly oral productive skills which are often
neglected in school teaching, due to large school classes.