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Location: Osnabrueck, Lower Saxony, Germany

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Scott Message: 8424 From: scott_thornbury Received: Sa Apr 23, 2005 9:27 Subject: Re: Dennis and S----- Dennis has bravely decided to eschew translation and adopt the "Robinson Crusoe" method. Just to remind you (from Daniel Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe"): "But to return to my New Companion; I was greatly delighted with him, and made it my Business to teach him every Thing, that was proper to make him useful, handy, and helpful; but especially to make him speak, and under stand me when I spake, and he was the aptest Schollar that ever was, and particularly was so merry, so constantly diligent, and so pleased, when he cou'd but understand me, or make me understand him, that it was very pleasant to me to talk to him; […] Friday began to talk pretty well, and understand the Names of almost every Thing I had occasion to call for, and of every Place I had to send him to, and talk'd a great deal to me". Unfortunately, with regard to Crusoe's method, Defoe does not go into details, but we can be pretty sure that translation was not part of it. We do have some samples of Friday's interlanguage though, and this shows evidence of a mainly lexical, non-syntactical, mode of processing, as might be expected: […] we began the following Discourse: You always fight the better said I, How came you to be taken Prisoner then, Friday? Friday, My Nation beat much, for all that. Master, How beat; if your Nation beat them, how come you to be taken? Friday, They more many than my Nation in the Place where me was; they take one, two, three, and me; my Nation over beat them in the yonder Place, where me no was; there my Nation take one, two, great Thousand. Master, But why did not your Side recover you from the Hands of your Enemies then? Friday, They run one, two, three, and me, and make go in the Canoe; my Nation have no Canoe that time. Master, Well, Friday, and What does your Nation do with the Men they take, do they carry them away, and eat them, as these did? Friday, Yes, my Nation eat Mans too, eat all up. The Robinson Crusoe method was an early manifestation of dogme, in its use of only those "affordances" that were available in the immediate learning environment, and its focus on the learner's own lived experience, even when this includes cannibalism. (Which i trust won't be the case with S). ;-) S.


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