An Examination of the Role and the Effectiveness of the Computer in the Learning of the French Language

McMenemy, Stuart A. B (1993) An Examination of the Role and the Effectiveness of the Computer in the Learning of the French Language. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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In order to construct a suitable theoretical framework within which to examine the effectiveness of computer-assisted language learning, this thesis begins with a review of language learning theory, of the various approaches to learning a second or foreign language, and then an analysis of the computer's relationship to both theory and methodology is undertaken. It is recognised that language exists in two forms: as a rule-governed, structural entity; and as a means to communication. The computer is seen to be useful, either currently or potentially, in relation to both of these forms of language, but is, in fact, most commonly used to help with the learning of the structures and grammar of the foreign language. The focus in the second chapter is on the effectiveness of computer as an aid to learning the rule-governed side of the French language. Several related issues are examined firstly, before the role of text-based exercises and of feedback are looked at through the statistical results of a series of test procedures. The statistical results indicate that the claims made in favour of these two elements to CALL are perhaps not to be accepted unconditionally. At the same time, the results highlight surprisingly poor performances by the apparently more able students involved in the tests. These may be due to aspects of the computer programs themselves, or, as is more likely, to these students having a greater intuitive knowledge of the French language, which meant that they were disadvantaged by the rule-based approach of the computer exercises. Other questionnaires confirm initial impressions of a distrust of the computer as an independent language learning tool. This study concludes that the use of the computer in learning the French language is not always of benefit to all learners, and that the implementation of any CALL programme must be accompanied by an awareness that some of the claims made on CALL'S behalf are certainly not to be taken for granted.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Language arts, Educational technology, Foreign language education
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-76300
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 16:09
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 16:09

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