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A Language and Culture Learning Program for Independent Learners:
Preliminary Revised Version
by Herbert C. Purnell

© 1993 Herbert C. Purnell. Used by permission.


Complete Table of Contents


This book describes a program developed by Herb Purnell for independent language and culture learning for people living in the target culture. The program was developed in Thailand and contains some material specific to that area of the world, but most of it is relevant anywhere. There are two stages: beginning and intermediate, taking about two years altogether. For each week there is a specific language goal and a specific cultural goal suggested. This information can be particularly useful for people learning a minority language and culture in the area where the language is spoken.

1. Introduction

Program goals
Assumptions of the program
Program overview
Suggested schedule (Level I, full-time)

2. Language and culture assignments: Level I

LA 1. Greetings and farewells
CA 1. Ecological setting; map of the village
LA 2. Demonstratives; names of objects
CA 2. Dwellings and out-buildings
LA 3. Pronouns; names of actions
CA 3. Carrying
LA 4. Thanking, excusing, and requesting (1)
CA 4. Tools; receptacles for food and drink
LA 5. Review
CA 5. Review
LA 6. Yes/No questions
CA 6. Religious ceremonies
LA 7. Negatives
CA 7. Clothing
LA 8. Numbers, classifiers, counting
CA 8. Food and eating
LA 9. Possessives; personal names
CA 9. Gestures and personal distance
LA 10. Review
CA 10. Review
LA 11. Kinship terms
CA 11. Pets and domestic animals
LA 12. Ability; requesting (2)
CA 12. Work activities around home and village or neighborhood
LA 13. Comparative and superlative degrees; which; tag questions
CA 13. Agricultural cycle of the year
LA 14. Location and directional verbs
CA 14. Creative activities in the village or neighborhood
LA 15. Review
CA 15. Review
LA 16. Time
CA 16. Gardens and gathering; useful non-medicinal plants
LA 17. Amounts
CA 17. Health and hygiene; useful medicinal plants
LA 18. Tense; aspect
CA 18. Visitors and hospitality shown to them
LA 19. Synonyms and antonyms
CA 19. Daily life patterns
LA 20. Review and evaluation
CA 20. Review and evaluation
LA 21. Terms of address
CA 21. Kinship relations, obligations, and privileges
LA 22. Reasons and explanations
CA 22. Pregnancy and birth
LA 23. Commands and imperatives
CA 23. Child-rearing and coming of age
LA 24. Benefactives
CA 24. Courtship and marriage; divorce
LA 25. Review
CA 25. Review
LA 26. Negative commands and prohibitions
CA 26. Sex and morality
LA 27. Verb chains
CA 27. Old age and death
LA 28. Color and texture; descriptive verbs
CA 28. Personal care and adornment
LA 29. Order of modifiers within noun phrases
CA 29. Arts and crafts
LA 30. Review
CA 30. Review
LA 31. Reciprocals and reflexives
CA 31. Recreation and leisure activities
LA 32. Relative clauses
CA 32. Music
LA 33. Temporal clauses
CA 33. Dancing and Drama
LA 34. Instrumentals
CA 34. Wild animals and hunting (include reptiles but not birds or fowl)
LA 35. Review
CA 35. Review
LA 36. Desiring, urging, causing
CA 36. Fish and fishing, or birds and insects, or some of both
LA 37. Purpose, condition, reason
CA 37. Wood and bamboo; fire
LA 38. Probability and obligation
CA 38. Economics; trade and exchange of goods and services
LA 39. Relations between clauses and sentences; conjunction
CA 39. Gifts and their exchanges
LA 40. Review and evaluation
CA 40. Review and evaluation

3. Language and culture assignments: Level II

LA 41. Further work on relations between clauses and sentences
CA 41. Social organization; prestige system
LA 42. Conversation openings; “small talk”
CA 42. Verbal and nonverbal reactions in conversation; expressing emotions
LA 43. Exclamations; sentence particles
CA 43. Friendship and alienation
LA 44. Reporting information
CA 44. Local government and the decision-making process
LA 45. Review
CA 45. Review
LA 46. Intonation patterns, stress and rhythm
CA 46. Offenses and punishments
LA 47. Figures of speech; concealed speech
CA 47. Religious beliefs and the spirit world
LA 48. Idioms and euphemisms
CA 48. Ancestor cult; merit and demerit
LA 49. Intensifiers
CA 49. Ideal vs. actual behavior
LA 50. Reduplication and three- or four-syllable descriptive expressions
CA 50. Dreams and their interpretations
LA 51. Relating to people verbally
CA 51. Attitudes
LA 52. Varieties of speech
CA 52. Change and progress
LA 53. Sets of related sentence structures; sentence focus; passive
CA 53. Village social activities
LA 54. Review and evaluation
CA 54. Review and evaluation
LA 55. Negative forms of moods and questions
CA 55. Centers of worship; shrines
LA 56. Semantic fields and related meanings
CA 56. Charms and amulets, images, and sacred pictures or drawings
LA 57. Narrative discourse 1: travel and everyday happenings; focus on groupings
CA 57. Religious life and ritual cycle
LA 58. Narrative discourse 2: folktales; focus on participants
CA 58. Taboos
LA 59. Narrative discourse 3: personal, village, or tribal history; focus on events
CA 59. Religious practitioners
LA 60. Narrative discourse 4: myths and legends; focus on prominence
CA 60. Trances and spirit-possession
LA 61. Transformation of narrative structure; focus on paraphrase
CA 61. Rituals for individuals
LA 62. Review
CA 62. Review
LA 63. Procedural discourse
CA 63. Divination
LA 64. Descriptive discourse
CA 64. Curing ceremonies
LA 65. Explanatory discourse
CA 65. Rituals for household, clan, or village
LA 66. Hortatory discourse
CA 66. Rituals concerned with life cycle events
LA 67. Proverbs, sayings, and riddles; local humor
CA 67. Rituals concerned with the calendrical cycle, hunting, or gathering
LA 68. Poetry
CA 68. Redemptive analogies and illustrations
LA 69. Style and aesthetics
CA 69. Culture change and functional substitutes
LA 70. Review and evaluation
CA 70. Review and evaluation

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