Friday, October 28, 2011

Some language learning tips from studying Sámi

Davvin is a Sámi course written for the Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian stately broadcasting company. It gives a couple of suggestions on how to use the course, and I am going to say my meaning of a couple of them.

Firstly, it says that one should be able to repeat any discussions as any person participating. It reminded me of Leyla Randomness and her lovely video "Polyglotte2". She says her method is imitation :-)
Take a random dialogue and learn it as if it was your lines for a play, then play both (all) parts. Take any discussion, take your favorite discussion from a movie or series, and imitate, copy, parrot... act as if.

Secondly, it says that one should practice writing by dictation. You are to listen to a recording of a text you have. Stop the tape after every sentence and write it down. After you have written down all the sentences, check the spelling by the text. Repeat as many times as you need to get all right.
You get usually a recording with a language course, but if you don't have a course, there are some recordings with texts online. (For example Sámi, there are some songs with lyrics on-line.)
If nothing else, you can always read by your best ability, record the text on MP3 player or so, and then try to add the speed a little so that you get the speed up. I know this is not quite as good practice as having a native speaker saying something, but if that's all you have, it's better than nothing. Of course, your own pronunciation sucks, especially in the beginning, but it gives you SOME practice... besides, if you can't find anyone to speak the language to you, it doesn't matter too much if your pronunciation sucks... it will improve with time, I promise, when you get in the action.
Also, every beginner's pronunciation sucks. Some kids fight with the pronunciation for a couple of years to get it right, WITH THEIR OWN MOTHERTONGUE! :-D You just have to be ready to repeat, often, slowly and in the end on paper, to make yourself understood. If you need to take on paper and pen, ask the native speaker to repeat the word and sentence to you as many times as you need to get it right - or at least understandable ;-)

Now I have received a mail from my favorite book store in Finland, and they can get me the Estonian book - it would cost 26€, when in Estonia it would cost on half of that... >:->
Also, they can't get the other books. Any suggestions?


ɛ e - like e in English word bed [bɛd]
ə - like u in English word fur [fɜ̝ː] 
o - like eau in French word réseau [ʁeˈzo]
 œ - like eu in French word jeune [ʒœn] 
ɜ , ø , ɘ , ɵ , ɤ - like ir in English word bird [bɜːd] 
(or er in Gertrude, or ur in turn or ear in learn)
(There really is very little difference in these phonemes)
ɔ - like o in English word dog [dɔɡ] 
ɶ - like eu in French word honneur [ɔnɶ̝ʁ]

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