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my thoughts


Following our discussion on Wednesday, I have been thinking about a couple of things. First, I appreciated Alexandra’s facilitation of the discussion as it raised a lot of interesting questions not only about CALL and CMC but also about TBLT—which you will see I’ve discussed before on this blog. One specific thing that caught my attention was our discussion of effective means of teaching vocabulary—for instance the preference for a gloss rather than a dictionary and the benefit of having a visual image and encouraging learner autonomy in seeking out those images and translations. We also discussed how these concepts could apply to the virtual reality simulator that we experimented with. As I reflected on all of this, it occurred to me that these options would be limited to a specific kind of vocabulary. What I mean by this is you wouldn’t easily be able to provide an image for abstract words like “doubt” or “expertise” etc. There are also several culturally specific words that don’t necessarily have a direct translation either. I can think of two examples in Korean – 1) 애교 and 2) 눈치. Google translates the first as “lovely” which is already wrong as it is translating a noun to an adjective; the second is translated as “tact” but that along with the previous translation is missing a lot of information that is embedded in these words. This is where I think CMC fits in. A great way to learn these culturally specific terms would be by asking L1 speakers of that language. There’s no simple answer, the speakers would have to negotiate for meaning (task) and there’s a lot of context that would have to be described within that process. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!

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