Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Language Learning Software for the Visually Impaired

Language Learning Software for the Visually Impaired 

All textbooks are not printed  in braille. That is quite an understatement. The difficult situations  the visually impaired encounter   go beyond  the state of their eyes.

From a language teacher’s standpoint , the follow-through   of a new  braille code for the International Phonetic Alphabet  has been  a good and great thing . Many  teachers have been awaiting it for years , to say nothing about their students!

There are people who say that it  made the learning of  braille  tougher, but it is false . Usually , when  one  starts learning a foreign language , he already can read and write his own , whatever the means. learners  that  are not visually challenged   must learn the phonetic alphabet as well. Though it is very   rare , regarding this point the blind  are not in an unfavorable position .

In spite of that , the cost -and thus  the price- to produce   raised dot   documents, with or without phonetic signs , is really dear , and limits  the access  to knowledge of many blind people .

As opposed to   printed  books   or embossed  paper books , audiobooks  can be used by blind and sighted persons as well . But familiar  audio books  present  a significant   disadvantage   for students : they are meant for people who already know the language they are hearing to.

To be able to understand   a novel  recorded  in a foreign language, the listeners must choose recordings that meet  their own grades   of knowledge. The result is that  they are unlikely to meliorate significantly . Whatever the domain someone wants to master, in order to improve  he has to aim higher than his currrent   level, because if he does not,  he will gracefully stagnate… until   he goes back .

When it comes to learning languages, here is the excellence   of the dual language  audiobooks . The  immediate rendering   keeps   the listener from being flooded with a stream   of incomprehensible  clauses .
If someone has never heard a simultaneous interpretation  or something of the kind, like the audio description that allows to depict a visual scene through audio technology, a bilingual recording may sound somewhat strange.  As it is often the case with novelties , it is a matter of habit . And it comes with the first  alternation . The time for the listener to recognize the voices and to know which one speaks which language.
To listen to an extract is the best  way to check that bilingual recordings for the blind make language learning a breeze.

Past the first seconds of uncertainty, it is like exploring   a new world , a world where to study a second or third language  is allowed to anyone – sighted   or not- who wishes to discover a world
The approach  closely imitates   the natural method  quite a lot,  including  its advantages and drawbacks . As we all experienced once , its main vantage   lies in  the absence of conscient efforts . The main difference is that instead of having parents who explain and repeat , the pupil presses   the “Play ” button  when needed; the principle however remains unchanged .

Its most significant   hindrance   is the same as the  almost instinctive  approach ‘s: it takes time . True , it is pleasant time, but time nonetheless.

A kid needs 3 years   to learn his mother tongue.  It is rare that adults can spend so muc time   doing no more than learning a second  language. They will save a lot of time by sacrifying a lilliputian   portion   of the easiness and learning some basic grammar , instead  of having to infer the grammar rules  by keeping on listening  to dozens of examples .

The set of bilingual audiobooks proposes  several pairs  of languages: English-Spanish, English-French, French-Spanish, English-German. Not all pairs are presently available at all levels , but however   the method is the best language learning software   that meets the needs of the visually impaired .

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