First Advisor

Beatrice Oshika

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




English language -- Study and teaching -- Computer-assisted instruction for foreign speakers, English language -- Syntax -- Study and teaching -- Computer-assisted instruction for foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (86 p.)


This thesis presents the design of a computer assisted language learning (CALL) program written in the computer language, PROLOG. It will provide a practice exercise to teach "lexical phrases" to second language learning students of English. Lexical phrases are lexico-grammatical "chunks" of words, which possess specific pragmatic functions within spoken discourse (Nattinger and DeCarrico, 1992). These form/function composites of varying length aid conversational fluency. The program presents a scenario where the participants are college students who pass one another in the hallway. After they exchange initial greetings, the first participant (i.e., the computer) informs the other student that a test, for some unknown class, will be postponed till "next Tuesday". The second student answers with a smprised remark. The first student responds that he/she could use the extra time for study, and then says, "goodbye". The dialog ends with when the second participant types in "good-bye". The study sought to answer the following questions: 1) are lexical phrases adaptable for use in computer assisted language learning (CALL) programs?; 2) what problems arise when using lexical phrases on computers?; 3) is the dialog realistic and does it offer a communicative alternative to traditional drills? The results are that lexical phrases can be easily implemented in computer assisted language learning (CALL) programs. Further, CALL programs using lexical phrases in a communicative language teaching mode provide a framework for realistic dialogs. It offers more interesting exercises compared to traditional language drills. The only criteria for the computer-created dialog is its ability to produce realistic responses. This program produces a realistic dialog, although it is highly invariable. A major drawback to this study is its inability to implement any parsing capabilities into the program; thus, there are restrictions on the database representation of any contextual information. Nevertheless, as computer software technology advances, the use of lexical phrases in CALL programs will provide an effective means to aid the communicative competence of second language learners of English.


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