Modern Dictionary with New Methods – part 2

Well, it appears that there is more to this story then first thought. has wrote another article on Dr. Kidanemariam Zerzghi and his new Tigrigna reference dictionary. It is in interview format and they ask him a few questions (ones strangely similar to the question I asked in my last blog entry) about his methods. Here is an excerpt:

What was the new method you found? And was it practical?

The Tigrinya alphabets differ on structure. So, based on such difference, I tried to reduce the 41 alphabets into 21 which were easier for ordering and memorizing. When I started to teach my soon using this way, he began to recognize the alphabets within 4-5 days. We also introduced it in two schools in Washington and students were able to memorize the alphabets within a week to a month. Then, some Eritreans in the Diaspora encouraged me to publish it for interested people for it was helpful for learning Tigrinya.

I still don’t agree that making changes like this is the best way to facilitate Tigrigna literacy, however I will recognize that one of the main problems, of those who are learning Tigrigna, is the length of the fidelat. But that is why God created flash cards (right-hand side). With flash cards a mildly dedicated person can learn all the letters in a few days (it took me just one afternoon). In a few days they should be able to start reading sentences. Knocking off some letters is unnecessary and creates even more problems down the road.

I think an ideal solution would be to teach people the reduced set first, then move on to the full set when they are ready. That system makes the most sense, as it keeps the diversity of our Fidel and still helps language learners gain literacy.

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December 11, 2008  Tags: , ,   Posted in: language, Tigrigna