EUROCALL 2014

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Online Estonian language learning

This presentation focuses on computer-assisted learning of Estonian. Estonian is one of the less-taught European languages belonging to the Finno-Ugric language family.
Impulses for this presentation came from a course “Estonian course for beginners” that started in the University of Tartu in autumn 2010, and from other courses opened in spring 2011 and in 2012. These one-year teacher-assisted courses are intended for adult learners at the beginner level (A1 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and are based on English. On all the courses the students gain introductory knowledge of Estonian and develop active skills in Estonian. e-courses include theme-based asynchronous learning activities available in the Moodle learning environment and the synchronous computer mediated communication via social media (Skype). This provides the learners with the flexibility of performing drill and practice tasks at one's own pace as well as communicating extensively through a computer.
This study addresses the linguistic challenges students face. The special linguistic characteristics of Estonian that make its learning and teaching via Internet different from teaching and learning of the other languages will be discussed. The presentation also discusses the attitude of the students towards the computer assisted Estonian courses and considers both the positive and the negative aspects of Internet-based language learning. Data was collected via a questionnaire survey.

Author(s):

Maarika Teral    
Estonian as a Foreign Language
University of Tartu
Estonia

Maarika Teral is a research fellow in the field of Estonian as a Foreign Language at the University of Tartu. She graduated in Estonian as a Foreign Language from the
University of Tartu Faculty of Philosophy (1997). After that, she has worked as a teacher of Estonian. Since 2004, she has taught Estonian as a Foreign Language at the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics at the University of Tartu Faculty of Philosophy.
Maarika Teral has studied bilingualism and language contacts, focusing on the Estonian used by expatriate Estonian communities.
She has also studied the methodological problems of teaching Estonian as a Foreign Language (e-learning of the Estonian language).
Maarika has participated in the development of several e-courses aimed at beginners, and the SOCRATES Lingua projects SMALLINC— An Interactive Approach to Language and Culture (2001-2004) and ONENESS — On-line less used and less taught language courses (2004–2006) which were funded by the European Commission.

Sirje Rammo    
Estonian as a Foreign Language
University of Tartu
Estonia

Sirje Rammo is a lecturer in the field of Estonian as a Foreign Language at the University of Tartu. She graduated in Estonian Language from the University of Tartu Faculty of Philosophy. She is currently teaching Estonian as a Foreign Language at the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics at the University of Tartu Faculty of Philosophy.
She has studied the methodological problems of teaching Estonian as a Foreign Language.
Sirje has participated in the development of several e-courses aimed at beginners, and the SOCRATES Lingua projects SMALLINC — An Interactive Approach to Language and Culture (2001-2004) and ONENESS — On-line less used and less taught language courses (2004–2006) which were funded by the European Commission.

 

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