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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Logos Universal Verb Conjugator

by Lucia Vellandi
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.8 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 30, 2004 by World Languages Editorial Board
Overview: Verba Universal Conjugator is part of a comprehensive websuite made available by Logos. It presents the conjugation forms of verbs in many languages using the Western alphabet, including the widely spoken ones such as French, German, English, but also less widely spoken ones such as Polish or Mapunzugun. Currently, there are 35 languages listed.
Target Student Population: Students of any of the listed languages.
Type of Material: Verbs in all their conjugated forms.
Recommended Uses: As quick reference, for review, or as departure point for philological meandering.
Technical Requirements: No special requirements.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This application offers conjugation tables for verbs from 35 different languages. The displayed tables will vary depending on the language.
Concerns: Although the Verb Conjugator database contains a wide variety of languages, not all are represented with the same amount of verb-entries. For example, there are thousands of entries for languages such as French, Spanish, and German, but only very few for less commonly taught languages like Albanian, Danish, and Mapunzugun.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This is not so much a teaching tool as it is useful for reference, and as such it accomplishes its goal. It can, however, come in very handy to illustrate the use of verbs in certain contexts. Clicking on an entry in a verb table links to a different part of the Logos Websuite which presents verbs and their forms in a particular, often literary, context. This so-called "Wordtheque" is a powerful interface with a massive database containing multilingual novels, technical literature and translated texts. Hits are highlighted in context windows that can be expanded up or down.
Concerns:

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The layout of the Universal Verb Conjugator is very clear, input and navigation are simple and largely self-explanatory. The middle of the screen features an input window for the verb. If the verb could exist in more than one language, the next screen will present a choice for further selection. The input window on the main screen is framed by flags representing the languages available. Moving the cursor over the flags will show the number of verbs available in the database for a particular language. Clicking on a flag will open a page from where those verbs can be accessed (by alphabetial listing). The verbs can be clicked to view the appropriate forms.
A sidebar on the left provides links to other useful features the website offers, taking the user away from the "Verb Conjugator" input page.
The interface is available in twenty different languages (ranging from Arabic to Greek). The preferred language can be set by going to the homepage for the entire website and choosing the appropriate language.
Concerns: It is not clear why certain verbs are listed with extension, for example, the English list includes "get", but then also "get there", "get stuck", etc. On the alphabetical list, verbs are listed in an uninterrupted sequence, which does not always make it easy to find verbs quickly.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a fine (and free) reference tool for anyone interested in language, grammar, and translation. The inclusion of the "Wordtheque" and the accessability of literary examples (which are downloadable for future reference, use in class or on handouts) adds many possibilities for the student or teacher of languages. There is also a "Children's Dictionary" with illustrations, contrastive examples and sound files on the same pages, plus many other resources accessible from the left sidebar on the main page. Definitely worth repeated visits. Kudos to the brains behind Logos!