tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Tue May 28 12:23:05 2002

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Re: Help with a short beginner's class in Klingon?

In a message dated 5/28/2002 7:29:34 AM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> I've done a few classes in an elementary setting, and the materials I made 
> are available

I looked at your lessons.  They are very good, having pictures and simple 
introductory sentences.  A few pointers, though:

When I was in methods courses, first in Taipei Teachers' Normal University, 
then in Sonoma State College, I was taught that no first lesson in any 
foreign language should have more than 19 words in the vocabulary list.  
There might be an additional vocabulary list after the main lesson, plus a 
second set of drills.  Try to introduce no more than 3 patterns per lesson; 
in the first 5-6 lessons only 1-2 patterns is ideal.  Drills, drills, drills! 
 Substitution drills going over and over the patterns are essential.  Grammar 
patterns should be learned BEFORE plugging in exhaustive amounts of 
vocabulary.  Emphasize speaking, particulary with nonprofessional linguists.  
Many KLI members are exceptions.  We can sit with a book packed with 
linguistic jargon and absorb the language visually.  Generally, whether the 
students admit it or not, oral drills are much more important that seeing the 

Because the language I teach professionally is Chinese, I refuse to allow 
students to write anything during class time.  We ONLY drill, with limited 
English explanation.  This is known as the deductive method.  After class, I 
send home some drills in Pinyin in order to teach the students how to read 
Pinyin and in order to reinforce their learning of the materials covered 
orally in class.  They must study 5-6 weeks minimum before I allow them to 
start writing characters.  

tlhIngan Hol is much more difficult than Chinese putonghua.  You probably 
need to use more English explanations of the grammar just to get students to 
understand the different basic sentence structure.  But, I would still follow 
up with lots, lots, and more lots of substitution drill practices.  If your 
students turn out to be average, add translation drills from correct tlhIngan 
Hol into Federation Standard.  If they turn out to be somewhat above average, 
have them translate into tlhIngan Hol.  Never, I repeat never, trick the 
students with words or patterns they have not had in class.

Even though beginning students claim they will mispronounce the foreign 
language when the instructor is not there to make them imitate him/her, I 
tell my students, even those learning such difficult pronunciations as 
Chinese appears to have, to practice daily at home.  I will correct their 
lousy mispronunciations when we are together again in the classroom.

I encourage all students to learn some sentences they can use in daily life.

"I see ....."
"I have one/two/three ....."

I have often taught numbers early.  Then, I tell the students to say their 
PINs, key card codes, page numbers, etc. at every appropriate occasion.

bIghojmoHtaHvIS, Qapla' yISIQ!


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