Articles from the column instruado

Kurso en la urbo, kiu neniam dormas
Tre nekutima Esperanto-kurso okazis ĉi-jare en Novjorko. 12 elstaraj studentoj de la universitato de la Urbo Novjorko (CUNY), sekvis 10-tagan rekt-metodan kurson pri Esperanto en Majo-Junio 2015.
Duolingo: a turning point for Esperanto?
Duolingo is one of the most popular online tools for learning languages, with more than 100 million users. If current trends continue, it will eventually be the most popular. And now, it can also be used for learning Esperanto.
Three Little Words
The tiny words da, po, and si cause students of Esperanto trouble out of proportion to their size.
Considering the languages students already speak
It’s possible to teach a foreign language without taking into account the languages one’s students already know. But the language(s) a student already speaks can hinder or help learning a new language.
Translation for learning
In the last century or so, translation exercises have fallen out of fashion. Now, however, the language teaching community is coming around to the idea that there’s a place for translation in language teaching after all.
La eterna progresanto
Years ago, Father Guido Sarducci (a fictional character played by comedian Don Novello) said he wanted to start a “Five Minute University.”
Is it possible to learn and teach Esperanto at the same time?
Gary describes a recent pedagogical experiment in Australia with a “learn-as-you-teach” approach to language instruction.
Esperanto at the Movies
One way of adding a little variety to an Esperanto class or a local group meeting is to watch a bit of a film or television program in or about Esperanto.
What should an Esperanto course teach?
In centuries past it was common for language courses to emphasize grammar. In fact, language textbooks themselves were often called “grammars,” and in British and American schools there was so much emphasis in the early grades on learning grammar that we still sometimes refer to elementary schools as “grammar schools.”
Reading for Learning
It’s possible to learn the basics of a language without doing any reading. That said, reading has major advantages for a language student.
Competency-Based Education
The basic idea is to base your teaching on a list of things a student needs to know and to be able to do — so-called “competencies.”
False friends
Probably the most time-consuming part of studying any language is developing a vocabulary, so it’s always a relief to encounter a familiar word. But not every word that looks familiar is all that close in meaning.
Video classes
One evening most weeks, some Esperanto speakers here in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina get together for dinner and face-to-face conversation. The most frequent participants come from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill … and Santa Fe.
Participles
It’s easy enough to explain what a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb is, but defining participle is not so easy.
Gender in Esperanto
Why should all the sex-specific words in Esperanto be masculine by default? Why do we derive the word patrino from patro and virino from viro? Why not make the base word gender neutral and employ suffixes for both male and female?
Alternatives to traditional language classes
Language teaching in the traditional sense has for the most part meant classroom instruction, either as part of a broader curriculum or as a stand-alone course. In recent decades, especially in the U.S., this approach has been in decline for a variety of reasons.
In the Mood
Many Esperanto speakers, notably those who come from an English language background, have trouble with verbal moods. Today’s schools often ignore the subject, and it doesn’t help that the term subjunctive in English is applied to two different moods, thus making it harder than it needs to be.
Games for students
One way to liven up a class (or a club meeting) is to introduce a game. The more a game involves speaking, the more suited it is to language teaching.
The Ilya Frank Method
Frank’s basic idea is to imbed the translations right in the text, so there’s no need to stop reading to consult a dictionary.
La Cseh-metodo
Probably the most famous and successful Esperanto teacher in history was Andreo Cseh.
Approaches to classroom instruction
A brief survey of historical trends in language instruction, and their application to teaching Esperanto.
Elparolo
For Americans, Esperanto pronunciation is easier to learn than that of French or many other languages, but that doesn’t mean it’s trivial.
Esperanto Classes and the Internet
Today’s teachers routinely stay in touch with their students via the web and email, providing encouragement and sending gentle reminders of homework, complete with links so all the student has to do is click.
Where do those “n”s go?
Gary Grady presented an excellent way of looking at verb transitivity. I’d like to suggest an unusual but useful viewpoint for a related issue that students often find problematic.
Kial oni brosas per broso sed kombas per kombilo
In English we can say, I brush my hair with a brush and comb my hair with a comb, which seems simple enough. So why is it that in Esperanto we say, Mi brosas miajn harojn per broso kaj kombas miajn harojn per kombilo?
Koro vidas pli bone ol okuloj
Unu el la plej bonaj ekzercoj por alkutimiĝi al la parolado de Esperanto (aŭ de iu ajn lingvo) estas daŭre priskribi tion, kion oni vidas. La plej bona maniero plenumi tian ekzercon estas gvidi iun kiu tute ne vidas.
Making things harder than they really are
At some point after we start learning Esperanto, we begin to notice things that make the language seem harder than it needs to be.
Misteaks
When I was in college I let myself be talked into jumping directly into an upper level course in conversational French. Once I realized that everyone else in the class was much more fluent, I barely spoke at all for fear of making embarrassing mistakes.
Filling a storehouse of words
Building up a vocabulary is a major part of mastering a language — quite possibly the major part in terms of time and effort expended.
Teaching a one-lesson microcourse
Any time group organizers have a need for talks and presentations to entertain and inform their members, you have an opportunity to introduce Esperanto.