One stage in the acquisition of the Latvian language has come to an end. What was it like?
Four months ago six groups started acquiring the state language in the project “Living in Latvia – Learning the Latvian Language”. At first, it seemed that these four months were a very long period of time but now, at the end of April the project team feels that the time has flown and the first two groups are ready to sit for the Latvian language evaluation examination.
Every person starting learning has an aim. The course participants also set aims and most frequently they emphasise that the aim of acquiring the Latvian language is: to pass the evaluation examination, to find employment, to help children in their studies, to be able to communicate in the state language and learn about the Latvian culture. Summarizing the opinions expressed in the questionnaires filled in at the end of the courses it is possible to conclude that almost all participants are sure they have reached the set aim.
Certainly, it is not possible to fully master the language in 120 hours, especially if it has been the first stage of the Latvian language acquisition process but it is a good start for improving the Latvian language skills on the basis of what has already been acquired. Thus, several participants admit – it would be good to learn for a longer period. Others acknowledge that they will continue learning. “I have considerably improved my Latvian language skills”, “Four months ago I even did not know the alphabet and now I already know so much!”, “Thanks to our teacher Maija, the new textbooks and study materials, the excellent organization of courses I have finally developed interest in the Latvian language” – this the course participants have written in their study journals. What the time allotted to the acquisition of the Latvian language has been like can be seen in the following statements given by the participants: “I really liked the learning. Even when it was hard for me I always received support. There were books and learning materials and it helped me. The sweets and water that was always available as a bonus was a treat.” “I want to thank the project for these Latvian language courses because all lessons gave positive emotions and now hearing the Latvian language I am no fear although it is still difficult for me to speak.” “How did I learn the Latvian language? With joy and positive emotions. It is difficult to write correctly but I can read and I understand the questions I am asked. And I can answer the questions. It was useful that the acquisition of the Latvian language was connected with learning about the history and culture of Latvia and Latvian traditions. It was interesting.” “Thank you, thank you, thank you! I learnt the Latvian language and not only. The courses were the only place where I could sing. Everything was good. Sweets were not so many but water was plenty. I wish there were more such teachers as Maija and more courses as these.” “Everything was very good: wonderful organization of courses, positive atmosphere and relations, a meaningful process and, most importantly, the result. The simple and understandable materials also helped me. I really liked learning in these courses. I got the conviction that it is possible to learn and love the Latvian language.”
The project team expresses gratitude to all the course participants for their patience, purposefulness and diligence and hopes that the joint work will have given a positive outcome.