Creating and Modifying Language Courses for This Site


Having learned the basics of over forty languages, I have a few ideas about how best to teach and learn languages, so I expect every language course written for this site to follow a standard pattern. However, I am always open to new ideas and will make it possible for you to provide alternative routes through courses or to provide extra features to enhance them. It is vital that all the reading passages in each course are interesting, and for that reason I would expect you to have a genuine talent for writing if you are to create any texts for this site. I certainly don't want to see the tedious stuff about ordering food or buying train tickets that infests so many of the language books on the market: I want to see the real language, and that means the ordinary stuff as used by young children in the course of their normal play and the daily sorts of interactions they have with the people around them. As a learner, I want to imagine that I am a child learning the language from the ground up, so take me on little adventures and try to give me a childhood in the language I'm learning. Occasional pictures and diagrams can be helpful: they not only give the mind a rest from processing text, but they also act as landmarks to help people find their way round the pages they've already read. They should never become the bulk of the content, however, because if the texts are interesting they don't need sugar to sweeten the pill.
indentI'd also like someone to write a short poem for each section of the course containing all the vocabulary and grammatical structures from that section to help people to maintain what they have learned (they might want to memorise them, or perhaps just read them periodically for revision purposes). The quality of the work you produce will determine how many points you are awarded for your contribution to the site, and the number of points you have will determine your share of income from sponsors, though you would be wise to get in touch before you start writing lots of material because your priority should be to get yourself into the list of accepted writers: only writers of high quality will make it onto the list, and the first one in will likely pick up the most points even if his work is subsequently pushed aside by work from a better writer further down the list. You should therefore write an example passage or poem to demonstrate the standard of your work, and if it's up to the task you may be invited to join the team. I will try to distribute the work around a number of writers, but I have to give priority to the first ones to join the project. There may be so many people trying to get on board that I will only be able to reply to the successful applicants, so I apologise in advance. I will not even consider your application to join unless it conforms to the correct format (which can be worked out by reading this page carefully): this is necessary to help filter out the nutters.
indentAll of the languages are to be taught using a single system so that it is easy for learners of more than one language to find their way round all the different courses: it is often easier to learn a language if you can compare it directly with a similar language which you know already, and this can also help you to avoid wrongly using a grammatical feature from one language in another which does not share it. The same items of vocabulary and functional structures will be introduced at the same stage in each course, though the reading passages will be radically different from one course to the next so that they aren't immediately dull for learners of more than one language. When you write a passage for a course, you can include some extra items of vocabulary where the passage depends on them for its story, but it must be based round the words and grammatical structures required for that passage. You must always provide a phonetic version of every passage if the normal spelling doesn't match the sounds accurately or if the writing system is exotic (see standard phonetic writing system); a literal translation explaining every word/particle is also vital; as is a semantic translation to convey the exact meaning of each phrase or sentence. These must either be visible from the outset or possible to call up with a single mouse click (don't worry if you know nothing about programming as I can supply the necessary code). What I need from you is your native knowledge of the language and your creative ability to write genuinely interesting texts for learners to work their way through.
indentI am not only looking for people to write texts for the courses, but I need to find someone for each laguage who has a complete grammatical understanding of that language so that they can help ensure that everything is accurate and that nothing is left out. There will always be complete demonstrations of all possible permutations of each construction so that the learner is never left wondering how to form less common constructions, though these can of course be laid out elsewhere with a link to the page where they are located. I will also need people to translate courses into other languages (meaning that while the language being taught remains the same, the language in which it is taught will change), and they will have to meet very high standards indeed, though remember that there is no guarantee of making any money from this at all: that will only happen if this website takes off in a big enough way to attract the necessary sponsorship, so you shouldn't get involved at all unless you strongly believe in the project. To get in touch then, you need to send an e-mail to the address below, putting "Language" as the subject: any other subject is likely to cause the e-mail to be treated as spam. The first line of your e-mail should be one or more of the following four items: "Writer" if you want to write texts for a language course; "Translator" if you want to translate courses; "Grammar Expert" if you want to co-design a course with me; or "Extra Content Creator" if you have created a game of some kind which might aid learning in some way, or if you have designed an alternative method for teaching part of the course which could run in parallel with the main track (any such extra content would have to be monitored carefully to calculate its worth, getting feedback from learners to make sure that it really does add significant value to the site, because there is no way anyone is going to be paid for supplying superfluous junk). The rest of your e-mail will need to show a little example of your work, but I don't want to spell out exactly what I want to see because it's a useful test of your initiative. Be aware that you may only get one shot at this: any subsequent e-mails from the same address are likely be treated as spam, so make sure you nail it on the first attempt.

E-mails to: (this address may change, so check again before you post anything).