Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education Issue 7
2004-03-31 発行


Developing Internet Writing Help Devices for Japanese Learners of German
In the beginning stage of learning a foreign language, listening, speaking, and reading are often given priority, while writing is the focus of attention only in a later learning phase. But this general tendency does not always warrant merit. For example, there are special social learning contexts, such as learning German at Japanese universities where most learners are young adults and have strong desires to express themselves in the foreign language they are learning. These learners also have a background of having already studied English for six years, a language whose vocabulary and grammar exhibit many similarities with those of German. In this particular case, the intentional accentuation of training writing skills on the beginners level would be possible along with other skills and could contribute to motivating students for further learning. But, for the training of writing skills at the beginner' s level, we need some kind of special devices for helping learners in their writing of German in and outside of the classroom. For that purpose, the author has been developing Internet Writing Help Devices for Japanese Learners of German. These devices should offer learners help on the following six phases: 1. Online in-house typing software (on the level of computer literacy) 2. Translation exercises of Japanese sentences into German with an automatic correction program, named Satto-Eisaku (on the level of making sentences from idioms) 3. Grammar exercises through sentence transformation (for actively applying grammar rules in writing sentences) 4. Bilingual database of abundant German and Japanese illustrative sentences (online sentence-dictionary) (for further information, see: Iwasaki & Yoshida 2004) 5. German writing help center (on the level of making a good text from sentences) 6. An electronic bulletin board as a means of making public the learning processes (motivating) (for further information, see: Iwasaki 2000) We will bring the plan to completion especially by combining the above referred aspects in an integrated and more user-friendly interface, and we will collect experiences through using practices in German courses so that in the near future we will be able to offer some kind of online German writing course fully on CmC (Computer-mediated Communication) bases.