Just doing my semiannual pestering questions about SSiBorg progress? (I’ve already sent Santa a list of languages that I want on it)
Current situation is bullish - we’re hoping to get two tricky fixes done in the next two or three months, and then to be producing some new languages before the end of this year…
I’ve recently discovered 'Ōlelo Hawaiʻi. I’d also love to see that at some point.
YAY!!! Thank you!
Not sure where else to share this, but I know Australian Aboriginal languages have been mentioned earlier in this discussion, and I was just reading this very interesting piece of history from the ABC, which I thought others here might enjoy too: Patyegarang was Australia’s first Aboriginal language teacher
Gabriel Pablo Cortiñas is giving a talk at the Polyglot Gathering Online right now and has given SSiWelsh a bit of a plug. Speaking to various participants throughout the conference many people were impressed and interested in the philosophy of the SSi system. Everyone learns languages in a different way, but there are very few courses that focus on language production in the same way as SSi.
In other, related matters, I’m currently doing the Pimsleur course in Russian. It is great that the method is quite similar. BUT it focuses on aspects like numbers ad nauseum, which (at least in my opinion) wastes time that could be used to learn more useful patterns. I just can’t speak highly enough about SSi. As always, I await with selfish anguish for the SSiBorg to be up and running and producing all the languages that I want
I think I speak for a few of us here when I ask, is there anything more that we could be doing to support the SSiBorg efforts? Could a crowd-fund be helpful? Donating my first-born? Anything?
That’s definitely the best offer we’ve had to date…!
So, the current situation is promising - we have a prototype fix for a mapping issue, and have just started the work of producing English-for-Mandarin-speakers using the new fix - tech is also hard at work adapting the SSiBorg to offer a simple streaming experience for the lessons (which will solve a lot of our user requests for different length learning)…
Which means we are probably at a point where we’d be able to start to let some volunteers loose on a few more languages - but we’ve learnt to be quite careful about that, because it always has time costs for our existing staff…
So the safe route forward is for us to publish English-for-Spanish and then English-for-Mandarin, and then find a partnership or a new significant round of funding to turn those into enough income for us to employ a few more people (we could very badly do with a couple of extra people full-time on marketing, 3 or 4 more full-time on support, and then 1 or 2 for us to be able to work well with volunteers/paid translators to start to produce more courses).
Which means it’s actually quite tricky to figure out a way to go faster by accepting hugely kind offers of support from the community - it’s really full-time staff we need, and that means serious cash-flow, probably beyond what crowd-funding would achieve.
But on the positive side, once we’ve got a steady, sustainable publishing schedule for English (for Spanish/for Mandarin), we really should be very close to starting to produce at least a few more languages, and to being able to employ some more people, which gets us closer to having staff time to coordinate volunteer content contributions to the SSiBorg.
I do sometimes wonder if we could set up a good volunteer approach to coding contribution to the SSiBorg - but a) I don’t really know enough about how the tech dev works (@lewie, any thoughts on this?) and b) there are some fiddly issues around commercial confidence that make us a not-easy-and-natural fix for opensource, despite being big fans of opensource thinking in general.
I’m really sorry - I know it’s frustrating. Speaking as an impatient end-user who wants courses for at least another 20 languages or so YESTERDAY, I share your pain…
Thanks for the update Aran!
Opening the coding to the community can be a bit of a double-edged sword, in that it can certainly help but if things go wrong it can take up your tech’s time unreasonably.
I love the SSi method and everyone to whom I’ve spoken about it seems to take huge interest in it. I’m sure once your English from Spanish and Mandarin courses are available, things will take off. May I suggest that an English from Portuguese course may also be of interest to you (and not too hard to adapt from English from Spanish); there is a huge amount of people in Brazil who feel that they need to have English to get a good job locally but the courses are not particularly useful (at least according to the people that I talk to).
Anyway, as always, I love the work that you do and I’ll continue to share my passion for the method with those I meet. I just wish I could to more to help.
I do sometimes wonder if we could set up a good volunteer approach to coding contribution to the SSiBorg
Would be happy to help
Not sure how Ifan has the set up, but if there’s a roadmap and/or ticketing system (GitHub issues, Jira, ClickUp, etc.), then this approach could potentially be very useful. The only potential downside I see is that it would take Ifan’s attention away while he trains the volunteers…
Potentially, a single volunteer could be trained, and once trusted, could enlist one more individual for training, etc.
Sending good energy to everyone in the SSi community.
As another option, Indonesian/Malay to and from English might be a good option - the two languages (or dialects of the same language? I’m honestly not sure) are similar enough to be very mutually intelligible, are very commonly spoken in south east Asia (a region that has been experiencing an economic boom of late), and has a fair amount of demand for good English courses.
We’re always trying to juggle a few too many balls, but we do seem to be closing in on some important changes now, and getting some increasing backing - so we might have time before too long to do some careful thinking about how we could open up a range of ways for people to be involved, which I’ve always been conscious is something we’ve never solved…
But thank you all very much for your positive energy, which is hugely valuable in and of itself
So, a bit of thread necromancy, but I was just wondering how things were coming along. The past 12 months can’t have been easy, but a little bit of news would be nice; even if it’s just “everything’s ticking along”.
Has anyone mentioned Navajo before? They have the “ll” sound that we have in Welsh and that doesn’t seem to appear in many languages I’d like to give it a go and as the Navajo nation is working hard to keep their language alive it might just help them out. There a lots of parallels with whats happened to the Welsh language and Navajo too - they didn’t have the Welsh Not, but they were forced to go to boarding schools where they would have their mouths washed out with soap if they spoke Navajo :(, and like Tryweryn they had one of their sacred valleys flooded to create a reservoir…
Count me in for Navajo and any other indigenous American languages, whether those courses are offered a year or twenty years from now! Although I’m an American of European descent (as far as I know), I would love to learn some of the endangered languages of my homeland.
(Also casting long-term votes for: Finnish, Ukrainian, Polish, Lingala, Xhosa… and just about every other language that has already been mentioned. )
For a bit of taste, Navayo is one of the Duolingo courses you can do. It is still in BETA but it teaches you at least the basic things. Well, I’m doing it on and off (but sadly due to time I have, more off than on for quite for a while now).
Sorry, this is a bit of off-topic actually but since Navayo was mentioned, I thought I’d give some direction on where you can taste some learning of it until (possibly) SSiNavayo arrives (if it ever is the plan to be so at all).
I’ve done little bit of Duolingo Navajo, but the problem I find with Duolingo in this case is that you need to write from the start. I think it would be better to start with just speaking like we do with SSIW, especially as Navajo wasn’t a written language until the white people devised a (rather challenging!) written form for it. The written aspect is a barrier to learning Navajo on Duolingo I think
I found that when I tried to use Duolingo to learn a little Irish before a trip there. I got really frustrated as I couldn’t remember how to write things and I knew I wasn’t going to be writing anything in Ireland! I just wanted to be able to have basic conversations.
I’ve found using the Duolingo app on a mobile device at least lets you have the option to just choose from words presented to you, so you can recognise them and click the right ones without having to remember the spelling.
Oo, I’ll try that!!
So, a) you’re right, 2020 and 2021 have been a bit on the brutal side of things, but…
b) things are indeed ticking along!
A little better than ticking along, actually… we’re currently beta testing a new delivery method we’re calling ‘AutoMagic’, which we think is a HUGE step forwards from static mp3 files, and opens up all sorts of interesting possibilities for increasing personalisation/customisation… hoping to go live with it for one of our English courses in the near future, and then to look at making it available for Welsh and Spanish as well…
And on the course creation side of things, we’ve got some new concepts that look as though they might be able to accelerate course creation dramatically… once we get to a working model, it’ll be time for us to put the call out for a few volunteers and see how quickly we can get some new languages up and running… I would imagine that could be in the first half of 2022, all things going well…