Friday, March 27, 2009

Posting 5: Concor-dance?

I learn a lot of new words this semester. Concordance is one of them. And yes, I never knew what is the meaning of it until just recently. What runs through my mind right now is millions of unfamiliar words and I feel like banging my head with my laptop. This is making me dizzy >.< After hours of searching and using different methods, I finally found 2 articles (and I'm so happy that it almost-emphasize on the word 'almost' moved me to tears T_T hehe). Anyway, even though it may sound that I'm having a hard time, I'm determined to do my best for the sake of learning and also, my grades depend on it (sorry Datin, just trying to be honest here ^^). So here I am with the fifth posting. I hope I managed to fulfill the task requirement ^^v

Go here for the first article

What I can summarize from this article is that concordance is used by literary and linguist scholars basically to analyze texts. Concordance simply look for the exact word that we were looking for and rule out any other insignificant details. Concordance help students and teachers in language learning as a base for grammatical and language guidance at the same time aranging the texts that we analyze in a better order.

Go here for the second article

From here I concluded that concordance functions as an arrangement of words in alphabetical order. It also helps to explain the word in each context that is possible to be used from the original text that the word came from. Concordance is often used for language and linguistic studies however it can also be used in other fields such as computer programming. Concordance is useful at studying any texts, especially in leterature where it will show how many times the word appear in the text. in this case, concordance locate the words that we were looking for as well as keep us on the right track when doing text analysis.

From my point of view, concordance is beneficial to language learning and language teachers. For language learning, concordance is useful because the concordancer will explain the word we choose in different aspects and usage. A person who is learning a language will understand better about how to use the word in various context. It can also enhances one's grammar and other language prospective. The same goes for language teachers. In the first article I read that teachers uses the concordance as a tool to help their student in learning the language. The teachers' work would be much easier with concordance because the student can try using the concordancer by themselves. This way, the teacher can focus more on other areas and the learning become more efficient. Language teachers also can explain better with the help of concordance as they use it to give a clearer view on their teachings. In short, concordance can be a two way tool for learners and teachers in language for managing lingustics and literary tasks.

Posting 4: Can I CALL You?

I finally get to my fourth posting. What we were assigned to do this time is go to UKM Tun Sri Lanang Library and get information from the databases subscribed there. To be honest, it was a little bit tricky because I'm not used to searching in the databases and look for the things that I'm not familiar with. Anyway, I managed to complete the task and here I am, starting the fourth posting.

First of all, I'm going to share a tiny bit of information about EBSCOHost, one of the database that we were told to look for. From what I understand, EBSCOHost is one of the database that were used by many of education institution around the world for educational resources such as journals, academic materials and many more. It is very convenient for research purposes and for information regarding various subjects.

Library and Information Science Abstracts or better known as LISA Net is a database full of references in Information Sciences. LISA Net provide a lot of abstracts from articles, journals and many other materials for various academic uses. This database have many collections from countries around the world.

After searching for a while, I managed to get the articles on one of the topic we have to choose which is Computer Assisted Language Learning or CALL. I found both of these articles in EBSCOHost.

The first article is a review by Pius ten Hacken from the Swansea University on a book entitled "Errors and Intelligence in Computer-Assisted language Learning: Parsers and Pedagogues" written by Trude Heift and Mathias Schulze. the author of the article summarized that the documentations on CALL include a lot of articles that people would categorize as having no relation to any areas about COmputational Linguistics. The author gives a full overview on the book and explains the contents of each chapter and also the errors that he found made by the creators of the book. The author of this article states that despite the obvious errors that the book has, the book is very helpful for those who is in the CALL field.

The second article that I found is about "The Multiple Roles of the Teacher in CALL" by Jia Yi-Dong. This article is mainly an overview and suggestions about teachers' roles in CALL. At the beginning, the author mentioned about the traditional role of teachers before CALL was introduced. In short, the author said that teachers are the heart of the classroom when it comes to learning especially in language. The author states that people misunderstood that when CALL is used as a medium to obtain better knowledge in language. teachers roles are no longer compulsory. However, this is not true since teachers responsibility multiplied when using CALL. For example, the teacher need to to supervise students, decide how much control the computer may have in the classroom and also to help students on how to initiate CALL. As a conclusion, the author thinks that the teachers' roles are crucial in CALL on the contrary of the belief that their positions are threatened.

From my point of view, I think both of the articles opened my eyes in CALL. From my understanding alone, I was easily mislead by the concept of CALL. At first, I thought CALL in basically using computer to do my assignments but after a lot of observation, now I finally understand that CALL is actually a kind of bridge that help me in improving my language learning through computer-based components. As for the teachers' roles in CALL, I agreed with the author of the articles that teachers play an important role in CALL. Without the guidance and instructions from teachers, students would be astray and would not be able to understand the significant of CALL. I could say I experienced first hand in this matter. Regardless of how advanced the technology is, we still need someone to assist us in doing things and who better to help us than a qualified teacher ^^

So in a nutshell, my assignment this time is not just another material to put up in my blog. Though I have to admit that I did not have any fun in completing this task >.<, I still gained a lot from it the fact that I understood better about the course syllabus and my do we have to do the tasks we wer given. Oh, and one more thing, I get the chance to practice my writing skills as well ^_^

Friday, March 20, 2009

Posting 3: Ladies and Gentlemen, Start your Search Engines!

"Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light"
Dylan Thomas (1952)

Its 3 in the morning and I'm starting on my third posting (that explain why I choose the last 2 lines from Dylan Thomas' poem, I wont sleep till my job's one ^^.)

Anyway, as the title suggest, this post is about the search engines. I'm sure most people are very familiar with Google and Yahoo, but not many who knows the existence of Mamma metasearch and ERIC digest (I'm one of them obviously).

First of all, I'm not talking the usual Google search engine that we used frequently. I was talking about Google Scholar. Unlike Google search, Google scholar is more particular in searching for academic materials. Google Scholar has several features such as;

  • Search diverse sources from one convenient place
  • Find papers, abstracts and citation
  • Locate the complete paper through your library on the web
  • Learn about key papers in any area of reasearch
Click here for full details

Next is about Yahoo!. Through my observation, Yahoo! is a very common and wide ranged search engine. It serves the users in various ways such as searching for websites, images, news and many more. There is a lot of selection with Yahoo! Some of the features are;

  • Yahoo! answers
  • Yahoo! messanger
  • Yahoo! mail

This is the first time I've heard about Mamma metasearch. I like the tagline for this search engine which is the mother of all search engines. I was quite impressed with Mamma metasearch because it narrow down the number of sites from billions to only a couple of pages. Like any other search engines, Mamma offer searches on videos, shop, travel and etc.

I've also never heard of ERIC digest. What I've discovered about this search engine is that the former ERIC Clearinghouse system was eliminated due to inevitable circumstances. This site provide one way to acces the ERIC Digests education articles produced by the former ERIC Clearinghouse system. More info, find out more by clicking this.

Overall, there are some similarities as well as diferences among the four search engines. Google Scholar can be used to find specific articles regarding scholarly literature which makes it a more similar to ERIC Digest than Yahoo! or Mamma metasearch. However, Google scholar uses its own search engine while ERIC Digest uses Google as a searching tool.

Mamma metasearch and Yahoo! is similar because the two of the search engines provide various areas or fields such as videos, shops, etc, but Mamma metasearch are more refined in the searches unlike Yahoo! that gives billions of links as a feedback.

From my point of view, all the search engines work in their own way. I couldn't say which one is better than the other but for now, I think I'd stick to Google ^^.

Posting 2: To Write, or Not To Write?

This time I really, really past the due date because of my 'last minute work' attitude. I just dont know what to say and still a little bit blurry about the assignments. But that just sound like an excuse isn't it?

Anyway, back to the topic, how can blogging improve and enhance a blogger's writing skills? Well, I dont have strong facts to support me, but through my own blogging experience, it really help in improving my writing skills. For example, when I started blogging a while a go, I only write the things that crossed my mind. When I finished writing I would read the words that I wrote then double check everything. I found many grammar mistakes, spelling errors and all sorts of careless mistakes a person do when they were writing. That way, I can edit my posts until I'm satisfied with the way I'm writing.

Another way how a blogger can improve or enhance their writing skills is by the help of their follower or visitors that leave comments on their blogs. Sometimes if we're lucky enough, a person who happen to be very good in writing skills or any areas of language might be interested in what we write in our blog and give us advice on how to improve ourselves. If we're not that lucky (dont take what I say about luck seriously ^^) we still have friends who follow our blog (or have to, for the sake of the tasks, LOL). This way, we can use their help to guide us on blogging or ask them information regarding the tasks given. Its easier to point out other people's mistakes, thats why we need our friends to follow our blog so that they can tell us what we have done wrong ^_^v

In the first posting we had been given a choice of which type of reading we like. There is one about the incidental reading. Talking about incidental reading, we encounter a lot of articles and information on line while blogging. For instance, when we're searching for current news and affairs, we might stumble upon unpredictable information like what I found when I searched for article related to blogging. Click here for the URL.

I think the article is quite interesting because it is something very important when we are blogging. We should learn the terms such as blogosphere, moblog, blogware, etc. When we are blogging, we also need to know about the language terms that people use in the cyber world especially for someone who is a little bit slow in this kind of area (For example, me ~_~). Why should we learn about the blogging language? Not only we need to understand them as a guidance through our blogging tasks, but also to help us convey our message clearly. What I mean is, other professional bloggers would not understand what we're trying to convey if we use different terms that what they're used to. Get what I mean?

Finally, the reason why I think blogging help to improve and enhance writing skills is that practice makes perfect. When we're writing our blogs continuously, we become accustomed to writing and the words flow smoothly. I used to only write short paragraphs when I started blogging, but now I can also write long ones (that's probably because I'm getting off topic again >.<) Blogging can become a writing practice therefore its a good exercise for language students. Besides, blogging can be quite fun and interesting (if we know how to use all the gadgets ^^) Anyway, I have proved my point here that blogging can improve blogger's writing skills. Dont believe me? Read my postings again after the semester ends, see if I will get better or worse.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Posting 1: Something to wear or more than that?

women's kimono
men's kimono

First Assignment!!!

The kimono has had a long history in Japan and the kimono has changed over time to reflect the society and culture of tha period.

During the Heian period (794-1185), the custom of elaborate layers of colored kimono robes became popular with Japanese women. Jun-Hitoe, twelve unlined robes were frequently worn with the sleeve edges and colars showing the shades of each kimono. Persons of the royal court sometimes wear up to sixteen kimono layers. During the Kamakura period of 1185-1133 with the rising influence of the military class and worriors, people had no patience or need for elaborate kimono. Practicality prevailed and during this period the kosode meaning small sleeve was introduced into the kimono.

In 1615, military leader Tokugawa moved the capital of Japan from Kyoto, where the emperor resided to Edo, the present Tokyo. Confucianism was adopted and hierarchy became the guiding principle where citizens were ranked based on their class. During the Edo period, people began to define their status by their kimono clothing. During this time, the greatest artistic accomplisments were made with the kimono.

After 1853, the US Navy sailed to Tokyo and the beginning of Japan's commercial industry was opened to the western world. Although Japanese people continued to wear kimono for another hundred years, the beginning of the end of this practice was near.

During the Meiji period of 1868-1912, women began working outside their homes and required different clothing to accommodate their work. The Japanese people developed techniques to compete with the machine woven cloth available from the west. Cloth from other parts of the world were bought to make the kimono and the clothing. During Taisho perios of 1912-1926, Tokyo suffered a devastating earthquake which leveled most of the homes. Many of the old kimono were lost at this time.

During the Showa period of 1926-1989, the Japanese government curtained silk production by taxing it to support the military buildup. Kimono design became less complex and the material was conserved. After World War II, as Japan's economy gradually recovered, kimono became even more affordable and were produced in greater quantities. Europe and America fashion ideas affected the kimono designs and motifs, but their shape remained the same. Kimono and obi colors changed with the season and with the age and status of the wearer.

To know more about kimono and instructions on how to wear them, go to this link:

I was doing a research on how to wear a kimono last couple of weeks for my assignment when I stumble upon the article above. Why a kimono? I have my own reasons for that. people around me should know that I am a fanatic when it comes to anything that related to Japan or Japanese culture but how I come to choose kimono as a topic is not only on a whim.

The fact that kimono is the traditional clothes of the Japanese is widely known but not many people really know about the history of it. The kimono is not only about the layers of clothing a person is wearing; it is about the steps on how to put it on. One of the reasons why I admire about the Japanese culture is their discipline and following the rules when doing something, and we can see that when putting on a kimono.

Putting on a kimono is not as simple as putting on Malay's baju kurung, Chinese's cheong sam or even Indian's saree. The very first layer of the kimono is a very thin plain cloth acts as a undergarment (besides the ones we already wear inside ^_^). Before putting on another layer of kimono, the wearer will put on a pair of white socks, called tabi. As far as I know, there is no other attire in the world that require the person who wears it to put on socks first before the whole outfit. The reason for this is because once a person completely dressed in a kimono, it would be very difficult to bend down to put on the socks. Next, another layer of the kimono called the nagajuban should be put on. However, due to the weather condition these days, they prefer to wear a simpler version or juban which is in the form of the juban colar because this is the only part of the layer that will be shown when the last kimono layer is worn. The final layer of kimono, which is the one with the beautiful motifs and designs is put on. One thing the wearer will have to make sure is that they have to wrap the left side of the kimono over the right side. If it is done the other way round, it is to dress up a corpse for a burial.

The kimono is not done just by putting on the layers of clothing. Like I mentioned earlier, wearing kimono is not as simple as how we pronounce it. Another essential thing for kimono is the belt, called obi. To put on obi, there is another sets of steps to follow. There is four types of sash to be wear with kimono. the first it the koshi-himo sash, then the date-jime sash. Next the obi sash and finally the obi-jime cord. All of the sash serve different purposes. Lastly, a kimono will not be complete without accessories like hair pins, geta slippers, etc.

It is quite confusing for those who is not familiar with kimono but this is part of the reason why I picked this article as my topic. We will never learn about other culture if we never take initiative to find out about it. There are issues about language barriers and limited source of information, but when there's a will, there's a way. What I can conclude from my research is that, when I was looking for all these informations, I learned about a lot of things. Of course, I gained more information about kimono in Japanese history and also learn on how to put on a kimono. However, the most valuable thing that I learn is that when we do anything, we have to follow the instructions and have a discipline when doing that. I used to be a person who usually did not pay attention to details when reading. But without reading carefully and follow the steps, I would be giving the wrong informations and mislead other people. Finally, in the aspects of language, I think reading and writing (or typing) makes me more alert on the mistakes I make throughout the process and it is hard to stop writing when I am in the mood of doing so ^^.

I categorize the article above as reading for information (but i also read on the instructions, could this be incidental reading as well???)

Monday, March 2, 2009

welcome to my blog

i've been wanting to create my own blog for quite some time and its finally done...well, its still under co. anyway, i welcome anyone to read it ^^