Learning a New Language

One the most important components of cultural development is the acquisition of language.  Without the development of language little of what we learn would be passed on to others thus greatly impairing development beyond human instinct.


Today there are around 6,000 distinct languages with approximately 25,000 to 45,000 dialects found throughout the world.  The island of New Guinea has around 850 separate languages and the country of Nigeria has nearly 400 languages. 


Throughout the rest of this semester you will introduce yourself to one of the languages spoken in the cultural group or country you have chosen.  Each person has differing levels of language acquisition, in other words not everyone learns a new language equally.  With this in mind, do not become frustrated with this project.  Do the best you can with the following instructions and have fun!


1.  Pick a language.  The exceptions are English, any languages taught at school or a second language you already speak.  Spend some time looking into what languages are spoken and then what material you will have access to for the language you pick.


Okay, you have chosen the language, now what?


You will need to do the following steps for the language you have chosen:

1.  A brief (750 words) report about where the language is spoken, for how long (if possible) it has existed, a brief synopsis about the people that speak the language and other places where, if any, the language is spoken.


2.  You will need to have examples about the written language, including:

                1.  the alphabet (or writing system)

        2.  minimum 200 words from the language (with translation)

                3.  minimum 50 sentences in the language (with translation)

                4.  minimum 5 examples of a source written in the language

                5.  find out what the sentence structure is for the language.


3.  You will need to learn as best you can how to speak the language (not all of it!).  The easiest way to do this part is to learn the spoken part of the language while you are doing the written part in #2.  There are three key sentences I would like you to learn how to say.

                1.  What is the greeting?

                2.  My name is __________.

                3.  How to say hello and goodbye

                4.  20 additional phrases of anything else that you think is cool, funny, or just sounds



4.  Find 5 examples related to how the people use their language. 

Examples:  a story, a song/music, in art (think Arabic for this), or anything else that you think represents the language to the people.


5.  At the end of each week you will need to present two sentences to the class.


6.  Each person will present what they have learned about their language near the end of the semester.