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Teaching Proper Cyrodiilic to Nord Children: A Bruma Schoolteacher's Guide

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Teaching Proper Cyrodiilic to Nord Students:
A Bruma Schoolteacher’s Guide

Lucia Paninus

When I first began teaching at a small school in Bruma, I thought that the experience and the students would be similar to my own education in the Imperial City. I could have not been more wrong. I had encountered Nord children before, of course, but they were children who had the benefit of growing up in the center of the Empire, so their Cyrodiilic was the same as any other child’s--not perfect, but mostly correct. The Nord children in Bruma (and even some of the non-Nords!), on the other hand, have let Nordic influences corrupt their language. At first I thought my students merely had an insecure grasp on the language, but upon meeting their parents, I realized to my horror that many of these poor children had never heard proper Cyrodiilic spoken in their lives! Fortunately, I was able to amend that, and many of my students have gone on to have successful lives--thanks, no doubt, to my dutiful instruction. As I instructed my students, I took notes of the common flaws in their speech and writing, as I know that I am far from the only Imperial schoolteacher struggling to teach Nordic children how to speak correctly. I hope this guide helps you as much as it would have helped me when I began teaching in Bruma.

Common Flaws
Listed below are several of the common problems Nordic children have when trying to speak Cyrodiilic. For each flaw, I also list some examples of what you might encounter and a solution that I was able to successfully implement with my students, although you are more than welcome to invent your own--not every student will respond to the same teaching method in the same way, after all.

Silent H
The Flaw:​
Nord children often have trouble with the silent “h.” If they are reading out loud and they get to a word with a silent “h,” they will pronounce it, and if they write a word that contains a silent “h,” they will leave it out.

Examples:​ “gost, onor, onest”

The Solution:​ Make sure to teach children silent letter rules, emphasizing the silent “h.” Any tricks or memorable lines you can employ to make sure they remember the rules will be a great help, especially with younger students. For example, in order to make sure that my students would not pronounce the silent “h”, I created a character named “H Man” and told them that his job was to help the other letters: he did it in secret so you could not make his sound, but he could not hide well enough to disappear when written.

 

Article Use
The Flaw:​ Nord children tend to use the articles “a” and “the” interchangeably, and will often put articles between adjectives and nouns

Examples: ​ “My aunt has big the cat” “She sat down in old a chair” (For a personal anecdote: I once on a very cold day heard one student angrily order another to “close damn the window!” I reprimanded the student for both his article usage and his vulgarity.)

The Solution:​ This flaw is best addressed by use of drills. I often play a game with my students where I tell them to point to something in the room, then have them repeat what I call it. Make sure to differentiate between “a” and “the” when drilling. For example, in my game, I ask students to point to a nonspecific thing, then to a specific one, like, “Point to a chair” followed by “Point to the big chair.”

 

Reflexive Pronouns
The Flaw: ​Nord children abbreviate reflexive pronouns, using just “self” in place of “himself,
herself, myself, yourself” and “selves” in place of “themselves, yourselves, ourselves”

Examples:​ “He prepared self for battle.” “We cleaned up the mess by selves.”

The Solution:​ Like the article use flaw, this flaw can best be addressed by drilling students until they get into the habit of using the correct pronouns. I usually teach “the different kinds of selves” by pointing to different students and asking which reflexive pronoun (or ‘self’) he or she would use.

 

Adverb Endings
The Flaw:​ When Nord children turn adjectives into adverbs, they tend to leave off the “l” and just keep the “y” sound. Sometimes when they write these words, they will use an “i” in place of a “y.”

Examples:​ “I ran slowi.” “Speak softi when people are sleeping.”

The Solution:​ Give your students plenty of examples of adverbs being used and spelled correctly. Personally, I recommend reading Theodore Sassus’ “Quickly, Thickly, Slickly” and other books like it to students as an entertaining way to teach adverbs.

 

These are not all of the flaws you will hear from Nord students, but these are several of the most common. Please note that I focused mostly on grammatical flaws, rather than issues that can be traced back to the Nordic accent, as those were my main concern. Some accent is fine, but students should be able to read and write properly, so I believe that it makes sense to pay more attention to grammar than pronunciation, as long as your students are intelligible.

Oftentimes, the best way to correct a student’s flawed grammar is to point out a mistake when they make it, and have them repeat what they were trying to say correctly before you continue. While this can take time out of your lessons and is sometimes embarrassing for the student, try to remember that as teachers, we are here to make sure that our students can become productive members of society, and that all the extra lessons and saved embarrassment mean very little if our students cannot even communicate properly.

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