Aims of the material
The computer-based language material designed, developed and presented in this paper is a website, primarily aimed at familiarising and conceptualizing the learners' understanding of indirect (also known as reported) speech; specifically how it is transferred from direct speech. The intent behind the site is for learners to navigate through the various pages, which incorporate various multimedia aspects to illustrate how indirect speech looks and sounds. It is also a learning tool of specific rule points for indirect speech and then tests learners' understanding through a series of exercises. A secondary aim for this site is to be used as a reference point for the specific rules of indirect speech.
Goodell (1987) highlights that even the most advanced learners find indirect speech difficult to learn, possibly as a result of many variables that must be taken into account. Harman (1990) explains that the variables of time, place and the person speaking, can leave the L2 learner confused or flustered in their attempt to apply the indirect speech, particularly from the direct speech counterpart.
While designing this material, I drew upon my own experiences of teaching this subject, and therefore envisaged this would be aimed at young adult learners (specifically 18-25) as part of a language-learning course at intermediate level. The topic would be covered late in the course when learners were familiar with various verb tenses and pronouns; in line with Second Language Acquisition (SLA) research of the processability model, which denotes learners acquire certain structures of language in a specific order (Cook, 2011).
In addition, it should be noted that the materials are designed at an introductory level of this topic, so it would be neither appropriate nor constructive to cover all aspects of indirect speech at this particular time. Learners are made aware of this on the home page.
It is further envisaged that this would be an autonomous task for learners to complete at their own pace, while discussing it with their teacher who would supplement the online learning in class. The last exercise would be a collaborative activity carried out in and out of class.