Kimberly Cortes


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Theory Thursday: Mental Dictionaries

By Kimberly Cortes |   October 20, 2011

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Language Theory: UTAH Bound!

By Kimberly Cortes |   April 7, 2011

In this blog I would like to take a closer look at one of the linguistic theories I began to explain in my most recent blogs, namely: the Uniformity Theta Assignment Hypothesis (UTAH).

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The What and Who of Headedness

By Kimberly Cortes |   February 24, 2011

Hello again! My last syntax blog left off in the middle of a discussion of how some words draw other words to them in order to form a more complete thought. Recall the verb ate. Ate has to draw to it “the someone” who did the eating and “the something” that was eaten, in order to be a complete thought. You may wonder why ate is the element that draws the others to it. Well, ate, as we discussed before, describes a relationship between something and someone, that is, something was eaten by someone. Apple, on the other hand, does not describe a relationship or anything for that matter. Apple is a just a noun. We could say, “The apple is red” or “I ate the apple.” The same logic applies to any other noun.

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Thematic Roles of Predicates. Yay Grammar!

By Kimberly Cortes |   December 16, 2010

Hello again! My last blog left off with a brief introduction to different phrase types, e.g., determiner phase (DP), verb phrase (VP), etc. So let’s take a closer look at these phrases. For example, the phrase, “ate the apple.” This phrase is made of three components; ate (verb), the (article/determiner) and apple (noun). We have already determined that I can’t simply string these words together in any order I wish and convey the same meaning, if any. These lexical items (words) alone do not consist of a complete proposition.

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"Syntax - It's not another tax on beer?" Continued...

By Kimberly Cortes |   November 18, 2010

In my last blog I began to delve in to the wonderful world of Syntax. I looked at the linguist definition of a sentence and more importantly the abstract idea of the proposition. I also briefly touched on word order as it is involved in sentence grammaticality. So from my previous blog we can now make two statements: 1) Sentences are abstract mental objects and, 2) word order is somehow involved in the “grammaticality” of sentences. However, we have not yet determined what role word-order plays in grammar. We will begin to look at that in this blog entry.

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Syntax – It’s not another tax on beer?

By Kimberly Cortes |   September 16, 2010

If you follow my blog you will know that I briefly touched on syntax once before. The Linguistic Elephant in the Room: Syntax (contrary to what it sounds like, it is not an increase in the price of beer or gambling) is a subfield of linguistics which focuses mainly on the grammar of language. This blog is just a brief introduction to some syntactic concepts. I will follow up with additional blogs to build and expand on the concepts presented here and /or introduce additional ones.

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TBLL--No, It's Not a Medical Condition

By Kimberly Cortes |   August 12, 2010

The task based language learning (TBLL) approach is derived from cognitive and interactionist theories and research findings. TBLL attempts to avoid fitting language learners into a box of stereotypical language use, i.e., where the student is only familiar with a sentences in specific forms or specific context, by rather using the language to carry out meaningful tasks, such as visiting a doctor, conducting an interview, or even asking someone out on a date. Doughty and Long (2003) describe 10 methodological principles (MPs) of TBLL. This post will present the first and second principles of task based language learning (TBLL) and discuss how Mango incorporates these in our system.

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To Communicate Without Communicating: Is It Possible?

By Kimberly Cortes |   July 22, 2010

It is widely accepted that communication is needed for language learning. Rooted in this idea is the communicative approach to second language acquisition, or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Two main principles of CLT are: (1) the development of communicative competence, and (2) the supposition that communication is both an end and a means to language learning (Alcón, 2004). Dell Hymes (1972) identifies the development of “communicative competence” as the main objective of CLT.

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Affective Filter Hypothesis

By Kimberly Cortes |   June 17, 2010

In his most recent post, Learning By the Book(mark)s, one of our Mango employees, Joe Garofalo, talks about his personal experience and feelings about using online software to learn a foreign language. In Joe’s words, “There is only so much that can be absorbed during a few hours a week of instruction, but being able to, at my leisure, interact with what I’m learning gives me that much more motivation to do it.” Well, Stephen Krashen would back Joe up on this one. Krashen actually proposed what he termed the Affective Filter Hypothesis (Krashen, 1982).

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Practice Makes Perfect

By Kimberly Cortes |   May 20, 2010

This week I will keep with my current trend of analyzing the Mango language learning approach from different second language learning (SLA) perspectives, theories, and hypotheses. In this blog I will adopt the skill acquisition theory of SLA, specifically McLaughlin’s (1987, 1990) information-processing model and Anderson’s (1983, 1985) Active Control of Thought (ACT) model and see how and whether Mango Languages takes in to account this theory of SLA.

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