Your language mentor is an important guide for your learning. Understanding best ways to incorporate their feedback on your Nepali language learning journey will not only improve your language abilities, but also improve your mentor’s guidance through the process. Reading Devanagari script is an important skill which will improve all of your other language abilities (speaking, writing, and listening). As you are well aware, Nepali language is highly phonetic, and reading script will enhance your pronunciation. Coupled with reading, listening to how your mentor speaks will also greatly improve your speaking and comprehension abilities. So, how do we do this practically? Below, I will provide a few examples of how I worked with my language mentor and incorporated their feedback virtually to improve these skillsets. We used Microsoft Teams to meet because this platform allows users to work on a virtual blackboard with ease.
Using the book Nepali in Context: a topical approach to learning Nepali by Daniel P. Watters, there are over 20 chapters with guided vocabulary, sentence structures, and reading passages which incorporate new vocabulary and grammar.
Activity: Pick a passage at your competence-level and GO. In your first round reading, embrace the stumbles, and go at whichever pace you can muster. As you stumble through words, your language mentor will be there to interject and correct your pronunciation. After a few sentences, try to translate the Nepali into English. Your language mentor will then correct you. Ask questions and get clarity in your first round. Then, read the passage again (and again if time allows) and continue to allow your mentor to interject with pronunciation tips, but only help with translation when you ask. You will find after rounds 2 and 3 your pace quickening, your pronunciation improving, and your comprehension growing as a result of your mentor’s guidance.
Listening is imperative to improving comprehension and proper pronunciation. Further, it provides an opportunity for you as the learner to hear Nepali being spoken in a colloquial manner.
Activity #1: At the start of your mentor session, have your mentor explain what they did in the days since you last met. Have them take pauses to allow you to translate, and write certain words or structures if you are able, but remember listening is your first priority. Listen carefully to their pronunciation and ways of saying things, and pay particular attention to emphasis particles and how they are used. When they finish, you may ask questions or for them to repeat a word or phrase.
Activity #2: Use one of the listening resources described in this pressbooks chapter. Depending on your proficiency level, you can choose from cartoons, movies, or even news broadcasts. Finding the right resource to practice listening may take some time. If you find yourself easily translating every word, your resource is too easy. If you are unable to keep up with the pace of the speaker and/or cannot understand over half of what is being said, your resource may be too difficult. Once you find the right level, take your time to listen with your language partner. Allow them control of starting and stopping the video to check for your comprehension. They will more easily be able to recall sentences and repeat them for you. Take notes on pronunciation and new vocabulary as needed, but again, listening is your first priority.
I hope you find these tips and example activities for incorporating mentor feedback helpful on your Nepali language learning journey. Ramro sanga Nepali basha siknus, hai?!