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LINGUIST List 16.1884

Thu Jun 16 2005

Qs: Syntax Trees/IPA for Blind; Survey/French Teachers

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <foxlinguistlist.org>

We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at http://linguistlist.org/LL/posttolinguist.html.
        1.    Sage Graham, Syntax trees and IPA for blind students?
        2.    Demetrios Eliades, Survey: Teachers of French

Message 1: Syntax trees and IPA for blind students?
Date: 12-Jun-2005
From: Sage Graham <sgraham2memphis.edu>
Subject: Syntax trees and IPA for blind students?


I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Memphis and am currently
teaching an Introduction to Linguistics course in which I have a totally
blind student enrolled. As an introduction, the course covers the
theoretical areas of linguistics, including syntax and phonetics.

When I have taught the course in the past, I have asked students to (1)
draw syntax trees of sample sentences and (2) also asked that they
translate sentences either into IPA or from IPA to standard English.
Syntax trees are problematic because not only can the student not produce
them, his voice software cannot describe them adequately if I send them to
him electronically. As far as assessing phonetics goes, I cannot provide
sentences in IPA and ask that he translate them into standard English,
since his computer reads the text aloud to him, making the question
meaningless since the computer has already told him the answer. Since he
doesn't write or draw, asking him to produce sentences in IPA is equally

My difficulty is in figuring out how to assess this student's mastery of
the concepts without relying on visual representations of concepts -- like
the IPA or syntax trees.

I am curious (1) if there are tools available to help deal with these
problems and (2) if there are solutions that others have tried in similar

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated and I will, of course, post a
summary of responses.


Sage Graham

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics

Message 2: Survey: Teachers of French
Date: 15-Jun-2005
From: Demetrios Eliades <d.eliadessms.ed.ac.uk>
Subject: Survey: Teachers of French

I am looking for teachers of French who can assist my research by
completing a small questionnaire.

The task is transforming Active Voice phrases into Passive Voice in French.
The following seven Passive Voice transformations have been given as an
exercise to an Anglophone student, and his answers contained AT LEAST one

What would your feedback be, in order to correct his misconceptions?

Please provide your comments in English. Your comments can be as long (or
as short) as you would like them to be, just as you would give them during
a tutoring session. You can assume that the learner is of intermediate level.

The questionnaire is at:

I will use the feedback to build a web-based system that will tutor Passive
Voice transformations.

This document is suitable for printing, if you wish to first handwrite your
comments before typing them in. Otherwise, you may wish to directly type
your comments in the boxes provided.

Please send your reply to d.eliadessms.ed.ac.uk.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Demetris Eliades
University of Edinburgh

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

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