30 December 2011

Who am I? Who am I? WHO AM I?

So as I said a while ago, I've recently started trying to work on my Welsh again.  I did a beginners' course last year, and I never really felt I'd got any real competence in the language (despite getting a pass in the course), and so I figured it was time to do it properly.

Now when I dug out the books (as I said), I just found myself really frustrated (and I've tried two more sets of course materials since the previous post).

So I got myself onto iTunes U to see if they had any useful materials and found a podcast Dialogues for Welsh Learners from the University of Glamorgan.

Well I've just fired up the playlist.  I listened to the introduction; fine.  I listened to the first "episode": Pwy dych chi? (= Who are you?)  The podcast was 5:39 long (including the usual timewastery) and was literally devoted to the question "Who are you?" and it's response "I am ...?"  Please note that this is not aimed at teaching the question, only at practising what you should already have learnt during your course.

Surely, surely, there is something wrong if these 5 words are so difficult that it takes this long.  And what is wrong?  It's my favourite phrase of 2011: disordered state.  The question and answer are trivially easy in terms of the language itself -- it's one of the most basic structures imaginable.  And yet people find it, as a phrase, difficult enough to merit 5 minutes of dedicated practice as well as untold teaching time in the class itself.

Doesn't this show just how inefficient phrase-based learning really is?

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