FSI Swahili: an active introduction course
What is the FSI Swahili Basic course?
The FSI Swahili Basic pack actually contains three courses, the main Basic course that was published in 1968 and two other courses that appeared in 1966, a General Conversation course and a Geography course.
The General Conversation and Geography courses comprise the two components of the Active Introduction, and both use a system of “cycles”, where language is presented, mimicked and then used for communication. General conversation is made up of 87 cycles, while Geography includes 38 cycles followed by a series of texts.
Each cycle should take around 30 minutes to study the first time, and then should be reviewed a couple of times for a total of another 30 minutes, meaning students should spend around one hour on each cycle.
The FSI Swahili Basic course follows the familiar pattern common to other FSI Basic courses and consists of 150 relatively short units in which language is first presented in the form of dialogs and then practiced with exercises.
The Basic course was designed to be studied intensively for around 30 hours a week, but it could also be studied in a longer program involving around six hours of weekly learning. It is also suitable for autonomous learners.
How was FSI Swahili Basic originally used?
This free Swahili course was originally created for US diplomatic staff preparing for postings to areas where Swahili is spoken. Those studying the Basic course would have spent around six hours per day in class, supplemented by two hours of daily personal study.
During class time, they would speak only Swahili, and even outside of lessons, they were encouraged to speak Swahili among themselves. In this way, they were able to achieve a relatively high level of proficiency in only around six months or so.
Students studying the Active Introduction courses would have enjoyed similarly favorable conditions and would also have been expected to make rapid progress.
How can you use FSI Swahili Basic?
Although the Swahili Basic course was designed for use with a teacher, it is also suitable to use for self-study. You can simply work through the units, listening to the dialogs and repeating them and working through the exercises to practice what you learn. Feel free to be creative in adapting the materials to your personal needs and study style.
The Active Introduction courses are perhaps less useful for autonomous study – and the audio recordings for the General Conversation component are currently unavailable. However, if you are using the Basic course or any other study materials, they can still provide a useful way to revise and consolidate the Swahili you are learning elsewhere.
Taking it further
No matter which materials you use to study Swahili, you won’t be able to master the language without practicing. This means that at the earliest opportunity, you should take your Swahili knowledge and test it out in the real world.
Look for native Swahili speakers to talk to and do everything you can to make using Swahili a part of your daily life. Then, when you do this, you will begin to make rapid progress in one of the most useful African languages you can know.
|Geography||Geography A||Geography||Geography H|
|Geography||Geography B||Conversation||Conversation TA|
|Geography||Geography C||Conversation||Conversation TB|
|Geography||Geography D||Conversation||Conversation TC|
|Geography||Geography E||Conversation||Conversation TD|
|Geography||Geography F||Conversation||Conversation TE Part 1|
|Geography||Geography G||Conversation||Conversation TE Part 2|
Swahili Basic Course
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