Research about the psycho-pedagogy of language has shown that to make instruction most effective, it is necessary to respect a series of principles. This book represents an attempt to apply these principles to the teaching of Esperanto, among others, the following:
To motivate the student. The chief factor in the success of language learning is the motivation. To encourage this, the book is presented as an adventure novel. As early as the second chapter, an attention-getting event tickles the curiosity and encourages the student to read on.
To apply the rule "the more frequent the word, the earlier to teach it". The regularity of Esperanto makes this possible right from the beginning. The International Cultural Service in Zagreb provided the necessary lists of words according to frequency, obtained by statistical analysis of taped conversations from various international meetings.
Constantly repeating the same information in different contexts. The more a root, a word component, or linguistic structure is repeated, the less effort is required to absorb it. This is all the more true if one is conscious of the importance of presenting it exactly at the time when it would likely be forgotten, if it were not used at that moment. This principle has been observed. Hopefully the readers will have the good will to pardon the sometimes unnatural repetition in the text, which is not very attractive stylistically, but which is present for the aforementioned didactic reasons.
To maximally reduce, in each instructional unit, the proportion of new concepts to learn. That way, each newly introduced element is as if it is carried by the whole context. In this book, new words appear in such a manner that, having absorbed the contents of the first chapter, the student will understand at least 82% of chapters 2 through 8; 89% of chapters 9 through 12; and 92% of texts after chapter 12. In fact, the last chapter contains only 3 percent of new roots.
Perhaps many will be surprised at the varying lengths of the chapters. It is derived from the desire to adapt to the fact that the mental capacity to absorb new material does not always stay at the same level. The divisions within the chapters are simple indications to help the teacher, not required.
This work was not planned for self-teaching. However, it has been shown that people with a good understanding of grammar successfully learned the basics of Esperanto at home, using this textbook and the accompanying word list, if they had the sporadic help of an Esperantist available.
This novella can be used also as a first reader after any other course.
The author. (Claude PIRON)