Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

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captainporridge
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Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby captainporridge » 2013-04-04, 9:24

Hey, I'm basically in the process of making a textbook for Faroese for English speakers. If anyone wants to help out (especially if someone fluent in spoken Faroese is willing to record audio!!) that would be great. The main problem I have right now is just organizing what I've already translated/typed up into a good order for learning, and figuring out which vocabulary to teach.

Unrelated but I have also made a 700-word/phrase Memrise vocab list for Faroese: http://www.memrise.com/course/edit/8267 ... /#l_635183
and a 200-word one here for Faroese-Swedish: http://www.memrise.com/course/82931/200 ... ka-matord/

I have some questions for you as learners:
- What sort of things do you love and hate in textbooks? (topics, formats, etc.)
- What do you find most important in Faroese (therefore that I should teach first)? In terms of both grammar and vocabulary.
- What do you find least important?
- What do you find easiest and most difficult to learn?
- Is grammar worksheet / workbook practise necessary, or would you do that on your own? Do you even find it helpful? This basically means "does captainporridge have to make a grammar workbook alongside the textbook or not".

Okay, so far I've been told to teach:
- Time words, as in "Sorry I was LATE to class" and "I'll do it TOMORROW"
- How to say to travel by vehicle or on foot or by bus etc.
- All the various forms of "I don't speak much Faroese" should be taught very early on.

I was planning from the beginning to break down "real" sentences picked from books and online etc. to show grammar break-downs, and I had been toying with the idea of making a series of what's essentially parallel texts with grammar notes for a "second" option of learning written Faroese. The problem there would be finding something that is out of copyright or being able to get the rights in order to re-publish the text as a text for learners, but I might be able to ask around here in Sweden and see if anyone knows if it would be very difficult to get.
Last edited by captainporridge on 2013-04-04, 10:43, edited 2 times in total.
English: native. Swedish: C1 level. Icelandic: B level, but forgetting how to write. Faroese: C in understanding, A in writing. Japanese: Just starting to learn.

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Johanna
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Re: Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-04, 10:36

I use Faroese: A Language Course for Beginners, and my main problem with it is that there are too few exercises compared to the sheer mass of things they teach, so a workbook is a must. Sure, some people learn better by making their own exercises or simply writing short texts that they let native speakers correct, but they can always disregard the workbook, while I for example need it.

Another thing that I hate is that it assumes that people are idiots when it comes to understanding grammatical concepts but superhuman when it comes to building vocabulary, for example, IIRC, you have three exercises about gender, the first tells you to write something along the lines of 'car: m', 'book: f', 'child: n'; the second tells you to write 'a car, 'a book', 'a child', and the third 'the car', 'the book', 'the child', and you only get about 10 words to work with. You could instead first explain the concept of gender, like they do, but then go 'write 'a x - the x - gender' and give three times as many words to work with.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.

captainporridge
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Re: Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby captainporridge » 2013-04-04, 10:47

Johanna wrote:Another thing that I hate is that it assumes that people are idiots when it comes to understanding grammatical concepts but superhuman when it comes to building vocabulary, for example, IIRC, you have three exercises about gender, the first tells you to write something along the lines of 'car: m', 'book: f', 'child: n'; the second tells you to write 'a car, 'a book', 'a child', and the third 'the car', 'the book', 'the child', and you only get about 10 words to work with. You could instead first explain the concept of gender, like they do, but then go 'write 'a x - the x - gender' and give three times as many words to work with.


Okay, I've also noticed that in many of the textbooks I used for Icelandic they acted as if you already knew all the grammar terms (or worse, you already knew Scandinavian, even though you were reading an English textbook) so I was already in the process of explaining as clearly as possible all the grammatical features/vocabulary as if you hadn't ever heard them before. I was also going to do my best to make sure that the example sentences DON'T have grammar aspects that you haven't learnt yet, since that's a pet peeve of mine...

Are there certain grammar concepts you think are under or over-explained? Since in school I never learnt a thing about even, say, what an adjective is - when we were taught language we just learnt "this is how you say this" so I feel really strongly myself about "I have to explain everything!!!".
English: native. Swedish: C1 level. Icelandic: B level, but forgetting how to write. Faroese: C in understanding, A in writing. Japanese: Just starting to learn.

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Johanna
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Re: Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-04, 13:14

Of course you should explain it, and Faroese being what it is, you should use both the English word and the Faroese one. Like if it's about 'masculine gender', always write both that and 'kallkyn'.

The main thing is to create exercises that are about the more practical points. Like I said, it's much more useful to assume that people get it once you've explained what it's all about, but the exercises are needed. Most people will understand that (starting with nominative) 'masculine' and 'feminine' mean that it's 'ein bilur' and 'ein bók', and neuter means 'eitt barn' after having read one single sentence about it, and that in definite it's 'bilurin', bókin and 'barnið'.

So like I said, give them 30-50 words where they have to write things like 'ein bilur - bilurin - m', 'ein bók - bókin - f', 'eitt barn - barnið - n', instead of just concentrating on learning the concept from 8-10 words. That will teach people about the concept, but we who do know it still appreciate it because it builds vocabulary.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.

captainporridge
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Re: Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby captainporridge » 2013-04-05, 16:52

I did ask someone before, what they thought about having a slowly-immersive textbook. The English words being slowly replaced with the other-language words after they were taught a few times. They said that from what they understood, that actually slows down learning. I would have to look into it myself though. I also feel like everything taught should seem very useful to the reader in the beginning - teaching the words for grammatical terms in Faroese is useful if you are going on to read about them in Faroese, but I think if I were to introduce them too soon then they would instead feel like "sure it's nice to learn more words, but when am I gonna use this?!".

What you explained for grammar exercises sounds like a grammar workbook, actually. I can indeed make one of those too but oh, how I would wish for some help ;_;

So what is your complaint about people thinking learners are idiots when it comes to grammar concepts? If I know which parts to be sure not to over-describe, that would be really helpful. Or are you saying like with your example, I should more briefly describe things and then just give a lot of exercises and have people figure it out? (if that's true I don't really approve just because, err, some people are really, really bad at figuring things out...)
English: native. Swedish: C1 level. Icelandic: B level, but forgetting how to write. Faroese: C in understanding, A in writing. Japanese: Just starting to learn.

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Johanna
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Re: Making a Faroese textbook for English speakers

Postby Johanna » 2013-04-05, 18:11

captainporridge wrote:So what is your complaint about people thinking learners are idiots when it comes to grammar concepts? If I know which parts to be sure not to over-describe, that would be really helpful. Or are you saying like with your example, I should more briefly describe things and then just give a lot of exercises and have people figure it out? (if that's true I don't really approve just because, err, some people are really, really bad at figuring things out...)

I think the important thing is to have both a good explanation, which like you said shouldn't over-describe things, and which I think can start out explaining the concept, followed by how it works in this particular language, then people who already know the concept can skip that first part and go straight to the more practical one.

And then the most important part: good long exercises that are about using what you just learnt, not confirm that you simply understand that, going with my previous example, nouns in Faroese are either 'he', 'she' or 'it'. Learning a language is about learning to use it after all, not learning a bunch of trivia about it.

captainporridge wrote: I also feel like everything taught should seem very useful to the reader in the beginning - teaching the words for grammatical terms in Faroese is useful if you are going on to read about them in Faroese, but I think if I were to introduce them too soon then they would instead feel like "sure it's nice to learn more words, but when am I gonna use this?!".

I would simply write all grammatical terms in both Faroese and English and do so throughout the book, that way people will pick them up without thinking about it. And I don't mean in an otherwise English text, except when you explain what the thing is in English maybe (like 'Masculine [kallkyn] is...'), but definitely in tables and such, and I'd also keep the explanations in English throughout the book to make sure no one fails to understand one due to language issues.

Most of the textbooks for the languages I learnt back in school did it that way and it was very useful, and I could use monolingual resources for those languages after a while too, without having to actively learn the terms, and especially when it comes to a language like Faroese, which doesn't have that many resources to begin with, being able to get at least something out of a monolingual one early on is quite useful.
Swedish (sv) native; English (en) good; Norwegian (no) read fluently, understand well, speak badly; Danish (dk) read fluently, understand badly, can't speak; Faroese (fo) read some, understand a bit, speak a few sentences; German (de) French (fr) Spanish (es) forgetting; heritage language, want to understand and speak but can't.


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