German Sentence Practice For The BBC Micro (Educated Owl) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

German Sentence Practice For The BBC Micro
By Educated Owl
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 1.10

...And German Too

This software cassette contains two programs. The first illustrates and gives the text of nine sentences or phrases and requires the learner to reproduce the sentences exactly.

The program causes the sentence to be shown on screen and requires him to reproduce the whole sentence. Praise is given when the sentence is correct. No score is kept.

The above bald description might indicate at first sight an expensive way of getting children to learn a few sentences, but this does not take into account the fact that the graphics, though simple, are extremely motivating and totally relevant to the sentences.

Many are animated, including a little man who enters a bank, and a little man who gets into a car. Four colours are used and the drawings are created on screen out of basic shapes - rectangle, triangle, circle - and this reveals the second level of the programming.

The manufacturers supply details for changing the text and for changing the graphics. The program is, in itself, a rich source of graphics procedures and means of tying text with pictures, and could prove of interest to the language teacher interested in programming or a colleague who could help him.

It is this possibility of extension that makes the program useful. Here, for reference, is a translation of the nine phrases used. I give this because a "French Sentence Practice" cassette is also available, which would appear to have the same graphics.

The sentences are: 1, I'm shopping; 2, The handbag; 3, He has spent money; 4, He gets into the car; 5, He has to wait 30 minutes; 6, The big man who wanted to be small; 7,1 ask for money; 8, Twenty marks (100 Fr in the French version); 9, He has gone into the bank.

The sentences come from the same shopping/town situation but have mixed tenses and persons - I suppose they represent important constructions, but the reason for the selection is not immediately clear though the same phrases occur in the second program.

The second program is a cloze type program. The learner is presented with a 150 word narrative about Mrs Gieselmann shopping (good "O" Level and CSE material) in the imperfect tense with 20 blank spaces to fill in. The learner is helped by being given the next letter if he fails to guess it after three attempts. A percentage score is given at the end.

Again, this program is on two levels - the text given and the fact that instructions are given on how to change the text and decide which words are to be blanked out. This tape can thus be considered a general purpose cloz.e-type program. In short, two programs with potential - motivating and with good use of graphics.

Peter Hillman

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