Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning/Input

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The concept of input is perhaps the single most important concept of second language acquisition. . . . In fact, no model of second language acquisition does not avail itself of input in trying to explain how learners create second language grammars (Gass, 1997, p. 1)
We cannot ignore the fact that learners need access to abundant amounts of comprehensible input in order for acquisition to happen. (Wong, 2005, p. 34)

Introduction[edit]

While there is disagreement among second language acquisition (SLA) researchers and theorists concerning many aspects of SLA, there is quite broad consensus on the obvious importance of input in acquiring a FL. That is, in order for spoken and/or written competence in a FL to be acquired, the language must be encountered in spoken and/or written form.

In addition, there is increasing evidence that the amount of input, that is, the frequency with which various forms of language are encountered is an important determining factor in SLA. Ellis (2002) has reviewed how several aspects of language acquisition, including phonology, orthography, vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, depend on the frequency of exposure. This is also the case for first language acquisition as it has been shown that native English speakers take less time to produce the past tense form of frequent irregular verbs (e.g., went) compared to less frequent irregular verbs (e.g., slung) (Prasada, Pinker, et al., 1990; Seidenberg & Bruck 1990).

Ellis (2002) summarizes the importance of input frequency in language acquisition thus:

For language learners to be accurate and fluent in their generalizations they need to have processed sufficient exemplars that their accidental and finite experience is truly representative of the total population of language of the speech community in terms of its overall content, the relative frequencies of that content, and the mappings of form to functional interpretation. The enormity of the lexical pool, the range of frequencies from 60,000 per million down to 1 per million and below, and the wide range of different linguistic constructions, when considered from the point of view of sampling theory, makes it clear that the necessary representative experience for fluency must be vast indeed. (p. 167)

So the case has been made that language learners need considerable exposure to the target language if they hope to attain any useful degree of fluency in it. And it becomes less of a puzzle to understand why FL learners, particularly those who attempt to acquire a FL in settings lacking extensive exposure to the language, typically fall far short of anything approaching native speaker fluency in their FL. <<add Cummins info here about hours of exposure in traditional and immersion classes>>

If frequent exposure to a FL is necessary for its acquisition, the question then arises as to the kind of input that is best for developing proficiency. One well known and highly influential (and controversial) answer to this question has been provided by Krashen in a series of articles and books on SLA theory and practice (Krashen, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1992, 1994, 1997). Krashen’s theory of SLA consists of five major hypotheses, the one of most relevance here being the Input Hypothesis (Krashen, 1981, p. 100). The Input Hypothesis states that in order for language acquisition to occur, the input must have an appropriate degree of difficulty. The appropriate level of difficulty, according to Krashen, is what he calls level i + 1, that is, just a bit beyond the learner’s current ability (i), but not so difficult to seriously impair comprehension nor so easy that no new language challenges are encountered. By encountering a constant but small proportion of new language forms among familiar ones in a meaningful, communicative context, the learner is able to infer the meaning and function of the new forms using the linguistic and extralinguistic context provided by the situation.

All of Krashen’s hypotheses about SLA have been criticized by other SLA theorists and researchers over the last quarter-century, including his Input Hypothesis. Concerning the latter, it has been noted that there is no clear way to know what i + 1 would be for any particular learner (Gregg, 1984; White, 1987) and no way to make sure a learner is exposed to input at i + 1 rather than i + 0 (too easy) or i + 2 (too hard). But in spite of these problems, it is nonetheless the case that the notion of i + 1 enjoys general acceptance in many fields of learning, such as Ausubel’s (1963) theory of verbal learning and Vygotsky’s (1978) Zone of Proximal Development to account for the development of higher mental skills. The matching of a task’s challenge to the learner’s skill is also an important component of the Flow Theory as developed by Csikszentmihalyi (see Egbert, 2003). Ways of exposing language learners to i + 1 input will be considered later below.

The field of SLA has gone through many changes since sustained scientific study of the acquisition, learning, and teaching of second languages began in the 1950s. While much work still needs to be done in the field and much disagreement remains concerning many key aspects of second language acquisition, learning, and teaching, there appears to be a developing consensus concerning the necessary and optimal conditions for acquiring a second language as an adult. Necessary (if not sufficient) conditions include lots of comprehensible input in aural and/or written form, at least some of which is slightly beyond the linguistic ability of the learner, but still largely comprehensible given the linguistic and extralinguistic context and the learner’s real-world knowledge. We will now explore the ways in which the Internet can be used to provide such input to autonomous second language learners.


Multimedia[edit]

Multilingual[edit]

Text[edit]

Without a doubt, the most important recent technological development for accessing foreign languages in text form is the Internet and World Wide Web. Before the global spread of the Internet, it was difficult or impossible in many places in the world to find interesting reading material in foreign languages. Today, anyone within reach of the Web has quick and easy access to a vast amount of texts in almost all of the world's languages.

In this section an overview of interesting texts in foreign languages available on the Web will be provided as well as ideas for making these texts understandable and accessible.

Newspapers and News Articles[edit]

Multilingual Directories[edit]

  • Google News provides a continuously updated, user-modifiable selection of news articles that can easily be changed from one language to another using a drop-down menu. Articles are provided from various news sources in Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish targeting readers in Austria (German), Argentina (Spanish), Australia (English), Belgium (Flemish & French), Canada (English & French), Chile (Spanish), China (Chinese), Colombia (Spanish), Cuba (Spanish) Germany (German), France (French), Hong Kong (Chinese), India (English), Ireland (English), Israel (Hebrew), Italy (Italian), Korea (Korean), Mexico (Spanish), New Zealand (English), Peru (Spanish), Portugal (Portuguese), Spain (Spanish), Switzerland (French & German), Taiwan (Chinese), the United Kingdom (English) the United States (English & Spanish) and Venezuela (Spanish).
  • AllYouCanRead.com boasts links to “26,500 magazines and newspapers from 200 countries.” While some of the magazines listed do not provide free access to articles and others provide only a sampling of articles published in their print versions, this is nonetheless a good source for finding current texts in both scientific and informally written styles of language in a particular area of interest in the target language. AllYouCanRead.com also allows registered users (no charge) to create a list of their favorite online newspapers and magazines for easy access when returning to the site from any computer.
  • Newseum Includes 362 newspaper front pages from 41 countries presented alphabetically.

Directories of English-Language Newspapers[edit]

  • world-newspapers.com. For the autonomous language learner more interested in reading current texts, the Web provides a wide variety of reading materials in many languages from the world’s newspapers and magazines. For ESL learners, one source of online versions of newspapers and magazines published worldwide in English is [world-newspapers.com world-newspapers.com] which organizes newspapers by country and topic and magazines by subject matter (for example, links to 42 magazines dealing with environmental issues are provided).
  • onlinenewspapers.com. Newspapers in English and many other languages can easily be found via onlinenewspapers.com providing “thousands of world newspapers at your fingertips” categorized into world regions and countries. As an example, a student studying Spanish with a particular interest in Mexico will find links to 74 newspapers from that country, almost all of them in Spanish. Many of these online newspapers also provide links to audio and video resources.
  • The Internet Public Library provides access to world newspapers in many languages and to magazines and journals primarily in English.
  • The Internet TESL Journal offers teachers of ESL articles, research papers, links, activities, classroom handout and more. It also provides students with different kinds of quizzes and crossword puzzles to practice English.

Directories of Spanish-Language Newspapers[edit]

  • Prensa escrita gives you a list of newspapers in Spanish, divided by country.

English-Language Newspapers[edit]

My favorite four on-line e-news websites!

CNN [1]

China Post [2]

The New York Times [3]

Washington Post [4]

Bangkok Post [5]



The following websites also provide lots of e-news online!

Newsweek [6]

NPR [7] you can even download the voice file of each news there!



Three useful and excellent e-news websites.

Original English-language news coverage of Taiwan Taipei Times [8]

A great on-line English newspaper for EFL students (especially for Chinese students) Student Post [9]

A great website for in-depths news reports and news videos Frontline: PBS [10] --Cindy1228 15:19, 7 June 2006 (UTC)



An English-language source of Japanese and international news with text and video. NHK English News [11]

Spanish[edit]

  • National
    • Vida Latina General Online Magazine focusing on Latin American Spanish-Speaking Countries. The entire website is in Spanish and topics include sports, entertainment, Latin American, US, and World news.
  • Argentina
    • Buenos Aires

La Nación [12]This is a newspaper from Buenos Aires

      • Clarin This is a tabloid newspaper from Buenos Aires

La Voz del Interior [13]

  • Guatemala
    • La Hora Guatemalan Newspaper Online
  • Mexico
  • Spain
    • National
      • Online Newspapers This is an extensive list of newspapers online for Spain
      • El Mundo This is a national Spanish newspaper (in the Spanish language) that gives up to date information on the country and its various autonomous regions.
      • Informativos de Telecinco This is a Spanish website that displays political, economical, social, and entertainment news and events taking place in Spain and internationally.**Granada
      • Estrella Digital Spanish National Newspaper. Gives cultural, sports, weather, economic, and international news.
      • Hispanidad An online Spanish newspaper. An easy way to get quick national news on Spain.

German[edit]

Magazines[edit]

French[edit]

Journals (scientific and academic)[edit]

Multilingual[edit]

  • Directory of Open Access Journals "covers free, full text, quality controlled scientific and scholarly journals. We aim to cover all subjects and languages. There are now 3315 journals in the directory. Currently 1114 journals are searchable at article level. As of today 178817 articles are included in the DOAJ service" (from website 2008 April 12). Journals in many languages are available with English being by far the most common language.

Weblogs (Blogs)[edit]

Arabic[edit]

  • aljazeera talk elected as "Best Weblog in Arabic" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "A very ambitious citizen journalism project. The new thing about it is that this is a an organized group effort. It is a serious attempt at creating a web-based alternative media channel that enables a wide network of young correspondents to contribute reports and interviews (which sets it apart from most blogs, which depend mostly on individual opinions and impressions)" (from The BOBs website).

Chinese[edit]

  • The Eighth Continent. Selected as "Best Weblog in English" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "Mr Lian Yue is a very famous columnist. While putting his popular columns onto his blog, he is also an environmentalist advocate. With his and his friends' efforts, people in the city of Xiamen (Amoy) went on street to protest a new chemical factory plan which could be an environmental disaster to the city. It was a 2-day lasting, tens of thousands people involved, very peaceful demonstration" (from The BOBs website).

English[edit]

  • Valour-IT Selected as "Best Weblog in English" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "Inspired by Army Captain Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss, a military blogger who was severely wounded in Iraq in 2005, Valour-IT is the blog of Soldier's Angels, a non-profit that has provided over 1600 injured soldiers with voice-controlled software and laptops through donations and grants. These machines allow soldiers the freedom to stay connected through their rehabilitation and beyond"(from The BOBs website).

French[edit]

  • Actualités de la république démocratique du Congo Selected as "Best Weblog in French" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "More than just a diary, cedric.uing.net presents in pictures and a few lines the realities of daily life in he Democratic Republic of Congo. The young journalist denounces the shortcomings of his country in an amused and sometimes acrimonious style"(from The BOBs website).

German[edit]

  • Behindertenparkplatz Selected as "Best Weblog in German" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "A journalist in a wheelchair reports about international travel, her work and the difficulties she faces on a daily basis. The blog also documents her attempts to expose and combat the stereotypes and descrimination faced by people in wheelchairs"(from The BOBs website).

Persian[edit]

  • 35 Grad. Selected as "Best Weblog in Persian" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs."This blog takes its name from the 35th parallel on which the city of Tehran stands. Some of the topics that the author confronts are the many taboos present in Iranian society including HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and sex education" (from The BOBs website).

Portuguese[edit]

  • Blog do Tas Selected as "Best Weblog in Portuguese" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "Blog do Tas is devoted to understanding Brazilian politics through humor, information and irony. Tas is a TV personality and a Brazilian blog pioneer who uses a mix of "serious" subjects with a clever and funny approach to day-to-day life as seen in the text, photos and videos"(from The BOBs website).

Russian[edit]

  • /dev/karlson/mind.log Selected as "Best Weblog in Russian" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "This blog is published by a russian who lives in Japan. Here you can find a lot of interesting information, exciting observations and original comparisons between the two cultures" (from The BOBs website).

Spanish[edit]

  • A mis 95 años / 95 years old. Selected as "Best Weblog in Spanish" in 2007 by Deutsche Welle International's Best of the Blogs. "Maria Amelia is a certified phenomena in the international blogosphere. With the help of her grandson, this 95-year-old grandmother writes about her long life and tries to break communication barriers that exists between generations"((from The BOBs website).

RSS Feeds (text)[edit]

What is RSS? A good way to read RSS on your computer is to use Netvibes Netvibes can also be used to subscribe to and listen to podcasts (see tutorial and [| example]). Another good feed aggregator that can also play podcasts is the Google Reader.

Books and Documents[edit]

Multiple Languages[edit]

Project Gutenberg [15]. Although we may usually think of the World Wide Web as the largest repository of text-based language materials, the use of the Internet as a means to disseminate texts actually began many years before the Web came into existence. In 1971, Michael Hart began Project Gutenberg in order to make books freely available to the world’s readers. As of August, 2006, Project Gutenberg has made over 19,000 public domain books available to anyone with an Internet connection. Although the majority of these books are in English, 24 other languages are also represented including Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Welsh, and Yiddish.

Due to copyright restrictions, Project Gutenberg includes only older books, usually those first published before 1930. Nonetheless, Project Gutenberg is a useful resource for anyone interested in obtaining older and classic books in the languages mentioned above that can be read on a computer monitor or printed out.

Links to electronic texts of books in French, Italian, Spanish and German.

English[edit]

  • DAILYLITwill send you daily successive extracts of books in English via e-mail or RSS. This could be a good way for an English learner to be reminded to do his or her daily reading in English.

French[edit]

German[edit]

Portuguese[edit]

Spanish[edit]


Wikisource [16] is another large and growing source of public domain books and documents is Wikisource. Wikisource provides texts in 47 different languages. An example of some of the interesting documents that can be found in Wikisource is U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's 1917 letter to Congress requesting a declaration of war on Germany.

Poetry[edit]

English[edit]

French[edit]

A portal to several types of literary exercises, including pronunciation of texts, background information on literature, etc.

German[edit]

Portuguese[edit]

  • Rua da Poesia. Poems by Fernando Pessoa, Camões, Bocage, Cesário Verde, Florbela Espanca, Almeida Garrett, Antero de Quental, Castro Alves, Gonçalves Dias, João de Deus, Olavo Bilac, and Tomas Gonzaga.

Spanish[edit]

  • Poesía Castellana
  • Poesía en Espanol
  • Anthology of Spanish Poetry A random collection of poetry by Spanish poets such as Jorge Manrique, Gil Vicente, Juan del Encima, Garcilaso de la Vega, and more.
  • Poesia en Espanol An extensive list of Spanish authors and poems in Spanish. Over 100 poets and over 500 poems. Poets can be found alphabetically, choronologically, according to centuries and relevance today. Poets such as Jorge Debravo, Ruben Dario, San Juan de la Cruz, Luis Cernuda, and Ramon Lopez Velarde.
  • Pablo Neruda A wonderful, comprehensive site of the poet Pablo Neruda. Full of his works, biography, contributions and more. All of it is in Spanish.
  • Jorge Luis Borges A great website, dedicated to Jorge Luis Borges and his works. His poems and biography can be found here. It's all in Spanish.

Comic strips and comic books[edit]

Comic strips and comic books available on the web are variously referred to as webcomics, web comics and online comics. They include both comics available only online as well as web versions of printed and syndicated comics

By pairing text with illustrations and treating varied themes ranging from inane comedy to graphic violence, webcomics provide an valuable if perhaps unused means of developing proficiency in a foreign language and are particularly valuabe to exposing learners to modern, vernacular forms of the language.


English

There are a large number of webcomics in English. Some directories to English-language webcomics are:

Individual Webcomics


Finnish

Finnish Wikipedia's article on Web-sarjakuva


French


German

Wikipedia's article on Webcomic.

German webcomics:


Italian


Japanese

Japanese Wikipedia's article on ウェブコミック


Polish

Polish Wikipedia's article on Komiks internetowy


Portuguese

Comics in Portuguese may be called bandas desenhandas, quadrinhos, histórias em quadrinhos or cartuns.

Portuguese Wikipedia's article on Webcomic


Spanish

  • Spanish Wikipedia's article on ?
  • WEE: Webcomics en Español provides a dropdown list of webcomics in Spanish.
  • Ucomics (see "Nuevo! Comics en Español)
  • Chistes Jokes in Spanish. Some of them are pretty funny. It makes reading and comprehension a little more fun and takes away from formality.
  • My Comics: Espanol Check out the tab on the right entitled Spanish Comics to locate them.
  • [17] Bert in Spanish and Englsh.

Swedish

Swedish Wikipedia's article on Webcomic

Online Course Material[edit]

There is a large and increasing amount of educational material on the Web provided by universities worldwide to support online courses and degree programs. This is an excellent source of material academic reading material in several languages. The Open Courseware Consortium is one source of such materials with consortium members in Austria, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Japan, Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Venezuela and Vietnam. Massachusetts Institute of Technology is at the forefront in providing free online course materials with materials for hundreds of courses and also provides audio and video for many of these courses. MIT is also involved in translating many of these course materials into Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Encyclopedias[edit]

Multilingual[edit]

Wikipedia is the "free-content encyclopedia that anyone can edit" with reference articles in over 100 languages. It has over 1,000,000 articles in English and over 50,000 articles in German, French, Japanese, Dutch, Polish and Swedish. For learners of English, there are over 3,000 articles in Simple English. Wikipedia has particularly good coverage of topics relating to information technology.

Because Wikipedia articles exist in many languages and anyone may edit them, language students may do more with the articles than just use them as sources of input. For example, Chinese students studying English reading may find it useful to translate Wikipedia articles that exist in English into Chinese and thereby contribute to the Chinese-language version of the Wikipedia. Or, Chinese students focusing on English writing may choose instead to translate Chinese-language Wikipedia articles into English, or create new articles in the English-language Wikipedia about their city or college or important people in their community and thereby contribute to the Chinese cultural content of the English-language Wikipedia. While Wikipedia editing lends itself easily to group work, by requiring students to logon using their name or ID, teachers can see the contribution of each student as well as see all changes and additions each student has made. That native speakers of the target language may make additional changes is something that the students can watch for (using a "my watchlist") to see how their writing is corrected.

Spanish[edit]

  • Kalipedia Kalipedia is a free, online, Spanish-language encyclopedia oriented toward secondary education begun on 16 October 2007. It is published by Grupo Santillana which is owned by Grupo Prisa. Its content is controlled centrally, but users can make suggestions for corrections.

Monolingual and Bilingual Dictionaries, Thesauruses, Translators and Concordance Tools[edit]

Foreign language readers of texts written for native speakers will surely encounter many words and phrases whose meaning they can only guess. While inferring the meaning of new words and phrases based on context and knowledge of the subject matter is a good skill for foreign language readers to develop, there are times when a reader may want or need to find a definition using either a monolingual dictionary or a FL to L1 translation dictionary. Fortunately, there are many such dictionaries available at no cost on the Web.

Multilingual[edit]

  • The WordTranslator option of the Google Toolbar for the Firefox and Internet Explorer web browsers provides mouse-over translations of English words into Chinese (traditional and simplified), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean and Spanish. No non-English to English-language translations are provided, however, so this feature is useful primarily for readers of English as a second language.
  • For English-speakers reading non-English languages, WordChamp provides a free Web Reader that provides instant mouse-over translations in many different languages (best coverage is provided for French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, but there is a significant amount of vocabulary in a dozen other languages, and registered users can add their own vocabulary). There are over 60,000 audio recordings of native speakers (in eleven languages), which can be listened to while reading a site. This is a very powerful tool for reading foreign-language texts (WordChamp also includes other tools that are discussed in the Exercise and Assessment sections of this wikibook), although translations for many low-frequency words are not provided, the latest version of WordChamp allows users to add their own translations which in a wiki fashion should dramatically increase the word coverage.
  • Ultralingua [18] also provides translations by clicking on words found on webpages. A few free lookups can be made each day. A subscription of $29.95 per year is required to allow up to 500 lookups per day. Unlike WordChamps web reader, Ultralingua's does not provide pronunciations of any words. It is also limited to translating among English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, but it currently appears to have greater coverage of words in these languages than does WordChamp's web reader (which is free; see above).
  • World2World Language Resource provides links to bilingual translation dictionaries involving 192 languages (from Abadani to Zarma), including many specialized dictionaries, e.g., computer culture and technology.
  • English speakers learning Spanish, French or Italian, or speakers of any of the latter languages learning English will find the online versions of Collins translation dictionaries provided by WordReference.com useful. As noted on their website, their English-Spanish dictionary alone contains more than 160,000 words and more than 230,000 translations and would take up 1290 pages of paper to print. Particularly handy is that WordReference can be used as a browser add-on tool which allows the user to quickly translate any word found in any Web page using Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator on a Windows computer.
  • Another useful online word resource is the OneLook Dictionary Search, a “search engine for words” with links to 5 million words in over 90 online dictionaries. Freedict provides two-way bilingual dictionaries online that link English to 16 other languages.
  • LiveDictionary provides mouse-over, pop-up monolingual and bilingual dictionary support for Macintosh Safari 1 users under Panther (OS 10.3). (The Macintosh Tiger 10.4 OS includes pop-up dictionary support for Safari 2.)
  • LEO, (for "Link Everything Online") is an impressive resource for language learners needing bilingual, bidirectional German-English (410,686 entries) and German-French (139,073 entries) dictionaries. LEO provides not only definitions but also grammatical information, usage examples, idioms, and pronunciation (including audio) for any English or German word entered. For example, entering the words “eye” produced not only five German translations of “eye,” but also 28 verbs and verb phrases containing eye (e.g., “to catch someone’s eye”), 22 phrases and collocations (e.g., “in the twinkling of an eye”) and more than 50 composed entries (e.g., “eagle eye”). In addition, every word that appears as part of a definition or example is linked to a definition and other entries of its own.
  • The Visual Thesaurus is a subscription-based ($2.95/month) visual thesaurus in English (version 3), Dutch, French, German and Spanish (beta version).
  • The Compleat Lexical Tutor developed by Tom Cobb provides some useful and unique vocabulary resources for learners of English and French. Among these resources are the Hypertext Builders that allow a teacher or student to submit a text in English or French and have it automatically posted on the Web with each word linked to concordances (to see how each word is typically used) and to a French-English or English-French dictionary.
  • For language learners wanting assistance in translating more than words and phrases, many free translation services can also be found on the Web.
    • A directory of 13 free Web-translation services providing translations involving at least 38 different languages can be found at Babelfish. While machine translation is still no match for skilled human translators, language learners may nonetheless find such services occasionally useful (readers knowing French may find it amusing that Babel Fish Translation translated the word “match” in the preceding sentence using the French word “allumette”).
    • Another online translation service is offered by Google, providing translations from about eight languages into English and vice versa.
    • Systran Language Translation Technologies provides web-based translation services for English and 12 other languages. Systran also provides the Translation widget that comes with Macintosh OS 10.4 ("Tiger") that can be placed on the Dashboard.
  • The Tiger operating system for Macintosh includes the Oxford American English dictionary that can be accessed in three different ways: (a) as a stand-alone application, (b) as a control-click (or right-lick) tool that can be used to find a definition of any word selected in the Safari web browser, and (c) as a widget on the Dashboard. A Spanish dictionary is also available as a widget and others may be available now or soon (search for widgets).
  • A version of The Dictionary Assistant to include Japanese. Currently still under construction, it includes an option that allows either English to Japanese or Japanese to English lookup in Jim Breen's EDICT. Comments and suggestions are welcome: Carly Born
  • The News in Chinese provides mouse-over translation and pinyin for the latest news in Chinese (using adsotrans).
  • Rikaichan a downloadable pop-up dictionary extension for Firefox and Thunderbird that translates Japanese characters and words into English, German, French, and Russian by simply rolling over the words.
  • POPjisyo Popjisyo is a free web based dictionary for Korean, Chinese, Janpanese, and other languages. If you type an address of a certain webpage, it will help you to understand each word in that webpage by showing definition of words.

English[edit]

  • Yahoo Mini Dictionary provides a useful mini dictionary for Korean learners of English. After installing “Yahoo mini” for free, you will have a small pen on your window. Click the small pen on any word on screen, and it will automatically open up a small on-line dictionary window with huge contents.It works for English to Korean, Korean to English, English to English, providing examples,pronunciation, Encyclopedia, and collocations. You can save the words in your Yahoo Korea account for future practice.

Other dictionaries (to organize)[edit]

PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants)[edit]

While the availability of interesting multilingual texts and language tools on the Internet gives language learners access to a wide range of second reading material that could not be obtained otherwise, using a desktop or laptop computer is not always the most convenient means for reading them. Printouts, of course, can be made, but printing takes time, consumes paper and ink, and produces output that can be inconvenient to carry around. An alternative that combines the accessibility of the Internet with the portability of a palm-sized device involves using a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) to store and display FL texts. While reading a book, magazine or newspaper article from a PDA requires the reader to put up with small type on a small screen, this may be compensated by the advantage of having foreign-language reading material always available and accessible at any time, such as while commuting in a bus or train or waiting in line at a bank or ticket office. The most popular PDAs are those that use the Palm or Pocket PC operating system and the least expensive PDA with enough memory to be used for such a system is currently the Palm Zire 21 which has 8MB of memory and a monochrome screen for $99.

Feeds (RSS)[edit]

See:

Connecting PDAs to the Internet[edit]

There are two ways to put Web content on a PDA such as those produced by Palm or PalmOne, Pocket PC, or Zaurus. The first is to connect the PDA directly to the Internet for web browsing. This requires that the PDA be connected to the Internet using a wired connection (which limits its mobility) or a wireless connection (which requires a more expensive PDA and a wireless Internet subscription service or public WiFi access point). The second way involves using a desktop or laptop to obtain web content and then transferring the content from personal computer to PDA. Do to its significantly lower cost and the wide availability of personal computers, this latter method is recommended.

  • Manybooks.net claims to have "10,425 eBooks formatted for reading on your Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, Rocketbook, or Symbian cellphone" obtained from Project Gutenberg and other sources formatted for downloading to and reading on a PDA. In addition to English which represents the majority of books, texts are also available in Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Portuguese, Russian, Sanskrit, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, and Welsh.
  • gut is a free program that can convert any plain-text file into Plucker format (see below) for downloading to a Palm PDA. gut is particularly useful for converting the many Project Gutenberg etexts that have not already been converted for use on a PDA and are therefore not available on Manybooks.net.
  • A main advantage of AvantGo is that it automatically downloads the latest versions of the channels you have selected each time you synch your PDA. However, language learners may want to transfer to their PDAs websites and articles found on websites that are not included in AvantGo. Plucker (official website) is a free, open-source “web-clipping” program that allows the user to download any Website and (optionally) its links to a Palm PDA thereby allowing users to “carry the web in the Palm of your hand!” (from website). Having Plucker installed on your Palm OS device also allows the user to access the ebooks provided by Manybooks.net described in the previous section. Similar web-synching programs exist for the PocketPC (e.g., WebToGo, a paid program available from PDA Street.
  • RSS for PDAs

Bilingual Dictionaries for PDAs[edit]

If one is going to be reading a FL on a PDA, a bilingual dictionary will certainly prove useful. Fortunately, there is no shortage of such dictionaries, but unlike those available on the Web, they are not free.

There are two main types of translating dictionaries available for PDAs. The first type provides minimal translation and grammatical information (and may not even include the grammatical gender of French, Spanish or German nouns). An example of this type are the Bdicty Dictionary Readers provided by Beiks for Palm OS, PocketPC, eBookMan and Zaurus plus WinCE and Java smartphones. The advantage of this minimalist approach is that these dictionaries are relatively inexpensive and take up little memory. A software bundle consisting of all the Palm OS BDicty dictionaries needed for two-way translation plus phrase books for English with Spanish, French and German can be had for $24.95, all taking up less than a total of 4 megabytes of total memory.

The other type of bilingual dictionaries for PDAS have larger word lists, more complete translations, usage examples and grammatical information. The bilingual dictionaries provided by Ultralingua are of this type and include conjugation information for many verbs in certain versions of their PDA dictionaries. Ultralingua provides two-way bilingual PDA (Palm and Pocket PC) dictionaries for English paired with French, German, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Latin and Esperanto as well as French-German, French-Spanish, French-Italian, Spanish-Portuguese, and German-Spanish. Users can also add there entries to these dictionaries and access them from other Palm or Pocket PC applications. Two disadvantages of the Ultralingual dictionaries compared to the minimalist BDicty dictionaries are the former’s higher cost ($29.95 for each language pair) and increased memory demands of about 3 MB for each dictionary installed.

Many of these PDA dictionaries are available in free trial versions that are limited either in the amount of entries included or the amount of days the software will operate without purchasing a registration key.

Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP)[edit]


There is an enormous amount and variety of reading material available via the Internet in all of the world’s commonly studied languages and many less-commonly ones, too. Books, newspapers and magazines articles are available to anyone with Internet access (even relatively slow telephone modems) using a computer with a web browser. And many of these texts can be easily downloaded to a PDA for instant access anywhere and anytime.

Audio[edit]

<add introduction here>

Local AM and FM Radio[edit]

  • Radio Shark turns any PC or Macintosh computer into an AM/FM radio for live or time-shifted listening.

Shortwave Radio[edit]

  • AM

Satellite Radio[edit]

<intro relevant to ATALL>

  • [metawikipedia:wikipedia:Satellite_radio#Canada | Canada]]

Internet Audio[edit]

For autonomous language learners interested in improving their listening comprehension, the Internet now provides a diversity of audio sources comparable to what is available in text. A wide range of audiobooks in many languages are available for free or purchase and radio stations from almost every country in the world are now streaming their broadcasts on the Internet. These are accessible to any Internet-connected computer on which the appropriate streaming media player has been installed, even using a relatively slow telephone modem. The most popular formats for streaming audio programs on the Internet are those playable on RealPlayer (for Windows, Macintosh and Unix/Linux) or Windows Media Player (for Windows or Macintosh) with QuickTime (for Windows and Macintosh) and WinAmp (for Windows) also occasionally encountered. Almost all audio on the Web is playable with one of these free players and some programs are provided in two or more of these formats. Audio programs may be provided in both live and pre-recorded (on-demand) format with some pre-recorded programs available for download (allowing the user to play the program later without having to be connected to the Internet).

Vocabulary and phrases[edit]

Spanish

Ainu

  • Ainu language words and phrases of the indigenous Ainu people of Japan.

Poetry[edit]

English[edit]

Audiobooks[edit]

Multilingual[edit]
English[edit]
  • audible.com: "More than 25,000 books, radio shows, newspapers and magazines to choose from. Download your digital audio in minutes. Listen using your Apple iPod, PalmOne, or hundreds of other AudibleReady devices" (from website). All titles are for purchase.
  • AudioBooksForFree: AudioBooksForFree.com is a British company offering downloadable audio books for free in MP3 format. It also sells MP3 players loaded with audio-book files. Most of its books are old enough to be out of copyright" (from Wikipedia).
  • LibriVox [19] has recently started to provide free audiobooks read by humans based on the existing public-domain books provided by Project Gutenberg. As the recording of each chapter of a book is completed, it is sent out as a podcast. It's first title is Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent. As of 2005-10-19, four books have been completed with 24 books expected to be completed and released by 2005-12-31 and 100 books targeted for completion by 2006-12-31.
  • LiteralSystems [20] provides free literary and poetic audiobooks in English licensed under a Creative Commons license. Some of these titles are quite short, with durations as short as seven minutes.
  • LoudLit [21] provides a small collection of both text and audio of public domain literature.
  • Telltale Weekly [22] offers about 100 human-read audiobooks at both no cost and discount prices, such as $1.00 for Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum and Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis.
  • Project Gutenberg's Audio Books Project includes both human-read and computer generated audiobooks
French[edit]
German[edit]
Portuguese[edit]

Speeches[edit]

English[edit]
  • American Rhetoric provides audio and text of many American political and movie speeches.



Internet Radio Directories[edit]

While the Internet links provided above connect to many interesting Internet radio stations in Spanish, French and German, readers may well want to find there own sources of audio programs in these and other languages. Fortunately, there are many directories of Internet radio stations on the web that can help language learners find radio stations in a desired country and/or language. Several of these that have been found useful are:

RadioNet (German)]

  • surfmusic.de "3000 radio stations live."
  • University radio stations In addition, university students may find it of interest to listen to stations operated by Spanish-, French- and German-speaking universities, although these may broadcast more music than talk. Here is a sampling of university stations broadcasting from Spanish-, French- and German-speaking universities along with direct links to the stations mentioned above plus many others broadcasting in Spanish, French and German.

Dutch[edit]

The Netherlands[edit]

English[edit]

United States[edit]
Great Britain[edit]
  • British Broadcasting Corporation’s World Service in English and 42 other languages
Independent Radio Programs from the U.S. (English)[edit]

French[edit]

  • WRN Français (> listen now) provides news, cultural and religious programs in French from Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, China, Hungary, Israel, Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, the Vatican, and the United Nations.
France[edit]
Canada[edit]

German[edit]

  • WRN Deutsch WRN Deutsch (> listen now) provides news, cultural and religious programs in German from sources in Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Ecuador, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Korea, Poland, Romania, Russia Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the Vatican.
Germany[edit]

Japanese[edit]

Russian[edit]

Russia[edit]
  • WRN Russian (> listen now) provides a Russian stream with news, cultural, and religious programs from several countries.

Spanish[edit]

International[edit]
Spain[edit]
  • Radio Exterior de España in Spanish and six other languages
  • Cadena COPE Hardest radio
  • Non-commercial domestic stations: Radio 1, 3, and 5 of Radio Nacional de España and Radio Euskadi uses faster and more colloquial language and deal with national, regional, and local topics
  • Sveriges Radio Klartext, easy radio for beginners and intermediate SWEDISH learners, a short news program produced Monday through Friday. Partial transcripts for the newscasts are also provided at the website.
United Kingdom[edit]
  • El Mensual The BBC's monthly audio magazine in intermediate Spanish.
Latin America[edit]
  • Spanish/Latin Music Radio
    • Batanga Batanga is a free internet broadcast site that plays Latin music around the clock. You can choose from a variety of Latin music from Cumbia, to Bachata, to Reggaeton to Salsa. It even has a directory for the top Latin Pop songs. There aren't any commercials and the music selection is great with numerous artists whose music you can listen to right from your computer. Batanga also is available under iTunes inernational radio stations, but the connection may not be as good as it is from the Batanga website.
  • Chile
  • Mexico

International Broadcasters[edit]

  • SBS Radiofrom Australia has programs in 64 languages.

Topical Conversation[edit]

  • ELLLO a Japanese-based website with collections of topical conversations between English speakers with various accents.

Enhancing Convenience, Accessibility and Portability of Internet Audio[edit]

While the current accessibility of FL radio on the Internet is a marvelous resource for FL students, there are a number of factors which limit the usability of this resource. This section will address several of these limitations and suggest ways of overcoming them.

Reliability and playback control. One problem with listening to Internet radio is its lack of reliability. While broadcast radio stations are usually very reliable and are only rarely interrupted by extreme weather, power blackouts, or equipment failure, this is not the case for many Internet radio stations. Interruptions in service may be due to software or hardware problems at the providers end, high demand (unlike broadcast radio, an Internet radio station can be received only by some finite number of listeners), interruptions to the user’s Internet service, or Internet traffic jams and slowdowns causing an audio player to lose its data stream.

Although there is nothing that an individual user can do about these problems except try again later, there is a way to automatically restart dropped audio streams by embedding the audio link in a web page that refreshes periodically. Users who have some knowledge of HTML and webpage design can see how this is done here by viewing the source for the page. Users of this page to gain access to live programs in Spanish, French and German will notice a brief pause every 30 minutes when the page refreshes. If the link had been lost during this time, it will be automatically connected again (if available). This website also allows listeners to construct a playlist of desired recorded (on-demand) programs with an option to repeat the list indefinitely. Having one or more programs repeat indefinitely is one way to give FL learners repeated exposure to the same program to aid in comprehension. These playlist and repeat features are especially useful when combined with one of the low-power radio rebroadcast options described below.

The popularity of VCRs is due partly to their ability to record television shows for playback later at a more convenient time. Listeners of Internet radio can also record live and archived (on-demand) programs using Replay Radio. Costing $29.95 with a free demo version available, Replay Radio allows the user of a Windows computer to schedule recordings of favorite audio sites which are stored as MP3 files that can be played back using any one of many programs and playback devices, such as Apple’s iPod music player or other portable MP3 player. Setting up one-time or automated daily or weekly recordings is quite easy using this software. Another audio recording program of interest is Total Recall. A $20 shareware program for Windows, Total Recall lacks Replay Radio’s automatic scheduling function, but it allows recording (to MP3 and WAV format) of any audio produced by one’s computer, including an attached microphone. For Macintosh users, WireTap Wire Tap is a free program that records all audio produced by the computer. Audio Hijack provides added features for recording audio from the Mac, including the ability to restrict recording to a selected program and set start and stop times for unattended operation (see Macworld’s March 2004 issue for a review of these and another streaming audio recording software).

Speed Control (Variable-Speed Playback)[edit]

Intermediate-level FL learners will undoubtedly find that many of the radio programs produced for domestic audiences use language that is simply too fast for good comprehension. While there is nothing one can do about this for normal broadcast radio, there are ways to control the speed of Internet radio.

Versions 9 and 10 Windows Media Player (WMP) for Windows XP includes a variable speed playback control for locally stored files in WMA, WMV, WM, MP3 or ASF format. Speed can be varied continuously from half (0.5) to twice (2.0) normal speed without changing the pitch of the audio (avoiding the “chipmunk effect”). (Users of WMP 9 should note that only slow (0.5), normal and fast (1.4) speeds can be selected from the Play command (Play > Play Speed). To set the playback speed anywhere between 0.5 and 2.0 go to Now Playing > Enhancements > Play Speed Settings.)

Although WMP speed control cannot be used for live or recorded (on-demand) streaming audio, some providers of FL Internet radio allow users to download their archived audio programs. Radio France Internationale, for example, allows users to download (“télécharger”) all of its recent news broadcasts in both RealPlayer and WPM format (go to audiocarte). One can download the desired broadcast in WMP by clicking on the WMP icon (an arrowhead inside of a multicolored circle) and then play it back as slow as 0.5 using the WMP 9 player for Windows XP.

QuickTime Player version 7 and higher (free) for Macintosh and Windows also permits speed control on playback of MP3 and some other types of audio files as well as MP4 (video). To use this feature, go to Windows -> Show A/V Controls and move the slider anywhere from 1/2 to three times normal speed. The ability of QuickTime Player to vary the playback speed of MP3 and MP4 files means that it is possible to play any audio or video podcasts at a slower or faster speed than normal. By right-clicking on an audio or video podcast in iTunes and selecting "Show Song File," the selected file can be opened and played with QuickTime Player instead of with iTunes which does not provide speed control.

iTunes does not allow variable-speed playback. However, by right-clicking (control-click for Macintosh) on a desired track and selecting "Show Song File", it is easy to find the actual MP3 file. Then right-clicking on the file will allow you to play the file using Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player. On the Macintosh with OS X, it is possible to drage the file into the QuickTime Player icon if you have this on your task bar to play the file.

A more powerful and flexible speed control option for Internet audio is a commercial plug-in called 2xAV from Enounce. Available in versions for both RealOne Player and WMP (for Windows computers only), 2xAV allows speed control of all RealPlayer and WMP content, whether stored locally or streaming from the Internet. Allowing speed control anywhere between 0.3 and 2.0 times normal speed, 2xAV’s ability to control the speed of streaming audio is particularly useful for FL learners. This works best, however, for archived (on-demand) audio as slowing down or speeding up live streams results in playback gaps as the player’s buffer either overflows (during slow playback) or is exhausted (during fast playback). 2xAV in either WMP or RealPlayer versions costs $29.95 with a free trial download available.

The Amazing Slow Downer by Roni Music ($44.95 for Macintosh and Windows) allows you to speed up or slow down audio on a Mac from -50% to 400% normal speed. You have the ability to control the pitch, keeping it the same level as the original speed or highering or lowering it, and there is a built-in equalizer. You can then save the sped-up or slowed-down files for later playback on one's MP3 player or computer. You can listen to audio from most non-proprietary formats (MP3, WAV, AIFF) and WMA on Windows. You can also listen to the audio from MP4 video files, however the video is not displayed. The product is intended principally for musicians who want to transcribe music or play music at different speeds, but can easily be used for slowing down L2 audio to help with listening comprehension. The Amazing Slow Downer can be very useful for those L2 learners who own a Mac and would like to vary the speed on sound files to help practise listening comprehension.

Although language learners will more often find it useful to slow down the speed of FL Internet radio programs, playing audio at faster than normal speeds may also be useful for listening practice and assessment. It has been found that some people can listen and understand speech at up to four times normal speed. [23] Having students listen repeatedly to an audio extract at progressively higher speeds that provide comprehensible yet challenging input may be an effective way to “push” the development of a language learner’s listening proficiency by keeping the audio at i + 1. Having a student adjust the speed of presentation to the fastest speed that remains comprehensible may also provide a way for self-assessment of listening proficiency.

Accessibility and Portability[edit]

While recording and speed control software operate on the dimension of time to make FL Internet radio more convenient and accessible, there are also ways to make Internet radio more convenient and accessible on the dimension of space. Although predicted to disappear shortly after the introduction of television, the continued existence and popularity of AM and FM broadcast radio is largely due to the fact that broadcast radio can be listened to anywhere (home, car, park, beach) at anytime using small, portable, and low-cost equipment (AM/FM portable radios can be found for less than $10).

This is certainly not the case for Internet radio. Internet radio requires a computer connected to the Internet. While the availability of wireless Internet access (WiFi) continues to grow (particularly on college campuses), using WiFi with a laptop computer is still not nearly as convenient as broadcast radio, and cannot easily be used while walking on campus, driving, or working around one’s home.

One way for FL Internet radio to approach the same convenience and portability of broadcast radio is to use an unlicensed, low-power FM or AM transmitter to broadcast FL Internet programs in one’s home or on a high school or college campus. This is legal under Part 15 of FCC regulations in the U.S, with similar laws existing in Canada (this option is currently not permitted in the U.K.). For home use, the "Digital FM Transmitter" sold by the C. Crane Company allows one to broadcast Internet radio from a computer on any FM frequency between 87.9 and 107.9 MHz. This $69.95 unit (which includes an integrated telescoping antenna and can be powered using two AA batteries or the included AC adaptor) allows one to listen to Internet radio in any room of one’s house or apartment that has an FM radio or stereo system with an FM tuner, or outside near the house using a portable radio. The high-quality, stereophonic signal provided by this unit makes it also quite suitable for listening to music. Although the transmitter is quite weak out of the box, a simple modification can be made that will increase its power so that is can be picked up throughout a entire home.

The Panaxis ACC100 FM transmitter available from Progressive Concepts for $199.95 has a stronger monophonic signal than the Crane stereo transmitter and it had been used for about two years to broadcast Radio France Internationale throughout the Foreign Languages Building of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and to much of the quad located to the west and north of the building on 90.5 FM. The audio output of an Internet-connected computer was connected to the transmitter’s input with the transmitter’s three-foot wire antenna simply taped to the inside of an office window in the French Department. Another FM transmitter (not tested) designed to be used with Windows or Macintosh computers via a USB port is the USB UX300 transmitter for $97.76.

Better broadcast coverage is possible using low-power AM transmitters. Two approaches are possible in the U.S. The first is to use an FCC certified transmitter that produces no more than 100 milliwatts (1/10 watt) of power and uses an antenna no more than three meters long. While this power is less than that produced by a small Christmas tree light, a quality transmitter properly installed can be heard a mile or more away, covering most school and university campuses. One such transmitter that has received good reviews is the Rangemaster 1000 which is available in versions ranging from about $800 to $1000. It is also possible to link several Rangemaster 1000 transmitters together to provide yet greater coverage. ItsYourStation.com has installed many of these transmitters in schools and colleges throughout the U.S. and will provide a turn-key system including studio components for between $2000 and $4000.

An inexpensive approach to low power AM broadcasting is to build your own Part 15, 100 milliwatt transmitter kit. Low Power Radio and Broadcast Company offers several models of high quality, high performance AM transmitter kits. They are available in both unassembled or assembled. Prices start at $159.95 and have the range of 1/4 to 2 miles when using an outdoor antenna and are ideal for schools, churches, and community broadcasting. These kits are legal to use and comply with Part 15 regulations.

The second approach to low-power AM broadcasting in the U.S. is to take advantage of Part 15 of FCC rules and regulations that permit educational institutions in the U.S. to broadcast signals in the AM broadcast band without limit to the signal strength reaching no more than 30 meters beyond the campus boundaries. Referred to as Campus Free Radiate (CFR), this approach makes it possible to cover an entire large campus with a centrally located transmitter putting out as much power as needed (10 watts should easily cover a large campus) as long as the signal strength does not exceed specified limits off campus. Many U.S. universities make use of such systems for unlicensed educational and student radio stations, including Indiana University and Arizona State University, using equipment costing less than $4000 (including transmitter, antenna coupler and antenna) available from Radio Systems.

There are two things to keep in mind if radio is to be used to make Internet foreign language radio programs more accessible and portable on an educational campus. First, all unlicensed low-power transmitters must not cause interference to licensed radio stations. Second, in most cases written permission to rebroadcast Internet radio programs using low-power FM or AM transmitters to locations outside of one’s own home or personal property must be obtained from the copyright holders. Fortunately, such permission is usually granted at no cost from Radio Nederlands, Radio France Internationale and the Deutsche Welle for rebroadcast on the college campuses. In contrast, neither Radio Exterior España nor the BBC currently allows rebroadcast of its programs obtained from the Internet. However, Radio Exterior de España will send audio CDs of their programs for rebroadcast on a regular basis (see www.rtve.es/rne/ree/Intercambios.htm) and the BBC will also send CDs of past Spanish programs produced by BBC Mundo in Spanish for free rebroadcast. The radio programs produced by the Voice of America in 45 languages are in the public domain and may be rebroadcast without obtaining written permission.

The Latino Radio Service of La Casa Cultural Latina of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign appears to be the only low-power AM campus station broadcasting FLs in the U.S. Beginning operation in January 2005, the Latino Radio Service provides news, culture, information and music programs in Spanish and Portuguese using programming available via the Internet (see photos of transmitting equipment).

Used alone or in combination with the recording and speed-control software described above, low-power broadcasting of Internet FL radio programs has the potential to make FLs very accessible on high school and college campuses throughout the U.S., Canada and any other country that permits such unlicensed low-power broadcasting for educational use (imagine the popularity such systems would enjoy at Chinese universities, if permitted by authorities, for broadcasting programming in English!).

Sennheiser RS-110 Wireless Headphones

Personal Digital Music Players ("MP3 Players")[edit]

Podcasts and Podcasting[edit]

Podcasting is a way making audio files available to the Internet (see iPodloung article on podcasting. Users can subscribe to various feeds (for a directory see ipooder.org) using software that automatically downloads new files (programs) to their computer which can then be automatically "synched" to a portable digital music player.

There are hundreds if not thousands or audio programs available as podcasts in English, with fewer available in other languages. Podcasting has great potential in allowing language learners to always have with them new and interesting audio programs in their language they are studying. See the list of radio stations with podcasts.

On 28 June 2005 Apple released iTunes 4.9 for the Macintosh and Windows. This was the first version of iTunes that provides support for podcast reception and production. You can read more about iTunes 4.9 and how to use it to play and subscribe to podcasts. Here is information about how to create and publish your own podcast using Apple computers and software. Here is information on how to use the free service provided by Blogger and FeedBurner to publish your podcast.

In version 6. of iTunes, podcasts in languages other than English can be found by clicking on "Podcasts" as the source in the left column, than clicking the arrow next to "Podcast" on the top left of the main window and then scrolling down and under "Categories" selecting "International" and then the desired language. A wide range of podcasts focused on learning languages are also available under the "Education" category.

MyPodder by podcastready (official site) makes it possible to receiver podcasts directly on a digital media player, PDA, USB memory or memory card without having to first download and store the podcasts on a computer. Once the device is loaded with the MyPodder program files, it will find and download subscribed podcasts when connected to any Windows computer with a live Internet connection.

Yahoo! Podcasts (official site)'provides an extensive directory of podcasts and allows you to play selected podcasts from their Web interface. If Internet Explorer is used as your browser, you can also vary the speed of playback using this interface.

More information about podcasting can be found at:

Talkr is a service that allows you to listen to text-only blogs and RSS feeds on your computer and/or portable digital audio player (e.g., iPod). For more information about Talkr see the FAQ.

Ourmedia.org provides free audio and podcast hosting. Users much have a free account on Internet Archive. See guide for creating podcasts using Ourmedia.org.

Daily News and Information Podcasts[edit]

To use the URLs (Internet addresses) below to subscribe to a desired podcast in iTunes, copy the URL, then go to iTunes -> Advanced -> Subscribe to Podcast... and paste it in the box that appears.

English[edit]
French[edit]
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
German[edit]
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
Italian[edit]
Portuguese[edit]
  • Brazil
  • Portugal
Spanish[edit]

Other Podcasts and Podcast Directories[edit]

Multilingual[edit]
  • PIECasts Podcast for learning French, German and Spanish
  • Podcast.net International podcast directory
Chinese (Mandarin)[edit]
  • Chinesepod: "Learn Mandarin Chinese on your own terms with ChinesePod. Whether you need spoken Chinese, Business Chinese or Travel Chinese, the customizable curriculum has it. Lessons are delivered by podcast, and will get you speaking Mandarin fast!" (from website)
English[edit]
  1. . An dialog or story read a bit slower than normal speech.
  2. . An explanation of some of the expressions and phrases used in Part 1.
  3. . A repetition of the dialog or story at a native rate of speech. (from website).(transcript is provided as "lyrics")
  • Business English Podcasts Business English Pod provides podcasts and online learning resources for intermediate and advanced business English learners.

Topics covered by Business English Pod include:

  1. Presenting in English
  2. Meetings and discussions
  3. Making telephone calls
  4. Business negotiations
  5. Videos on writing emails and vocabulary
Teen Interest[edit]
  • The Sound of Young America
    • A mixed radio show discussing music, movies, comedy, and everything else from generation X.
      • This show is not designed for EFL/ESL students
      • Best for the more advanced student where listening skills need improvement
      • Helpful to provide topics of interest in English
French[edit]
French Language Learning Podcasts[edit]

These French Language Learning Podcasts are also accessible directly through I-Tunes.

German[edit]
Italian[edit]
Japanese[edit]
Portuguese[edit]
Spanish[edit]

Podcast Feed URL: http://www.cricava.com/buenosayresvoice/podcast.xml

    • Argentine slang lessons for Spanish

speakers (not for beginners). Aprenda español "argentino". Podcast Feed URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/desdeelbano

    • El Podcast de Tecnetico.com: Aquí se habla tecnología...¡en español!

Conoce sobre TODO lo que esta pasando en el mundo de la tecnología, incluyendo computadoras, internet y mucho más. Producido en Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Más info en http://www.tecnetico.com/podcast Podcast Feed URL: http://www.tecnetico.com/podcast/feed/tecnetico_adelanto.xml

    • La Tribu 88.7 FM es una radio alternativa

de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Este es su podcast, el primero que hace una radio argentina. Escuchalo, apagá La Tribu y hacé tu podcast. Podcast Feed URL: http://www.podcast.fmlatribu.com/podcast.php

    • Microsano.com.ar es una comunidad on-line

de seres microsanos. Un ser microsano es aquel que... eeeh... bueno, aun no lo tenemos muy claro, pero dennos un pocos más de tiempo que ya inventaremos algo. Podcast Feed URL: http://microsano.com.ar/blog/feed/

    • Tango City Tour: Un podcast que esta dedicado a la musica

de Buenos Aires... El Tango. Una visita desde este espacio a nuestra Ciudad. Que lo disfrute!!! http://www.tangocitytour.com.ar Podcast Feed URL: http://www.tangocitytour.com.ar/podcast.xml

Poetry[edit]

French[edit]
  • Easy French Poetry Podcasts [27] (see "New Podcast" on right of homepage)

English Speech Accents[edit]

The Speech Accent Archive developed at George Mason University presents a large set of speech samples from a variety of language backgrounds. Native and non-native speakers of English read the same paragraph and are carefully transcribed. The archive is used by people who wish to compare and analyze the accents of different English speakers" (from website).

Text and Audio[edit]

In addition to using the Internet as source of FL materials for reading or listening, the Internet also provides language learners the opportunity to read and listen to the same material at the same time or different times. Processing both text and audio forms of a FL can be especially valuable for students of English and other languages with writing systems that provide unreliable clues to the pronunciation of words (as in “tough,” “bough,” “though,” and “cough”). Both pre-reading a text before listening and simultaneous reading and listening to a text can greatly aid comprehension and provide the student with important information on how words are written and pronounced in the FL.

Here is an article on how song lyrics can be added to iTunes 5 or later as well as the iPod Nano and fifth generation iPods. Of course, one can also add transcripts to voice (non-music) MP3 and AAC (M4P) files on iTunes and these iPods.

Text to Speech[edit]

Text-to-speech (TTS) software based on speech synthesis technology can be used to create spoken language from text.

English[edit]

It can be difficult, to find websites that provide audio programs with written transcripts. Two good sources for learners of English that provide text and accompanying audio are VOA and the BBC. Both provide news and feature articles in both text and audio form so that the learner can pre-read the text before listening to the audio or read along with the broadcast. Taiwan English-language radio station ICRT also provides transcripts and downloadable audio files and podcast versions of its morning and afternoon “EZ News” that includes (actually, not-so-easy) news of Taiwan and world news.

Dong-A news is another web news that provides news in four languages--Korean, Chinese (simplified), Japanese, and English with both text and audio forms. Learners can also compare texts in English and in other three languages. It is a resource not only for learning English, but for learning Chinese, Japanese, and Korean as well.

Another source of text with accompanying video are ebooks and, particularly those that are in the public domain and are offered for free in both text and audio versions (see Audiobooks above). For example, here can be found the audiobook version of the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. Although the text version of this poem is not to be found on the LiteralSystems website, a Google search of the opening words "Morning and evening maids heard the goblins cry" quickly reveals where the full text of this poem can be found.

LoudLit.org provides several books, short stories and poems that are presented both via text and audio.

Engines of Our Ingenuity A science-themed audio program produced by the University of Houston that includes transcripts and illustrations.

ManyThings Listening Brief, topic-based audio clips with a simultaneous flashcard-type text component for ESL learners.

British Council provides audio clips and text files for listening practice. Audioscripts also contains comprehension questions.

Spanish[edit]

  • Learn Spanish Online This is a link to a various amount of Spanish transcripts and their audio online. There are a couple of sounds and the rest focus on pronunciation of letters, words, vowel combinatinos and more. It also goes through pronunciation of commonly used words and phrases in Spanish by native Speakers. They speak slowly enough to be understood and follow the transcript perfectly. Really good as far as pronunciation, listening and following the transcript are concerned.

Text to Audio Activities[edit]

For online text and matching audio, the following activity involving initial reading and variable-speed listening may prove valuable in improving both reading and listening comprehension of a language.

  1. Read text, using WordChamp Web Reader and/or online dictionaries as needed for comprehension.
  2. Play audio, reducing speed using Windows Media Player (to set the playback speed anywhere between 0.5 and 2.0 go to View > Enhancements > Play Speed Settings)or Enounce's 2xAV plug-in ($29.95) for RealPlayer as necessary for comprehension.
  3. Play audio repeatedly at slightly faster speeds until there is 100% comprehension at normal speed.
  4. Consider playing audio again at faster than normal speed for speed listening training.

Online Dictation Exercises[edit]


Multimedia Blogs[edit]

ESL/EFL resources[edit]

  • English Teacher John contains text, audio, and video clips done by an American living in Nagano, Japan. Geared toward Japanese learners of English.

Music[edit]

Music lyrics can be a very motivating source of second language input, especially for young language learners.

English[edit]

  • iLyric plugin for Winamp is a free windows program that allows you to retreive the lyrics for your favorite songs.

Portuguese[edit]

  • lyrics.com has lyrics for Brazilian songs in Portuguese.

Video[edit]

Cable TV[edit]

  • Dickinson College near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (USA) offers cable TV to its campus in English, (see channel guide), Spanish, French, German, Italian, Greek, Russian, Chinese, and Arabic, using DirecTV and DISH Network (see below under Satellite TV) as program sources.
  • Telecinco Telecinco is another news source that covers everything from regional to national news in Spain.
  • ITV Granada ITV Granada is a news resource for Spain that covers information ranging from entertainment news to regional affairs to current programs.
  • Canal Sur Canal Sur is home to the largest TV and Radio network in Andalucía, Spain.
  • Antena 3 This is an Andalucía television channel that gives news broadcasts. This is actually a link that displays the television casts online among other news and events taking place in Andalucía and Spain.

Internet Video[edit]

In addition to text and audio input, the Internet also promises to be a useful and engaging source of FL input using video (accompanied by audio). Its present capabilities, however, are still somewhat limited. Even with a broadband connection and fast computer, Internet video for the most is limited to small, poor-resolution images. While Internet audio quality often approaches or matches CD quality, there is nothing yet on the Internet that approaches the video quality obtained by even an inexpensive color television set.

A techology called vodcasting permits the publication and viewing of on-demand video via the web, much like podcasting allows for audio programs (see also VODcast.nl).

Google Video [28] has an increasing number of playable videos. Most appear to be in English, but other languages are available, too.

YouTube [29]

  • Multilingual
    • Gary's Favorite Live TV Stations in French, German, Portuguese and Spanish (see bottom half of page--under construction)
    • Videos with language captions (also called subtitles) can be found on many websites. Some of these are Google Video Videocaptioned, Harkle and Mojiti. Mojiti is of particular interest in that it makes it possible for users to add captions and text narrations to any video available on the Internet.
    • Yabla provides "supported" video clips in English, French and Spanish for learners of those languages wanting to improve their listening comprehension of rapidly spoken, colloquial language. The Yabla video player provides native language and English captions of all audio, the ability to easily replay any segment (or skip to ones ahead) and control the playback speed (normal or slow). In addition, clicking on any word in the captions provides dictionary definitions in English. While most of the videos provided by Yabla are available only to paid subscribers, there are several free videos that can be found by choosing one's language of interest and then clicking "FREE DEMO".
    • France 24, launched on 7 December 2006, offers live and archived news and information programs via the Internet in Arabic, English and French. Macintosh users will need to install the free Flip4Mac module to play the Windows Media Stream via QuckTime.
    • SCOLA: In addition to providing four channels of satellite TV from more than 80 countries in more than 70 languages, SCOLA also provides its four channels live via the Internet with all programs archived for seven days. A fifth channel will premiere 2006 with programming from the Near East and Africa. This is a subscription-based service with subscriptions available to both individuals and institutions (the institutional fee is about $2000 U.S. per year).
    • EuroNews provides news videos from a European perspective in German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Russian. Because the same videos are provided in these seven languages, language learners have the option to first play a video in a first or better known second language before playing it in a less well known language to aid comprehension. For example, a student proficient in Spanish could play a video in Spanish followed by the same content in Portuguese and Italian. Using two different browsers, it would even be possible to alternate quickly between the same parts of the video in two different languages for comparison and comprehension help.
    • Deutsche Welle’s DW-TV (> DW-TV Live) alternates hours between German and English with an additional two hours a day of Spanish-language programming. When viewed with the stand alone RealPlayer (choose “Externer Player”) and enlarged to full-screen size (maximize window > Play > Full Screen), DW-TV can provide at times quite impressive video and audio quality using 300 kbps of bandwidth. But this level of quality is not yet reliable as the video often loses its synchronization with the audio or freezes completely. The author [GC] has yet to view DW-TV for more than 30 minutes without losing the connection completely, when using either a cable modem at home with bandwidth up to 3.8 mbps or a 100 mbss Ethernet connection on campus). <cannot find URL to archived versions of DW-TV's programs in German, English and Spanish>
    • Annenberg/CPB channel offers free live and on-demand streams of a variety of educational programming, including shows designed for FL learners such as French in Action, Destinos, and Fokus Deutsch. For L2 learners of English there is the program Connect with English as well as other native-language programming on various school subjects (culture, civics, economics, etc.). The Annenberg/CPB channel is streamed live 24 hours a day, or users can select a specific program to view on demand. The live stream is available without having to register; the on-demand portions requiring registering (free). The entire series of French in Action, Destinos, and Connect with English are available for viewing on-demand. A description of what each episode covers (in terms of grammar, subject matter, etc.) is included for each episode.
    • http://www.neeptv.com/tvcontinents.asp (fee based)
    • wwiTV lists live and on-demand television programs from around the world.
    • tvover.net "TVover.net provides a directory of Internet TV broadcasts (live, on-demand, video blogs, etc.) powered by FindInternetTV.com that includes over 450 web sites from over 40 countries." (from website).
    • Find Internet TV (not clear how this site differs from tvover.net)


  • Arabic
    • France 24 (see above under "multilingual")
  • English
    • U.S. Network TV. The four major U.S. commercial television networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) offer full previous episodes of some of their most popular shows online for free (see David Pogue's article). Unfortunately, none of these video services provide captioning (text) of the spoken audio and may not be available from locations outside of the U.S. But if you happen to be a fan of ABC's "Lost" and need the transcripts, you can find them at www.lost-tv.com/transcripts.
    • Hulu Hulu is an online video on demand service offering streaming video of TV shows and movies, primarily from NBC and FOX and their cable networks. It is available for users in the U.S. only.
    • Adobe Media Player is a desktop media player that offers users to manage and interact with their media content, and allows content publishers to define branding and advertising in and around their content. The Adobe Media Player is one of the first Adobe AIR applications from Adobe Systems. Its content partners include CBS, MTV Networks, Universal Music Group, PBS and Scripps Networks. It is available to users worldwide.
    • France 24 (see above under "multilingual")
    • Atom Films provides a large number of short English-language films that can be viewed on line. Some films can be downloaded for portable viewing on Sony's PlayStation Portable (PSP). Some material may be unsuitable for younger and sensitive viewers.
    • The National Archives Public Information Films. "For the first time on The National Archives' website you can view complete public information films from the 20th Century. The first selection of films from 1945 -1951 features some fascinating events from Britain's post-war history" (from websiste). Trasncripts provided. Windows Media Player required.
    • In2TV offers a free selection of vintage U.S. programs.
    • VideoJug offers videos on "how to" do things in various topics. Some videos have text version, and some can be downloaded as iPod, PSP, or mobile files. Videos are mainly in British English.
    • Lingual Net offers free short English movies for ESL learners, under different categories such as drama, animation, cine-poetry, home-made, documentary, travel, and commercials. It has English subtitles and comprehension check questions.
  • Chinese Mandarin
    • New Practical Chinese Reader Videos The New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook is one of the standard text/workbooks to teach Mandarin to English speakers. This website, maintained by the Office of Chinese Language Council International of the People's Republic of China, contains short video clips of each lesson from the book. Although the videos are clearly low budget, they present clear settings and situations to use the phrases shown. Also, the scenes appear to be in China and can expose students to the architecture and landscape of modern China. All the speakers are native Mandarin speakers, and the videos are clearly marked according to chapter.
      • Side note: The site also has links to animations of each new character and audio pronunciations. Other sections of the site are being developed to provide radio and music shows in Chinese with supporting materials. An outstanding resource for students with or without the book.
  • French
    • France 24 (see above under "multilingual")
    • Ma France by BBC MaFrance is an incredibly well-made interactive experience for learning French. The project uses flash games and video for instruction, along with transcription, taking the user on a journey through the French life.
    • Institute National d'Audiovisuel. Over 100,000 hours of French-language audio and video.
    • TV5is a French-language television network available via cable and satellite in Europe and North America that provides provides programs from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and Francophone Africa. All TV5 video programs require Windows Media Player which unfortunately no longer works on Macintosh OS 10.4 ("Tiger").
      • On the Internet, TV5 provides twice-daily world news programs and a daily program of African news. These are archived daily can be viewed in an embedded RealPlayer windows which allows the viewer to choose among the particular news stories contained in the broadcast (but with no ability to move backward or forward within a story) or using an external RealPlayer windows (move the cursor to the upper left corner of the small embedded screen for the pop-up icons that allow this) that provides fair-quality full-screen video with the ability to move back to ahead in the program.
      • TV5 also provides WebTV which is an archive of a wide range of TV programs produced by TV5.
      • An additional resource on TV5 is Merci Professeur which is a mini explanation of a vocabulary word or grammatical expression. One just needs to click on the word in the list below the video screen and a video loads with famous French linguist Bernard Cerquiglini who goes on to explain the origins of the expression and gives his opinion on the usage of the word. This is really interesting and useful for L2 French learners studying the history of words and why the French say what they say.
    • Radio-Canada Radio-Canada, Canada's French-language national radio and television service, redesigned its website in January 2007 to make its audio and video offerings more accessible. For French learners, Radio-Canada provides a rich source of quality live and on-demand radio and television programs, primarily concerning, news, information, culture, science and environment. Listings of Radio-Canada's podcasts ("baladodiffusion") and RSS feeds are also provided.Of particular interest are the evening television news broadcasts (Le Téléjournal) which are kept for two months after being broadcast. Unfortunately, the video quality is far from state-of-the-art for Internet multimedia as demonstrated by France 24. Hopefully, this will be improved in the future.
  • Japanese
    • Learn Amazing Japanese Has Japanese video clips (commercials, interesting stories, etc.) with transcripts and/or language points.
    • Nikkei TV a Vancouver-based website that offers Japanese news and video clips.
    • Learn Japanese Through Anime a website that offers weekly free Japanese video lessons

Satellite TV[edit]

DVD Video[edit]

DVD Players (hardware) for Language Learners[edit]

Language learners wishing to improve their language proficiency in a foreign language by viewing foreign-language movies and other programs available on DVDs, may find certain features available on some DVD players useful. These include:

  • Universal features
    • Zone-free capability allows playing DVDs from any region in the world (see region codes)
    • PAL-to-NTSC and NTSC-to-PAL conversion allows playing PAL format DVDs (e.g., European) on NTSC televisions (e.g., U.S.) and vice versa
    • Universal voltage capability allows operation of player from 110 (e.g., in U.S.) to 240 volts (e.g., Europe)
  • Special playback features
    • 'Variable-speed playback with audio that does not change frequency
    • Instant replay with or without selectable jump-back time interval (about 6 seconds is good to hear a sentence or phrase repeated)
    • A-B Repeat allows the user to indicate with a remote control keypress points A and B while the DVD is playing; player then continuously repeats the A-B segment until a third keypress which causes the DVD to play normally again.
  • DVD Player Information and Reviews
    • Malata DVP-558. Purchased (by GC) from HK HK Flix.com in March 2005 for $159.95 US plus $14.95 US for shipping to the U.S. This model has all the universal features listed above. The only special playback feature it has is A-B repeat. With this feature, if the A-B button on the remote control is pressed twice, the player will repeat the section from A (where first pressed) to B (where pressed second). This A-B section will be continuously repeated until the A-B button is pressed a third time at which time normal playback continues.

DVD Player Software for Language Learners[edit]

  • software to make computer DVD player zone-free

DVD Movies[edit]

Viewing movies in a foreign language can an entertaining and effective way to improve one's listening comprehension in a foreign language. Due to the fast, colloquial speech used in many movies, even intermediate to advanced learners of a foreign language can experience considerable difficulty in understanding the language used in a movie.

The availability of closed captions on DVD movies can greatly facilitate the comprehension of foreign-language movies. Provided for deaf or hearing handicapped viewers, closed captions allow the foreign-language viewer to see (read) what the characters are saying by providing on the screen a transcript of the audio porton of the film. However, while closed captions are quite common on DVDs released in the U.S. and Canada, they are less likely to be found on other DVDs. In addition, the captions provided by some DVD movies are not a verbatim transcriptions of the spoken script but rather often paraphrase what is being said, thereby compomising their value for language learners.

Also very useful but even less common is the provision audio description. Intended primarily four the blind and visually handicapped, audio description provides a spoken description of the scenes and actions of a movie. By listening to the audio description, language learners can learn many new words as they are used in a meaningful context.

Information is provided below on DVD movies that include subtitles, closed captions and/or audio description in the movie's original language.

  • French
    • Sources
      • dvdfr.com provides detailed technical information (see index) on 14,000 DVDs available in France.
      • amazon.fr will ship French DVDs to anywhere in the world.
    • DVD Titles with Original Language Captions and/or Audio Description
      • Est-Ouest. DVD contains subtitles in French that are a close transcription of audio track in French
      • [[wikimedia:Le_Fabuleux_destin_d%27Am%E9lie_Poulain | Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain]] (TF1 Vidéo 201723, Region 2) includes both captions (fairly close to the sound track) and audio description in the original French.
      • Les invasions barbares (North American Region 1 version) includes captions in French that are a close transcription of the soundtrack.
      • Indochine (North American Region 1 version). Includes captions in French that are a very close transcription of the soundtrack.
  • Japanese
    • Sources
      • amazon.jp will ship Japanese DVDs to anywhere in the world. There is an English version of the site, but rudimentary Japanese can be helpful in navigation.
    • DVD Titles with Original Language Captions and/or Audio Description
      • Japanese editions of DVDs from Studio Ghibli have Japanese subtitles, and often subtitles in other languages (also often with corresponding dubbed languages). The Japanese edition DVD of もののけ姫 (Princess Mononoke) has no less than eight languages with corresponding language subtitles. (Japanese, English, French, Cantonese, Italian, Spanish, German, and Portuguese)

Movie Screenplays (Scripts) and Transcripts[edit]

Movie transcripts are a written version of the spoken dialogue of a film which may be quite different from the screenplay or script of the movie due to changes and improvisations made while creating the movie.

English[edit]
Other Languages[edit]

I (Gary) am having trouble finding scripts of non-English movies on the Web. It would help to have the foreign equivalents of screeplay (script) and transcript so these could be searched using Google or other search engine. Please contribute what you know.

  • French: screenplay (script) = ?; transcript = ?
  • German: screenplay (script) = Drehbuch; transcript = das Transcript, die Mitschrift or der Text
  • Portuguese: screenplay (script) = ?; transcript = ?
  • Spanish: screenplay (script) = ?; transcript = ?

Other Movie-Related Resources[edit]

Portable Video[edit]

Sony's PlayStation Portable, introduced in 2005, is a handheld game console that can also play full-length movies and digital audio that may be of interest to language learners.

The fifth generation of Apple's iPod released in October 2005 is capable of showing video.

Learning Science[edit]

This interactive tool can be used for ell students learning the English names for human anatomy for high school and college level students. Human Body interactive tutorial[30]


This is a great interactive webquest that incorporates video, animation, and text to learn about plant, animal, and bacterial cells. It includes practice quizzes, labeled diagrams, games, crossword puzzles, and activities. It is a complete cell unit in a single place! Cells Alive [31]

Games[edit]

Games can also be a source of meaningful input for students and can be used to supplement content-based lessons.

Note that games not specifically meant to be "educational" can also be very useful. Varieties of game that involve a lot of language that must be understood to solve puzzles, or with a compelling storyline told with language are the best. If solving a puzzle rests on understanding the language used by the game, there is more motivation to figure out the meaning than if the language is not necessary to playing the game.

There are various practicalities to playing games in other languages. Computer and handheld games don't tend to be region-locked so the only problem in that case is importing the games. If the target language is spoken somewhere within the region (as defined by games companies) then for console gaming it's just a matter of importing the material. If the target language is only spoken outside of your region, consoles will (usually) either have to be imported or modified to play foreign games.

English[edit]
  • NobelPrize.org Educational Games This site has a number of educational games related to the categories of Nobel Prizes.
  • Voice Of America, Games with words This site provides simple word quizzes and games.
  • The [w:Nintendo DS] appears to have games for English learning aimed at non-native speakers in several regions for several L1s.
Japanese[edit]
  • The [w:Nintendo DS] is host to many games and dictionaries for learning Japanese. Most appear to be aimed at native speakers (although there are several for children), but will be useful once one reaches a certain level.
Spanish[edit]
  • Word Searches and Hangman There are two games on this site, word searches and hangman. There is a large number of different topic word search lists to choose from (such as 'ropa', 'la cocina', 'ciudades', 'casa', etc...) in which the items associated with or found in the topic are listed and you (or your student) can find the words in the word search. There is also hangman that gives a description of the word (in Spanish) and allows you to guess what the word is. This can help with learning spelling of words and also reading and understanding descriptions in Spanish.

Enhanced Input[edit]

Input Flood[edit]

  • give example
  • advantages and disadvantages

Enhanced Text[edit]

  • give example
  • advantages and disadvantages
  • consider "meaningfully enhanced text"
    • le garçon (in blue) vs. la fille (in pink)
    • was speaking (stretchted out font) vs. spoke (compact font)
    • <- the man (already mentioned) vs. 1 am man (first mention)
    • have computer program do meaninful text enhancement automatically
  • Text Enhancer: Users can copy and paste meaningful text (e.g., online news articles), and select words from a list to highlight. Will be developed further to accommodate searches for particular grammatical topics.

Enhanced Audio[edit]

  • has anybody used this?

City Resources[edit]

Germany[edit]

Spain[edit]

Thailand[edit]

Conclusion[edit]

As described above, the wide variability of interesting and high-quality FL text and audio now available via the Internet provides an extremely valuable resource for FL learners. A computer anywhere in the world connected to the Internet allows access to these materials in dozens of not hundreds of languages. As detailed above, the resources for learners of Spanish, French and German (not to mention English for ESL learners) are particularly abundant, including daily newspapers, current magazines and interesting radio programs.

But these resources will have little impact on one’s developing language proficiency unless they are accessed frequently. For autonomous language learning, this can probably best be accomplished by incorporating FL reading and listening into one’s daily activities by using them as regular sources of news, education, and entertainment. Two of the most convenient techniques described above for accomplishing this is to use a PDA to automatically download FL news and a low-power FM or AM transmitter to make FL radio readily accessible anywhere in one’s home or on one’s campus.

Such timely and interesting text and audio can also be incorporated into FL courses by assigning listening and readings activities to be done outside of class and discussed in class. Sources of FL text and recorded (on-demand) audio could be delivered via Web-based learning management systems such as Blackboard (www.blackboard.com) or WebCT (www.webct.com) and incorporated into assignments and assessments activities. Other activities could include having students find their own favorite sources of FL text and audio on the Internet and sharing these with their classmates (possibly via the creation of websites with descriptions of and links to the sources).

Another possible incentive for autonomous student use of FL text and audio on the Internet is obtaining academic credit for FL proficiency acquired outside of formal classes. In the United States, approximately 1,800 colleges and universities are members of the American Council on Education (ACE) which has established guidelines for awarding academic credit for FL proficiency as assessed by the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) of the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). This test can be taken for a fee via telephone in 37 languages.

A final recommendation for the use of these Internet resources for FL learning is to show students the resources that are available for language learning on the Internet and ways to use these resources. These resources include not only the input resources for reading and listening considered in this paper but also resources for finding language learning partners (Tandem learning partners) on the Internet and using computer-mediated communication (CMC) to interact with them so that both partners can improve their FL proficiency in reading, writing, listening and/or speaking (see Cziko and Park, 2003; Cziko, 2004). Allowing FL students to develop an appreciation for the resources available on the Internet and providing ideas for their use such as those provided in this paper suggest a new version of the ancient Chinese proverb that would go something like this: “Provide a foreign language student with a language lesson and the student will learn for an hour. Show a foreign language student how to make use of the Internet for language learning, and the student will learn for a lifetime.”

References[edit]