One that comes to mind immediately is the BBC's "Mi Vida Loca" for Spanish: http://www.bbc.co.uk/languages/spanish/mividaloca/, There are others. For example, Living Languages develops a number of different stories and sub-plots in its Spanish series, and also in its modern Greek series where there is an ongoing narrative that matches the language learned..Jonathan wrote:That's certainly one reasonable approach. In this thread, I'm looking at the kinds of learning activities that we see in software used to learn modern languages. Can you point to software that takes that approach?
But with Biblical languages there is one huge challenge when compared to modern languages. With modern languages it is so easy to create narratives because the language of everyday life is right there at your fingertips for both languages. Thus, if I am doing ESL for example, it is very simple to create a dialogue called "a trip to the pizza joint", to teach food and dining terminology. As an ESL teacher, you can easily create this narrative, and you can easily enact it in real life with your class (take them out for a pizza) - or express it through your media for interactive programming. When I did my TESL training, it was not difficult to create a whole series of 'real life narratives' to teach different expressions of the language, and they can even be targeted to your particular group. For example, teens will spend many hours and much energy to learn idioms, because that is one very important mode of narrative in the world of their peers.
When you begin to think about how to do simple narratives for Biblical Greek, though, you are immediately confronted by the challenge of 1) the difficulty in trying to put together even simple everyday language - there is a great dearth of readily available phrases and everyday vocabulary, and 2) the challenge of trying to relate a language not used for almost 2 millennia to the modern context. You only begin to appreciate this fully, I suspect, when you try to create some communicative teaching materials - at least that has been the case for me. And then you have a whole series of decisions to make: for example, do you develop words and phrases to describe things and events and situations common to our culture but unknown to the 1st century culture? To do so is to 'pollute' the target language, it seems, but not doing so really makes the task challenging.
I think you will find that the task of accessing the readily available terminology of a modern language to teach moderns is very different than developing modules to teach an ancient language to a modern audience. The moderns who are learning the new modern language are already 'experts' in the κόσμος which the language describes. That is not a small thing. That is massive! If I might refer to Frank Smith's book again, the learning process is a pro-active exercise of relating the words on the page, or the sound on the audio, to your knowledge bank. This is what makes teaching modern language so different than teaching something like Koine Greek. For the latter, I think you have to 'create a narrative' that is tied to that setting, if you wish to go very far with communicative. That's what Athenaze did, but without utilizing the communicative teaching method, and that's what Randall has done in his introductory lessons.