Hiroshima Studies in Language and Language Education Issue 8
2005-03-31 発行


Learning German Using a New On-line German-Japanese Parallel Corpus
For one and a half years, the author and his team at Hiroshima University have been developing an on-line parallel corpus for Japanese learners of German, called DJPD (Deutsch-Japanisches Parallelkorpus fur Deutschlernende). At the end of the project in early 2006, the DJPD will contain about 22,000 German example sentences with Japanese translations of each of them. As of the publication of this paper, 14,000 German sentences with Japanese translations have already been registered into the DJPD. The remaining 8,000 German sentences have been finished, but since they have not been translated, they are not on line yet. All of the sentences have been newly-made on the basis of key words, selected by means of various criteria. The list of key words is comprised of approximately 700 verbs, 500 adjectives, and 2,700 nouns, all of which belong to the levels Al to B2 proposed in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (Council of Europe, 2001). If a student types in a word or an expression to be searched for, and clicks on the search button, the learner instantly gets several (if not dozens of) example sentences in which the word(s) can be used. From these data, a student can easily understand how and in what kind of contexts the word(s) appear(s). Because of the refined search and sort functions as well as the possibilities of making fill-in-the blank exercises, one can also use DJPD as a tool for explorative German learning, where learners, instead of only being taught, elaborate their own hypotheses and prove or disprove them by checking data. This kind of autonomous learning improves learners' abilities and sensibilities more effectively, especially in the areas of reasoning word meanings, utilizing yet-to-be mastered vocabulary, and acquiring grammar skills. As key words for searching, students can use not only German but also Japanese words. This paper consists of three parts. The first section provides a theoretical background, especially a short historical review of language learning using corpora during the last two decades. In the second section, the general concept of DJPD and its various functions are introduced, using numerous concrete examples. And finally in the last section, the value of a corpus as a tool for explorative German learning at universities in Japan is illustrated by means of seven concrete classroom activities and their accompanying worksheets. The DJPD will be open to the public from April 1, 2005 at the following URL: http://www.vu.hiroshima-u.ac.jp/deutsch/