1B$JPPPPPQ Prepositions of Time, Place and Motion

Prepositions of Time, Place and Motion

Opening Screen

As with most of the programs, this one begins with an opening screen that informs the student of the content of the program, while also providing recordings of greetings from some thirty-five different languages. This program features exercises on prepositions involving time, place and motion, and graphic displays comparing prepositions referring to these concepts. The student can choose the Next button to cycle through the recordings until s/he hears his/her language played. The student clicks on the icon of the clock, map of the world, or "moving arrow" to actually begin the program.

Main Screen

The program then brings the student to the main screen, where menu choices on the top include Exercise, Graphic Summary, Help and Quit,as in the nearby image. At startup, the choice Graphic Summary is greyed out and temporarily unavailable.

Under the Exercise menu item are choices for a sentence type selected At random(i.e., a sentence would be constructed randomly from a randomly selected type, either a prepositon of time, or of place, or of motion), a sentence using a preposition of time, a sentence featuring a preposition of place, and a sentence indicating a preposition of motion. Shortcuts are available by clicking on the image buttons to the left: they are: a pair of dice to indicate a randomly chosen sentence, a clock for a sentence featuring a preposition of time, a map of the world for a sentence with a preposition of place, and a blurred arrow indicating a choice for a sentence with a preposition of motion.

Since the choice At random would result in one of the three possibilities described below, we will focus instead on the three choices of Time, Place or Motion below.

Prepositions of Time

If the student selects Exercise.. then Time, the computer works for a moment or two and then produces a randomly constructed sentence involving a preposition indicating time.

In the nearby image we see a screen after the computer has created a random sentence "The salesmen arrived there ___ eight-fifteen" with a small box to the right captioned "You Type" into which the student is expected to enter the preposition "at."

The computer will inform the student if his/her choice is correct after s/he types in his/her answer and clicks on Go on to continue. After that, the student is advised to click on the menu choice Graphic Summary for a display featuring other prepositions of time for comparison purposes.

Graphic Summary: Time

Once the student has gone through at least one exercise, the menu item Graphic Summary becomes available. When clicked, the student sees a screen similar to the nearby image.

In this summary, the prepositions of time "in," "on," and "at" are displayed graphically with information about the general tendencies each relates to. Thus, in referring to time, the preposition "in" is more general and thus is used with years, seasons, or general parts of the day, while the preposition "at" is more specific, referring to specific times of the day. Since the exercise the student faced did involve the preposition "at" (it was: "The salesmen arrived there AT eight-fifteen"), the computer wants the student to click on the clock icon, or the box with words in it that is most similar to the phrase "eight-fifteen." When s/he does so, the red box appears to surround that conceptual "slot" on the graphic, specifying how "at" and "eight-fifteen" go best together.

The icons of a zodiac are for the more general sense of "in"; the icon of a calendar is for weeks and dates that take "on", and the timepiece clock is for "at" which specifies more precise time moments.

The student clicks on the Go on button to return to the main screen to continue with more exercises.

Prepositions of Place

If the student selects Exercise.. then Place, or if the student clicks on the icon of the world map, the computer works for a moment or two and then produces a randomly constructed sentence involving a preposition indicating place.

In the nearby image we see a screen after the computer has created a random sentence "The carpenters visited friends while ___ Chinatown" with a small box to the right captioned "You Type" into which the student is expected to enter the preposition "in."

The computer will inform the student if his/her choice is correct after s/he types in his/her answer and clicks on Go on to continue. After that, the student is advised to click on the menu choice

Graphic Summary: Place

In this summary, the prepositions of time "in," "on," and "at" are displayed graphically with information about the general tendencies each relates to. Thus, in referring to place, the preposition "in" is more general and thus is used with countries and areas of general locations, while the preposition "at" is more specific, referring to specific places or points of intersection. Since the exercise the student faced did involve the preposition "in" (it was: "The carpenters visited friends while IN Chinatown"), the computer wants the student to click on the map icon, or the box with words in it that is most similar to the phrase "Chinatown." When s/he does so, the red box appears to surround that conceptual "slot" on the graphic, specifying how "in" and "Chinatown" go best together.

The icons of a world map are for the more general sense of "in"; the icon of a long street scene in Hong Kong is for streets or roads thought of as one dimension that take "on", and the image of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City is for "at" which refers to specific addresses or intersections.

The student clicks on the Go on button to return to the main screen to continue with more exercises.

Prepositions of Motion

If the student selects Exercise.. then Motion, or if the student clicks on the icon of the blurred arrow, the computer works for a moment or two and then produces a randomly constructed sentence involving a preposition indicating motion. This involves a split screen in which a smaller box with a verb in it appears to move in various directions near something stationary. The student must determine what preposition most appropriately describes the motion.

The student is given a sentence to the left of the screen, and advised to click on the button Animation to observe some motion involving an object. In this case, the sentence is "The plumbers ran ___ the station." When the student clicks on the Animation button, the box with the verb "ran" in it will move. In this case, the box appeared to the left of the screen and moved up to, but not into, the image of the "station" (which, ironically, is the Guggenheim museum again!). Thus, the correct preposition might be "to." After clicking on Animation, the student can click on Go on to answer the question.

The student will then see a screen similar to the nearby image. A box captioned "You Type" appears, and the question is narrowed down by asking the student "Which preposition, To, At, or Away from, should go in the blank?" The correct preposition, as indicated by the animation, is "to," and the student would type it in the red box, then click on OK to go on.

The computer would inform the student that s/he was correct, and explain that the action "was directed towards the station."

The student is at the main screen at this point, and can continue with more exercises.

Prof. G. Dalgish, ESL Director, English Department, Baruch College e-mail: gerard_dalgish@baruch.cuny.edu width="514" height="320">

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