Discourse Analysis in general
zellmer at cag.pworld.net.ph
Fri Dec 4 02:38:23 EST 1998
Peter_Kirk at sil.org wrote:
> Matthew Anstey asked:
> 1. how can one best be immersed in a dead language?
> 2. how can one best teach others in this way?
> 3. at what point does one move to linguistic description, particularly
> discourse analysis stuff and how?
> I've read several proposed answers, but I'm not convinced, except
> perhaps by Randy Buth's ideas. When I learned Azerbaijani, a living
> language of course, I started with the basic grammar and conversation
> (helped by a teacher), and after that I did a lot of reading, guided
> at first by another teacher who also helped with further grammar
> studies. I was also able to learn some by speaking to people on the
> streets, but it was hardly "immersion" - the "immersion" was by
> reading simple texts.
Peter, we both know that this is a third option to what Matthew proposed. It is
probably how most of us who live in a foreign country learn the local language.
> Most of this could be repeated with b-Hebrew, perhaps using a grammar
> book instead of a teacher. Either drop the conversational part or
> replace by modern Hebrew. (In Azerbaijani also there is a contrast
> between the relatively "pure Turkic" written language and a spoken
> form which is much influenced by Indo-European (Farsi and Russian)
> syntax and vocabulary; but one learns that different registers are
> different.) So my key recommendation is: read a lot of b-Hebrew, at a
> level you can just understand, i.e. start with the simple and work up
> to the complex.
IMHO, I concur, and Matthew seems to be at this level. But, as far as passing it on
to new students, most grammars seemed more designed to memorization with the implied
caveat, "Trust me. This really is significant." I find that this leads to quick
discouragement of many, who eventually stop studying. Why else do people marvel at
the tenacity of those who "teach" themselves Hebrew?
> One reason for discouragement is surely that the Hebrew alphabet is so
> difficult for us westerners. For years our attention is primarily on
> getting the correct pronunciation, and understanding takes a second
> place. So how about reading the Hebrew in a good clear
> transliteration? It is not hard to make a complete (readable)
> transliterated Bible text from e.g. the Oxford Text Archive BHS - I
> have one myself.
Were it not for this paragraph, I wouldn't have responded again to this thread.
Peter, I respectfully disagree with you. I have heard many students moan and groan
over the "aleph-beth," but I personally have not found one who stopped his study of
Hebrew because of it. I routinely have my students read the text being investigated,
starting with the second lesson, and they have never balked at the requirement. I
think the cause of discouragement lies elsewhere.
> As for question 3, I must disagree with Bryan: first get to know the
> language well, and then start looking at discourse analysis type
I asked my students today what they thought of this. This particular class has been
studying Bryan's book for about three months now, and, for the past month, I have
supplemented it with an old classical grammar (Weingreen) just to help them review
some of the concepts to which they have already been introduced. To a man, they
stated that, had they started with Weingreen, they would not be as anxious to continue
learning the language. Yet, of the entire class, the only dropout that we have had
was due to an extended illness. He has already made arrangements to start his studies
anew now that he is better physically.
You must realize that Bryan's book is discourse analysis only at a very basic level.
It does not approach the technicalities of Longacre or Niccacci. But it does force
the student to look a longer passages than the simple verse. Imagine the advantage to
your work if your main native-language assistant/translator could do what I just saw
today: read three examples of hortatory discouse, one unmitigated, one partially
mitigated, and one so mitigated as to be almost entirely procedural, recognize each
for what they are, and translate each one into the target language *with the correct
levels of honorifics/respect and relative intensity.* It appears to me like the
simplified introduction to "discourse analysis," which actually does very little real
analysis, takes the place of the feedback we get when we are learning "living"
Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
zellmer at faith.edu.ph
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the b-hebrew