III. Notes and Comments by Tlahui Students

Commentary on Tlahui Intensive Nahuatl Course

 Andrew Fisher

        With a few months hindsight, I am convinced that my time with Tlahui was worth it. It is unfair to expect that a mastery of any language can be achieved with only a few weeks instruction. What Tlahui managed to provide, however, was a basic introduction to the grammar of Nahuatl from which a student can build upon as a foundation to further study.

        Professor Tafolla is a dedicated teacher who brings to the class a great deal of enthusiasm and respect for the Nahuatl language and culture. His patience with students unfamiliar with Nahuatl was much appreciated. He was also always willing to listen to the input and suggestions of his students regarding the structure and flow of the course. This flexibility is very important considering the range of needs and skill levels of the students. Overall, my experience with Tlahui was a positive one. .

        Tlahui is a relatively new program that is gradually developing and improving its curriculum. That said, the few suggestions I could make have also been noted in the comments of my fellow students and are well known to the director. I am sure that efforts to address these concerns will continue to improve the program for future students. Here, I would like to mention only some of the more obvious problems.

        First, Tlahui needs to develop some kind of workbook which includes the exercises developed for the class. An inordinate amount of valuable class time was spent merely copying the day's grammatical lessons.

        Second, the introduction of verb conjugation needs to take place much earlier in the course. A lot of student frustration would be avoided by such a change. In my own particular case, Professor Tafolla only officially introduced the topic at the end of the fifth week of a six week program. This makes it very difficult to understand the oral and dictation exercises which comprise such a large share of the course.

        Third, students should also enter the program knowing that the emphasis will be placed on gaining a rudimentary speaking knowledge of modern Nahuatl. Those students who wish to concentrate on classical Nahuatl and matters of translation and reading should make sure that the improved Tlahui classes are appropriate for their needs.

Andrew Fisher:
Tlahui Student of Modern Nahuatl, Beginners' Level
Studen of History, UC San Diego

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