Friday, September 06, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
The newest issue of TESL Ontario's Contact magazine is now available. This is the research symposium issue, based on talks given each fall at TESL Ontario's conference. The issue is edited by Hedy McGarrell and David Wood. The authors are: Dianne Larsen-Freeman, Antonella Valeo, Farahnaz Faez, Douglas Fleming, Alister Cumming, Robert Kohls, Hedy McGarrell, David Wood, and Randy Appel.
Please, check it out.
Please, check it out.
Monday, May 27, 2013
A student wrote to me asking about the meaning and placement of then in this sentence.
Is it just me?
The product is then designed with this target price in mind.As I was explaining that then could be resultative (meaning something like "so that" or "in that case") or simply temporal (meaning roughly "next" or "after that"). I also pointed out that it could occur initially, medially (in a number of places), or finally:
1 The product is 2 designed with this target price in mind 3.Then, it occurred to me that position 1 could only be interpreted as being the temporal meaning, position 2 was ambiguous, and position 3 strongly suggests the resultative meaning.
Is it just me?
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
I'm now into my second year as editor of TESL Ontario's Contact magazine. You can download issues for free as far back as 2000. I've been the editor for just over a year now (volumes 38 & 39). We just put out the conference issue today, as we do every spring. I hope you enjoy it. Please, leave me a comment to let me know what you thought.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Last year, I blogged about the first English Proficiency Index here. Education First has now released their second index, and they're getting some good publicity out of it (I'm linking to them). The same problems as last year occur: self selection of participants, and need for a computer with internet access to do the test. There's also no data on test reliability and no validity arguments. Still, with 1.7 million participants over three years in more than 50 countries, you wouldn't want to completely dismiss the results either.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Another new and potentially useful site:
Extensive Reading Central is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing an Extensive Reading and Extensive Listening approach to foreign and second language learning. It was started by Dr. Rob Waring of Note Dame Seishin University, Okayama, Japan and Dr. Charles Browne of Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan as a free service to the EFL community.
Tutela.ca (“Service”) is a Canadian not-for-profit online repository and community for ESL (English as a Second Language) and FSL (French as a Second Language) professionals registered to use the Service (“Users”). As a repository, the Service provides Users with access to ESL and FSL materials including classroom materials, lesson plans, assessment information, and reusable learning objects. As a community, the Service enables Users to share materials, discover new approaches, locate solutions, and network including through the use of the online meeting and webinar conferencing capabilities of the Service (“Conferencing”). The Service is supported by funding from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (“CIC”) and is owned and operated by Citadel Rock Online Communities Inc. (“Citadel”). (my bold)I'm not really sure how this works. Tutela itself is not for profit, but Citadel is a privately owned corporation, for profit as far as I can tell. It has received a number of grants from the federal government. Just so as you know...
Saturday, October 20, 2012
As I wrote yesterday, there are some strange tagging decisions concerning determinatives in this corpus. It seems though, as I added in an update, that these are largely the fault of the Part-of_Speech Tagging guidelines for the Penn Treebank Project.
The problems, though, are not limited to determinatives. Subordinators are also affected. The words that, whether, and if (e.g., They told me that it was OK and They asked me whether/if it was OK) are tagged as _ADP_ (short for ADPOSITION, a more inclusive term for prepositions.) The guidelines say:
"We make no explicit distinction between prepositions and subordinating conjunctions. (The distinction is not lost, however - a preposition is an IN that precedes a noun phrase or a prepositional phrase, and a subordinate conjunction is an IN that precedes a clause).This makes good sense for words like because, after, and since, which have been treated as "subordinating conjunctions" but really are prepositions and function as the heads of preposition phrases. It doesn't work, though, with that, whether, and if, which function as markers of subordination and not heads. Consider the difference between these two clauses:
The preposition "to" has its own special tag TO."