This time we had a record low for number of people dropping out in the second week. It’s usually about 1/4th of the remaining students that drop out, but this time, it was only one person! And they dropped out by letting me know, instead of just not turning in homework.

This time, the quiz didn’t seem to make much of a difference. There was very little repeated use of it. I’m guessing that people found this quiz a lot less helpful.

Everyone struggled with the same three things: Letters that are pronounced differently inside of words, how to divide the words into syllables, and where to place stress – which is pretty much the entire lesson. There was a lot of groaning in the Skype chat about how difficult this lesson was too. After one student had me correct their homework in two stages, I think that I should restructure the lesson the way that we dealt with their homework, because their solution was pretty ingenious.

Train people to do the transcription in stages, instead of all at once, and use the same examples for every stage, so people can watch them gain more and more of the features.

  1. Teach how sounds are different inside of multi-syllable words. Don’t bring in syllable division at this point.
  2. Teach syllable division, using a lot more examples, with more explanations. Get into the linguistic theory behind it too… about how most languages structure syllables CV.
  3. Teach the placement of stress.

Then, I’d break the quiz into 2 parts Syllable division and Placement of stress. I’d have to make separate pages for the quizzes, since I can’t have two quizzes on the same page.

What do you think? Would this make it easier to learn?

Hello everyone! I’m going to try my best to give a progress report on the class – mentioning no specific names, just broad observations that I noticed about the class. The primary purpose of this is to brainstorm ways to improve the course by finding where the weaknesses are in it, and what is succeeding.

Only 1/3 of the students dropped out in the first week this semester! Usually the percentage is a lot higher. I have several speculations about this – maybe because there were more returning students this time, people who already knew what to expect from the class. Maybe more people were able to follow the calendar and knew when to start turning in homework this time, since it’s much more visually based and easy to find. Maybe the new quizzes gave people more confidence in turning in their homework? Whatever the reason is, I’m just really happy to see more people hanging on to go to the second week!

The Quiz made a huge difference. The students who used the quiz to practice before turning in their homework got 100% on their homework very quickly – many only having to turn in one revision to fix simple oversights or typos, and there weren’t any patterns in their errors that I could see, indicating no gaps in their knowledge.

    The students who didn’t use the quiz had the following difficulties:

  • A lot of confusion about the dialects. Several people didn’t connect Gondorian = Human, so I’ll have to change the language in the homework’s instructions I think, to be more clear. I’ll replace “human” with “Gondorian” and “elf” with “Non-Gondorian” to make it clear what dialect I’m talking about.
  • Ls gave a lot of people trouble, but that’s nothing new. People with linguistic training picked up right away that the two Ls are allophones, but others found this concept difficult to grasp. Any ideas on how to make this concept easier to grasp?
  • The Gondorian pronunciation of the CH – this one I think gave people trouble because it’s been updated in the last year. This comes from new information that I found in an obscure note in the Unfinished Tales: Pages 318-319, Note #49 in the chapter “Cirion and Eorl and the Friendship of Gondor and Rohan”.

By popular request, I’ve updated the Chapter 1.3 video with an added section on how I get around being unable to roll Rs. By the way, how useful do you find the videos?

It’s the first day of class on this fancy new website! If you check the calendar widget in the navigation column on the left of the screen, you’ll see what assignments are due for whom.

Good luck everyone!

Registration is closed!

If you realize that you don’t have time to do the class, now is the time to let me know so that someone on the waiting list can take your spot.

Now is also the time for the New Students to brush up on your International Phonetic Alphabet skills. Go to Chapter 1.2. There you will find a lesson on how to use IPA, as well as a quiz. Take the quiz at least three times – the quizzes are designed to be taken over and over and over again.

Don’t try to submit your quiz results to me – I don’t need them. The quiz is just for you to get some practice with before I judge any of your work.

Chapter 1.2 doesn’t have any homework to turn in either. You won’t have homework until Chapter 1.3, which will be turned in on Monday, May 2nd.

The calendar is viewable on the website’s navigation. If you click on a day, it’ll tell you what’s scheduled for that day. You can also look at past and future months there.

Contact me if you have any questions via the Submit Homework/PM page.

We have met the maximum 15 new students for Summer 2016! Anyone else signing up for Summer 2016 will be put on the waiting list. If a spot opens up before May 2nd, the next person on the waiting list will get to join the class. The list on the Student Roster is in alphabetic order, and I keep the order of application on my own computer.

If you aren’t sure that you will have time for the class and may have to drop out, please give up your spot now so that people on the waiting list will get a chance to take the class.

If you are on the waiting list and a spot opens up for you, I will contact you to let you know via PM. Sometimes these messages can get lost in Spam-boxes, so be on the look-out. If, by the time registration closes, there are still people in the waiting list, they will be automatically signed up for the Fall 2016 semester.

There are still spots open for the Fall 2016 semester, so if you’re willing to wait, go ahead and sign up for that instead.

I finally finished uploading the last homework assignment! I’ll be making more quizzes during the next month as well, but I wanted to make sure that at the very least all of the homework assignments were written.

The new semester plan is as follows:

January-March: Registration is closed, class is in session
April: Registration is open, class is on vacation
May-July: Registration is closed, class is in session
August: Registration is open, class is on vacation
September-November: Registration is closed, class is in session
December: Registration is open, class is on vacation

This should give me enough time to teach these classes and finish other projects.

Since we aren’t yet caught up to this new schedule, The rest of March previous students have the chance to sign up for the class since they were in the middle of a semester when I decided to over-haul everything. Then the regular schedule will begin in April.

If you check the Calendar widget on the left of the screen, you’ll find all of the relevant dates entered into it.

See you around!

Finally, after many patient months, I can announce a date for the lessons to be restarted! This is because the main website has finally been completed to a point that I can give it a rest and teach again. you can view the announcement for the main website here.

Things that need to happen first:

  • Turn the Homework Assignments into HTML pages here.
  • Write quizzes for the rest of the lessons.

Auburn and I will also be working on more lesson videos, now that we have more time, but those aren’t as important as getting the lessons up and running again.

See you around, hopefully!

At 8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, I’m being interviewed about my Tolkien-language work, along with a good friend of mine, The Dwarrow Scholar and you can listen and chat along with others listening to the show here: