[Localization] [sugar] 9.1 proposal: Language learning on the XO.

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Thu Oct 30 17:47:29 EDT 2008

On Thu, Oct 30, 2008 at 11:28 AM, Yamandu Ploskonka
<yamaplos at bolinux.org> wrote:
> Please be _very_ careful on any thought about teaching English with the XO.

It is a requirement in many countries. We don't have a choice.

> Enemies of the project everywhere are just waiting for a chance, any
> chance, to call us yokels of the imperialist empire, and they would have
> a field day if the XO delivered EFL.

The defense against this nonsense is to provide courses for as many
languages a possible, and toolkits for people to develop their own for
languages not currently popular in the textbook industry. Also, to
encourage schoolchildren to learn how to record and preserve their
linguistic heritage everywhere.

> Of course we know that many locally parents want EFL, as they want Math,
> but there is a weird layer of opinion that would just be so happy to
> ruin the whoile project for short term political gain.

Pay no attention to the naysayers, Yama. "By their fruits ye shall know them."

> To develop _tools_ for language learning is _very_ good, as a general
> concept.
> Aymaran kids need to learn better skills in Aymara, and such tools would
> be useful, Castillian speaking kids skills in Castillian and would
> benefit to learn Aymara and Quechua also, but proposing Aymara and
> Quechua kids to be assisted to learn Castillian using the XO is already
> a delicate matter, proposing English is a definite no-no in these times.

In many countries English or a former colonial/imperial language
(French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian) are required for all
children. In the Netherlands, for example, students get 12 years of
English. English is the only language that people can agree on in
India, and is the language of almost all higher education there.

_We_ are not going to impose anything on the children. We are going to
make tools available.

> Since all of this is a local decision anyway, I know of a deployment
> that, at the request of local parents and with local workers is
> developing EFL materials.

Tell us more.

> What I suggest is that as a team to focus in the _tools_.  Dictionaries,
> interactive tools (HablarConSara, etc).  Those can then be loaded with
> local language packs, and eventually, and as a local decision, other
> languages, which of course are not limited to English.

I see that we agree on the principles, and we are discussing
presentation more than substance.

> I listened to an
> NPR report the other day on how fashionable it is to have pre.schoolers
> learn Mandarin nowadays.

Yes, we have Chinese immersion in elementary schools and preschools
here in Cupertino.

> Yama
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