[Foundation-l] The sad story of training material to learn Farsi

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Wed Feb 22 01:28:31 UTC 2006

> I am getting confused about you. You do seem not to get what I write 
> about the application of the data that is relational in nature. That 
> or you are in denial that what I write is feasible. Software is NOT a 
> magic thing as long as you keep thinking along the lines of what is 
> traditional. Software starts to get its own relevancy when you realise 
> its potential and start to approach things differently because you CAN 
> approach things differently. 

I wasn't even talking about your theories of relational data.  There may 
be some truth to the butterfly effect, but I'm not about to leap into 
the belief that every potential relationship of that sort can be 
documented.  The only evidence that your proposals are feasible is your 
own faith, and I don't believe in God.  The converse of what you state 
is that if I depart from traditional lines of thinking then software can 
be a magic thing; I am not about to worship that Satan.  Software cannot 
and must not derive its relevancy from itself.  Climbing aboard a more 
powerful vehicle simply because it is more poerful, and can take me 
further faster is foolishly irresponsible, and if I take others 
unknowingly with me unethical as well.

It is not our role as humans to adapt to software, but to adapt that 
software to human needs.

> The things that I describe; linking to a DefinedMeaning and showing 
> the translation associated with the language of the user interface is 
> not rocker science. It is relatively trivial. It is not "magic" at 
> all. Given the current functionality at http://wiktionaryz.org and the 
> date Erik has given for a first editable version of this software, 
> this software COULD be written by April time. We will do it, but it 
> has to fit in with the greater scheme of things. 

So do it!  If it's not rocket science, you should have no problem doing 
it.  Your boasts about what it can do and when it will be available or 
your vision of its connection with :"the greater scheme of things" all 
point in the direction of vapourware.

> I am getting the feeling that you are being awkward because you can. I 
> am loosing the feeling that you do not understand.. When you put 
> lesson between "" like in your last mail you make it seem that it is 
> not a lesson at all, that it has no quality. For your information the 
> dead wood variety of these lessons have been used to teach /many 
> /people Farsi. 

I didn't really see it as a lesson at all, just as a list of 
translations.  I'm sure that those who used the dead wood variety to 
learn Farsi must have done so in a larger context rather than by viewing 
that list in isolation.

> Your idea of using romanised script in order to teach Farsi is just 
> that; an idea. Given the need for transcription and the huge problems 
> associated with it, it is also a bad idea. Moreover given the subject 
> it is not helpful and it is detracting. When you have a clue about the 
> teaching done with this material, the discussions that have been done 
> before, during and after the creation of this material on the Wiki 
> your ideas might be relevant. The fact that you do not ask questions 
> but only opinionate makes what you say also less relevant, certainly 
> less interesting. 

Ultimately language is independent of the script in which it is 
written.  Iranians and Tadjikis use different scripts for this language, 
but their spoken languages are mutually intelligible.  Japanese can be 
written in several different scripts without any effect on oral/aural 
intelligibility.  Any language could be romanized, but I would consider 
cultural sensitivity before turning that into a broader suggestion that 
goes beyond a simple learning tool.  You claim there has been discussion 
on this before, but if I go to the Wikibooks page (which someone else 
has just moved to Persian) there is no such discussion; nor is there at 
the first lesson.  If your experience with using these materials for 
teaching Farsi is so important and so successful perhaps you might point 
to educational studies that support your POV.

So what's wrong with opinions? (There's a question for you.)  What makes 
the opinions that you expressed so much more valid.  I ask questions 
sometimes, and I simply question at other times.  I would expect nothing 
less of students, whom I believe should always be critical of anything a 
teacher sayus.

> At this moment you do yourself harm because you make me and others 
> think less of you. The respect that I have for you makes me write 
> this. I would think it sad when I find that I do not want to read what 
> you have to say no more.

I don't say what I say for the simple purpose of being popular, and I am 
not intimidated by your suggestion that others should think less of me 
just because I choose to speak my mind.  There is no subject on this 
list where I need to feel that I have anything to hide. 


More information about the foundation-l mailing list