How the Foreign Service Language Method Works

kenneth parnell ·


The Foreign Service Courses were created to help bring diplomats, aid workers, and others to fluency. These courses use audio recorded with native speakers and text to bring a more comprehensive learning experience.  

1.With Basic SentencesStructure SentencesUseful Words, the recording (or instructor) speaks the Amharic sentences item by item, repeating each item (a build-up or a sentence) twice for each student. The student repeats the item immediately after the recording trying to imitate the pronunciation. After the Basic Sentences have been thoroughly memorized the student can go on to the the dialogues. This drill is to be continued until the student can go through the dialogue like an actor.

2. SubstitutionCorrelation and Transformation Drills are to be used in accordance with the instructions given at the beginning of each drill.

3. Model Transform Drills should be drilled in the same way as other Transformation Drills.

4. Questions and Answers are to be drilled as specified below, but they should not be considered complete. If an instructor is present, any question which is within the limits of the student's grammar and vocabulary can be asked, but otherwise, the student can follow along with the recording. Some questions may require informational answers, some others simply 'yes' or 'no ' answers. Questions requiring informational answers are to be drilled as follows: The recording (or instructor) asks each student a question. The student repeats the question and gives an answer. The recording then gives the student the answer which is written in the book and the student repeats it as a further drill. Questions requiring 'yes' or 'no' answers should be drilled in the same way, i.e. the student repeats the question after the recording and then gives either an affirmative or a negative answer.

5. With the Narrative, the recording (or instructor) goes through sentences that illustrate new vocabulary items, as with the Basic Sentences. After the students have thus familiarized themselves with the new words the recording goes through the whole Narrative at a natural speed. The student listens for comprehension, books closed, and then summarises in English as much as is understood of the Narrative. This drill is continued until the students are thoroughly familiar with the material. The recording then asks questions listed at the end of each Narrative and the student answers them as completely as possible using words contained in the Narrative.