Where Lex fits into the language learning process
1. Taking a language course
The first and most obvious thing to do when setting out to learn a new language is
to take a language course
to learn basic vocabulary and grammar.
Lex is not primarily a tool for beginners, but it can be used by
beginners, if it is used both by the teacher and his or her students. In
such a case the teacher
can use Lex to prepare the course material, which he or she puts on the Web.
The students can then use Lex to work on the course material and as
they gain familiarity with Lex and the language of study they
can gradually move on to work on authentic material.
When you learn a new language it is very important to listen to the
language right from the start. This can not be overstated, you should
listen to the language as much as you can, preferably on a regular
basis. Start by listening to the course material over and over again. A
good way to do that is to do
it when you
perform some other activity like commuting back and forth to work,
jogging, working out, etc. You do not have to be focused
all the time, just keep on listening repeatedly. When you reach more advanced
stages you should listen to the radio or watch television as much as
Lex has functions
by which you can listen to the pronunciation of
words and phrases, even if it is not primarily a tool for listening.
Lex can be useful, though, when you prepare yourself for a listening activity. The first
time you listen to a recording, it is practical to simultaneously view
the text in Lex. Because then you can easily look up words and save
words in the glossary. That you can also do when you play an audiobook or a song in one tab window and follow the text or
lyrics in another tab window.
3. Working on your own
When you have reached an intermediate/advanced level you have to work on your own to keep your knowledge alive and
to expand your
vocabulary. Reading is an important activity
to accomplish this. You can of course read books, newspapers, magazines, etc, but you can
also read material on the World Wide Web. You will benefit more from
your reading activities if you focus on things that really
interests you. On the Web you can find interesting articles
from every imaginable area of life.
It is of course important to practice the language of study as often as you can, both speaking
and writing. I do not think though, that speaking should be stressed to much in the
beginning. It can be very frustrating and discouraging
to try to speak before you have
enough knowledge to do so. When you have reached a certain level and start to understand the language of study you will
naturally start to speak and at that point
in time it is
take every chance you can get to practice.
You will not use Lex directly when you practice a
language, but you will benefit from it indirectly by being able to
understand and use words and phrases that you have acquired during your
Lex studying sessions.
Lex is, as should be evident from the above, a tool for the
intermediate/advanced language learner to work on authentic texts on
his or her own. Even if Lex is a tool, that to some extent, focuses on reading, it will
not only improve your reading skill, it will also have a great impact on other
language skills like writing, listening and speaking.
Language Learning Express is written in English (i.e. commands, menus and
help texts are in English). To be able to use Lex you have to be proficient
enough in English to be able to use an English program. That can of course
be challenging, but if you are studying English,
you will most likely benefit from that challenge.
Lex contains two main windows, each of which in turn contains tab
windows. The tab windows in the upper main window are used to access
dictionary and grammar sites. The tab windows in the lower main window
are used to access the sites that you choose to work on.
Lex can be set up to study virtually any
language just by changing the web sites that are accessed. Such a
setup is called a Lex session.
On the Lex home site's Sessions section there are several tables with
Lex sessions with different target and source languages.
These are session examples and you should modify them to suit your needs. You
can set up your own sessions either from scratch or by modifying
supplied sessions. We encourage you to share your Lex sessions with other
Lex users. See the Lex Help function for more information on how to do