Excel and MS Word as Learning Aids NK

Please tell me about other examples which can be added to this site.

Excell-At Phonetics

This is a resource I created for myself while doing a course in phonetics.

To use this resource you need an IPA-SAM phonetic font.  These can obtained from http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/fonts.htm
These fonts exploit the fact that the IPA does not use most of the capital letters so they assign the most common phonetic characters to Shift + the normal keys.

One problem with the IPA-SAM fonts is that Microsoft's word-wrapping code does not recognise the space. This means that words can be split at arbitrary characters.  To cope with this keep en eye on the line length. In MS Word press Enter when it looks like the next word will might be broken. In Excel if it looks like a word will be too long to fit in a cell use Alt + Enter to start a new line.

It is also useful to create macros with keyboard shortcuts for changing fonts.  In Excel 2000 the shortcuts all use use the Ctrl Key. (In MS Word they can use both Ctrl and Alt).  I have assigned Crts + Shift + A to change the font to Arial, and Ctrl + Shift + P to change the font to IPA-SAMS.  The Techniques page tells you how to create these macros.

Microsoft has unfortunately designed Excel so that typing a "/" as the first character in a cell takes you to the Menus (i.e. if acts like Alt).  To be able to start a cell with "/"

  •  Go to Tools > Options > Transition
  •  In the middle of the screen you will see a "/".  Delete it.
  •  Click on OK

There are a couple of other peculiarities about typing phonetics in Excel

  •  If you want a single quote to be the first character in a cell you have to type two single quotes.

Master worksheet

Keyboard Keyboard character in Arial  
Shifted SAM The same character in the SAM font When learning keyboard, use this as the questions and try to type it in a blank column
Key E - used in transcribing English When learning, I sort on Key to select lines
English from handout Question
Phonemic from handout Answer


Excell-At The Shma

This is a resource for Hebrew students who have learned the sounds of the consonants and the vowels,  and who now want to practice reading Hebrew.

The original sound file was provided by Foundationstone  (add URL).

I copied the original Quicktime audio using Real Player then cut the file into 51 one-word sound files.

To run the application you need the Excel file and all the sound files in a single folder.

Create a folder.

Download this zip file  (add zip to site and add URL here.)

Extract the zipped files into the same folder as the download.

The quiz can be run in several different ways.

  • Questions - Hebrew;    Answers - sound files
    Delete or ignore the English column, conceal the column with the hyperlinks to the sound files, read the Hebrew, then click on the hyperlink to listen to the correct reading

  • Questions - Hebrew;    Answers - English
    Conceal the English column, and see if you can translate the Hebrew.

  • Questions - English;    Answers - Hebrew
    Conceal the Hebrew and see if you can translate the English into Hebrew.

  • Questions - Hebrew;    Answers - new column with number of syllables
    Some of the long words are difficult to read.  You may find it useful to listen carefully to the recordings and counting the number of syllables in each word.  Add a syllable count column to the table, and make that an answer column.

  • Questions - Hebrew words;    Answers - dictionary Hebrew words
    Hebrew words have prefixes, suffixes and letters inserted in the middle. It is therefore difficult to identify which letters make up the words which will occur in dictionaries.  If there is a demand for it, this resource could be extended to include a column for the dictionary word.  If there is a demand for it, it would also be possible to include instructions for typing in Hebrew.



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