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General Description | Evaluation | Summary | Producer Details | Reviewer Information
CALICO Software Review

Critical Language Series: Intermediate Turkish

Yesim Kesli - Texas Tech University

Product at a glance

Product type
Drill & practice
Language
Turkish
Level
Adult Intermediate
Activities
Multiple choice, fill-in-the-blanks exercises; dictation; listening comprehension; vocabulary learning, grammar drills etc.
Media Format
DVD-ROM with built-in MaxBrowser. This disc runs only on a computer and will not run on a standard home DVD movie player
Operating System
Windows 2000/XP
Hardware requirements
PC: Pentium III+
RAM
128MB
Hard Disk Space
Less than 10 MB is needed. The user must always insert the disc to use the product.
DVD
DVD-ROM drive
Sound
16bit Sound card, microphone recommended for recording
Video
1024 x 768 or higher
Supplementary Software
Windows Media Player 7+,
Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5+
Documentation
On-line
Printed
Technical support: http://clp.arizona.edu/cls
MaxBrowser support: available from within the browser itself
Price: Single
User
Multiple Copies
Site License
US$ 79.95
Site licenses are not currently offered. For volume purchases, call the University of Arizona Press at 1-800-426-3797 or e-mail orders@uapress.arizona.edu

CALICO Journal, Volume 24, Number 3, p. 729 
General Description
This Intermediate Turkish DVD-ROM is divided into 14 units which contain in total twenty lessons. Some units contain more than one lesson due to the amount of material covered. Each unit provides an outline as an introduction and consists of a main text and dialogue with accompanying audio and video segments. There are both English and Turkish audio. Each lesson has a dozen or so vocabulary words, which users can practice in a fill-in-the-blanks exercise as well as ten multiple-choice comprehension questions. The main text of each unit has an average of eight dictation sentence exercises and pronunciation practice with record and playback capabilities for learners. Also, each unit contains at least one grammar drill exercise mostly in the form of sentence or word completion.

Sections entitled “Ogrendiklerimizi kullanalim...” (Let’s use what we learned) and “ Neler ogrendik...” (What have we learned) emphasize the essential topics and skills for each lesson and unit. Users will be able to practice the grammar and vocabulary while gaining valuable tools for expressing themselves in Turkish. There are also supplemental sections which are meant to provide additional contextual and cultural information for students. These sections provide interesting aspects of the Turkish language and culture. Moreover, this DVD-ROM provides students with detailed grammar explanations in English of each unit’s topic as well as with beginning Turkish grammar topics. While this interactive multimedia language software is intended primarily for independent study, the content could be incorporated into a classroom both as lesson-content or as supplementary drills and exercises to reinforce what is being taught in classroom lessons.


Figure 1

 
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Evaluation
Technological Features
This DVD-ROM is very simple and easy to install with adequate instructions. The speed of program operation is very high; no delays occur while viewing and listening to videos or audios. No crashes or stalls occurred during operation. The screens are very appealing in terms of esthetics, and they have navigational transparency. This DVD-ROM is very user-friendly and from the very beginning offers useful instructions and tips including footnotes easily viewable in each lesson. In addition, if needed, users can get online help from the producer’s website ( http://clp.arizona.edu/cls ). Each unit has a main text with high quality video and audio. These high quality videos and audio contribute to the effectiveness of the program.

Activities (Procedure)
The home page of this DVD-ROM provides access to the individual units as well as to an informative and useful “Grammar and Extras” component.
In each unit, at the very beginning there is an introduction section which explains what the student will be doing throughout the unit. There then follows a section which consists of a text and dialogues to be read together with an audio and video which enables students both to read and listen to the text at the same time. In addition, students can click on each underlined word in “word view” or sentence in “sentence view” and get the Turkish pronunciation or English translation with right-click of the mouse separately.



Figure 2


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Each text and dialogue has fill-in-the-blanks exercises, multiple-choice exercises, dictation, a vocabulary game or electronic flashcards, translation of each Turkish sentence into English, and a pronunciation component in which students can individually practice Turkish pronunciation by themselves. Program activities are all accessible from a toolbar located at the top of the screen.



Figure 3


A Grammar section consisting of drill exercises like fill-in-the-blanks, dictation, pronunciation, and also translations as well as detailed structural information may be obtained by clicking on the <Flash> part of the tool bar. The Flash facility is very useful for students because it provides them with English translations of each sentence and also with the clearly pronounced form of each sentence. All of the activities have an explicit linguistic focus. Grammar exercises focus on syntax, lexis, morphology, spelling, and pronunciation. All four language skills receive attention, though listening and writing more so than speaking and reading.



Figure 4


Another component of the program (Ogrendiklerimizi kullanalim..) provides more practice in the form of writing activities which enable the students to make use of what they have learnt: grammar topic, vocabulary and expressions. These activities, which are form-focused and structural in nature, give learners the opportunity to practice more what they have learned in the reading text part- vocabulary- and in the grammar section. In addition, it leads learners to investigate both the language and the country, culture, daily life, etc.
 
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Figure 5


Each unit concludes with a Summary section (Neler ogrendik...) which gives an overall review of each unit.
An Extras section contains vowel harmony exercises based on aural flashcards which drill learners in suffix completion for words according to Turkish vowel harmony patterns. Only three (3) suffix types are drilled but learners can practice for speed to achieve an almost reflexive ability for completing suffixes in Turkish. Vowel harmony is a very important aspect of the Turkish language and those learners who can develop an ear for it will be able to master the language with greater ease.
In the Extras section, some common cultural gestures and expressions are also explained. While learners may not feel comfortable using all of these expressions until becoming more fluent in the language, the videos and sample dialogues provide learners insight into the rich cultural components of the Turkish language.

Teacher Fit (Approach)
While the developers do not explicitly identify the underling methodological approach of this program, the DVD-ROM is clearly based on a structuralist approach combined with some grammar-translation. In other words, the learners are exposed to the texts and dialogues and also grammar instructions in each unit in Turkish as well as in English. They learn the target language item through several possible methods: footnotes, context, translation and see the various usages of an item in different grammar drills. Users are also exposed to some authentic tasks in the form of writing activities dealing with Turkish daily life, Turkish food, etc. that aim to teach learners to communicate in the target language through contact with the target culture.

Turkish social and cultural aspects are authentically represented in the content throughout realistic dialogues, with real-life characters, especially in the video segments. In videos urban and modern aspects of Turkish society are represented. With regard to linguistic accuracy, language usage is highly standard. There are no errors, typos, or peculiar vocabulary in the dialogues.

As with the Beginning Turkish CD that preceded it, the Intermediate Turkish DVD-ROM could be incorporated into classroom learning if some pre-listening assignments and more substantial grammar explanations were prepared. Some
 
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parts, if not all, of the product could be incorporated into existing class lessons plans since daily and cultural aspects for target language are covered in each of the product’s lessons.


Learner Fit (Design)
The Intermediate Turkish DVD-ROM program is intended to accommodate adult students who are keen on getting explicit grammatical instruction and translated versions of everything taught in the target language. It is thus most suitable for field-dependent learners, especially those most comfortable with deductive teaching approaches, i.e., reinforcement of grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary. However, the multimedia resources of the program make it very appealing for audio-visual learners. Students not only see the texts but also hear and watch the speaker, which enhances learning in a very positive way. Students’ answers are well-handled in all exercises; they are not only treated as “right/wrong” but also context sensitive feedback is provided. For dictation exercises, allowances are made for spelling discrepancies, extra spaces, and punctuation errors, even Turkish alphabetical characters are also provided for students.
With regard to linguistic level, the program is very appropriate for the intermediate level students learning Turkish as a second language. All of the sections in each unit are in sequence both in terms of grammar subjects and the text and dialogue topics. However, the grammatical explanations in both Turkish and English are very challenging and may be difficult to comprehend for students at the intermediate level without the assistance of an instructor.
Use of native speakers and authentic cultural materials in the photos and videos make the target language and culture come alive for the learner. The product accommodates a range of learning styles.
This DVD-ROM is primarily intended for individual work and so would best be integrated into a classroom curriculum as a supplementary material. On the other hand, if more group work activities are added, it could certainly be used as a primary material for teaching intermediate Turkish.

Summary
Critical Language Series: Intermediate Turkish DVD-ROM is a very effective tool for the teaching and learning of Turkish. It has many strengths, but also some shortcomings:
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Scaled rating (1 low-5 high)
Implementation possibilities: 3
Pedagogical features: 5
Socio-Linguistic accuracy: 5
Use of computer capabilities: 3.5
Ease of use : 5
Over-all evaluation: 4
Value for money: 4.5

Producer Details
Developer: Jessica Tiregol
Produced by:
University of Arizona Critical Languages Program
1717 E. Speedway Blvd., Suite 3312
Tucson, Arizona 85721-0151, USA

Phone: (520) 626-9209
Fax: (520) 621-3386
WWW: http://clp.arizona.edu/cls

Distributed by:
University of Arizona Press
355 S. Euclid Ave., Suite 103
Tucson, AZ 85719

Phone: (800) 426-3797, (520) 626-4218 in Arizona and outside the US
Fax: (800) 426-3797
Email: orders@uapress.arizona.edu
WWW: http://www.uapress.arizona.edu
 
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Reviewer Information
Yesim Kesli has an Undergraduate Degree in Foreign Language Teaching from Middle East Technical University and an MA. in English Language Teaching from Cukurova University, Turkey. She is completing another MA in Applied Linguistics from Texas Tech University and is also working on a Ph.D. in English Language Teaching at Cukurova University, Turkey. She is mainly interested in teaching, research, designing online courses and creating CALL materials in English and Turkish. She has been a research assistant at English Language Teaching Department, Cukurova University in Turkey since 1999 and she has been teaching Turkish at Texas Teach for 2 years.

Contact Address:
The Department of Classical & Modern Languages
Texas Tech University
P.O. Box 42071
Lubbock, Texas USA 79409-2071

Phone: 1-806-747-7334
Email: yesim.kesli@ttu.edu
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