I had an interesting effect of Livemocha. It has made me care more about grammar. To paraphrase the Irish Polyglot , grammar just tells the story of why people talk the way they do. It helps solve problems.
Farsi has — from my present, beginner’s point of view — an incomprehensible plural system. I thought I had it down, until I submitted it in Livemocha. Everyone came down hard on me, eliminating my carefully-placed “ها” plural particles. What’s up with that? So I figured out how to say, “When do I write it?” in order to question my new friends. One responded, saying, “I’ve never thought about it. I don’t know.”
In another place, I finally learned numerals. However, Farsi has a (presently, by me) incomprehensible system of quantifiers. Between the number and noun (always singular–argh!), often (not always) comes some word. Often it’s the Arabic word عدد meaning “amount.” So after submitting my exercises, I got slammed again.
First of all, I’m grateful for the Livemocha system and community. If I were speaking, people would probably prefer to ignore these mistakes of mine. The way the system is, the community is rewarded for giving me feedback.
Now I’m on a quest! What in Farsi determines where and when the plural marker and quantifier go? So to succeed in Livemocha, I will have to find and consult a grammar book. Pimsleur will not help with this, so I will turn to my “How to Read, Write, and Speak Persian” book. I hope it’s there. This experience reinforced to me that Livemocha is a great resource, but not enough on its own.
- 5 Websites to Learn a Foreign Language Free (madrasgeek.com)
- Complementary Methods (lovinglanguage.wordpress.com)